The Nail LAB on Australia's Gold Coast is all about superior service and personalized attention. Owner Lauren Burton relocated the salon from her native UK in 2016. In addition to being a successful salon owner, she has worked on ad campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the world including H&M and Guess. With 12 years of experience, Burton has grown from a nail enthusiast to master educator for Nail Alliance. Read on to learn about her inspiring journey.
NailStyle (NS): What got you into a career
Lauren Burton (LB): I got into nails by sheer coincidence and
frustration. I've had my nails done from my late teen years and I
was always finding I was never a hundred percent happy with
them. It then got to a point where I was going home and re-filing
and re-painting them and I just thought “Why am I paying $75
every two weeks to go home and do them myself?” So, I thought,
“It looks easy enough. I'll buy a kit and do them myself.” Alas it
was not that easy!
NS: Why the choice to work with Nail Alliance in Australia?
LB: I was still living in the UK and at the time I was actually working in accounting for a group of orthopedic surgeons (completely different I know!). I decided to go do a course in acrylic nails as my DIY attempts were not working. The intention was to only do my own nails. It was late 2010 when I started to look into courses. I remember I was researching about courses and companies online and stumbled across a few posts on a nail forum about this new company called Hand & Nail Harmony now called Nail Alliance, who had an acrylic line called Fusion and another product they called Gelish that people were raving about — a polish that was instantly dry and lasted up to 3 weeks — I was blown away by this idea! I did research about the company and what appealed to me is what they stand for and the passion for the industry, and so I booked to do training with Nail Harmony UK and I was hooked after my first class. Before I knew it, I was doing friends' and family members' nails then friends of friends etc. and it just escalated from there.
I went to travel around Southeast Asia in 2014 and planned to travel around Australia for a year with every intention to move back to the UK, but I met my partner and am now an Australian citizen. I managed to find the Nail Alliance products over here in Australia and carried on using them. I actually decided to compete for the first time in a national nail competition in Brisbane. One of the judges was the head of education for Nail Harmony AU and she saw me using ProHesion and asked me to join the team. Fast forward six years I am now the head of education for Nail Alliance AU, which I sometimes find surreal, but I am so passionate about the brand even after 11 years.
NS: Do you have a favorite Nail Alliance Product?
LB: I love all the Nail Alliance products, don't make me choose! There's a purpose for everything they make. If I had to choose though, it would be ProHesion acrylic, it was my first love and still is.
NS: What's a technique you're known for?
LB: I'd probably say French and ombre-ing.
NS: What does an average day at work look like for you?
LB: The average salon day sees me starting with my first client at 7 am. We like to start early so we can finish early. I'll generally see 6-8 clients a day with treatments ranging from Gelish manicures, Gelish Dip, acrylic, and soft gel tips. I then deal with tech questions and queries that come through via Gelish AU. I plan and organize social media posts, content creation for the Gelish socials, and my own business social media pages and deal with the education side of Nail Alliance Australia.
NS: What's one question you get asked all the time concerning your
profession? What's the answer you give?
LB: I often get asked by students, “Do you ever worry about other nail techs and salons, competing with you?” My answer is, no I don't worry. I don't see it as a competition, I have my lane, they have theirs. I love to see other businesses and people thrive. There are plenty of clients to cater to. Focus on yourself, your business, and what you do for your clients. Life's far too short to worry or be negative about what other businesses or people are doing.
NS: Since this is the holiday issue, what do you do to prepare for
the busy season? Do you do anything special in the salon during this
time of year?
LB: When the holiday season approaches, I organize appointments with clients 2-3 months in advance. Some people only have nails for special occasions like the holidays and book in, which is great, but you need to look after your regulars as they are your bread and butter in terms of income. But now all of my regular clients book all of their appointments six months before Christmas. Being prepared for the holiday season is the best way to ensure smooth running in the salon. I also like to treat my regulars with a little gift. A few of my clients have their own businesses with candles, skincare etc. so where I can, I will purchase gifts from them to give out as a way to say thank you for their business and loyalty.
NS: What are some of your favorite social media accounts to follow?
LB: Some of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow for nails are @indiglownails @alinahoyonailartist @theprouts and @gelishprofessional
NS: When not working, what do you enjoy doing?
LB: Spending time with my partner when we aren't both working. We both love good food so we cook a lot. I recently got into gardening and have always had a hobby with anything artsy. am quite a homebody nowadays. We live on 8 acres about 45 minutes out of the Gold Coast, so being surrounded by wildlife and peace and quiet is quite blissful to me. It's my happy place. There's nothing quite like being on the veranda with a glass of wine watching the kangaroos go by!
NS: What's the most important piece of advice you could share?
LB: Never stop learning or trying to improve yourself. I find in some instances a tech will do initial beginner training and then think that's it. I don't need to do anything else and just start working with new systems without doing the training, but training is so important! I also can't stress enough how important it is to practice, practice, practice. It's amazing how much you can improve when taking the time to practice. I always tell students to take pictures of their work at the beginning of training and then take a picture again after that month and look at the difference. We don't notice the progress when we see it all the time, but by taking pictures you will see that difference, and it's often the boost in confidence we need to see we are going in the right direction.