As a woman-led, woman founded company, we’re dedicated to empowerment, creating opportunities, building community, and caring for those that have made it their mission to care for others. We love hearing from customers, clients, and collaborators and sharing our stories, our passions, and picking up some great tips, tricks, and advice along the way.
In honour of International Women’s Day, we’re sharing what we’ve learned about being a woman in business, chasing our dreams, and finding inspiration from our conversation with celebrity nail pro and business owner, Naomi Gonzalez-Longstaff.
1. Tell us a little about yourself. What’s your background and how did you get into the world of nails?
I have been in the beauty industry since 2008 but it wasn’t always part of my career plan. I was finishing my master’s in urban design, education, and business management and decided to quit a job I hated. I said, “If I need to work, I want it to be in something I love and I love fashion and beauty.” I wanted to figure out the quickest and most affordable way to do that and the answer was nails—I made that decision on a Monday, found a school on Tuesday, registered on Wednesday and I have been in the nail world ever since. It was the best $600 investment of my life.
2. What inspires you and pushes you forward in this industry?
I feel my purpose is to make things more beautiful. I start with one nail palette at a time—colors, shapes, nature, things that bring about lovely emotions and thought-provoking ideas. To me, our feelings are the biggest trend setter; they guide us. If I see a rose and I look at the petals, the thorns, the structure, how perfect it is in its element, then I take that to inspire color combinations and designs. My daughter is a professional dancer and her passion for movement helps me create. Everything around us can inspire.
3. You have worked on numerous female celebrities, what have you learned about servicing other women in the public eye?
One thing I learned from women is to be feminine and strong, gentle yet strong, loving yet strong, and with that strength to stay focused and never, ever give up or take crap from anyone. People pleasing will not get you anywhere but being your true authentic self will open up the gates to heaven.
4. How has the nail business impacted your life?
I don’t remember a life before my nail career. I think I was a whole different person then. I feel when you find your purpose and stay true to it, you’re much happier. If you’re happy with yourself, then the people around you are happy. The domino effect of happiness is true living.
5. What are your 3 must haves when doing nails?
My absolute musts: tools by Bianco Brothers—they have been custom tailoring all my nail tools since the beginning of my career and their curette is my secret weapon (ask for Vinny and tell them Naomi sent you). Anyone and everyone in nails has to have one. Pedicure Bowls is another must. They’re ideal for salon spa owners, traveling manicurists, celebrity nail artists. You need this. The bowls are beautiful, functional, stylish, and keep the water hot. I never leave home without mine. Finally, CND cuticle away. The best cuticle and callus remover on the market. I love it.
6. Who do you admire and why?
I admire so many people, both personally and professionally. My parents came from Puerto Rico with nothing and gave us a life in the USA. It was not easy in any way but the work ethic they had made a difference in our family. My daughter is staying true to herself living her best life as a dancer in New York City, navigating young adulthood being so brave and courageous.
Professionally, I’ve had amazing mentors and a dream team of other inspiring friends like Noel Asmar, Roxanne Vallinotti who mentored me and helped me to become as good as I am in acrylics, Bobbi Brown, Sally Hershebeger, Gino Truzno, Timothy Priano, my agent who never gave up on my career. I’m incredibly lucky to have these people in my circle.
7. What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It means that our voice counts. It means mothers and sisters and daughters and grandmothers matter. It means we as women are recognized as a valuable part of society. It means we carry the heart of our homes, our families, our children. If we are teachers, we carry our students. If we are doctors or nurses, we carry our patients. I love this about being a woman. We can be so strong and yet so nurturing to others.
8. What advice would you share with women wanting to start their own business?
Patience, patience, and more patience. Cry, it’s okay. Plans will change and it’s okay. Ideas will change, it’s okay. You may fail and it’s okay. Talk to good people—those that have your back and even those that have criticism since there may be a good suggestion in what they have to say. Be open to everything and then start filtering. A business is like a baby: you have to nurture it, feed it, take care of it, change it, and adapt with it. It will have its own personality and the more you weed it the healthier it will grow. Plant more seeds and watch the ideas generate. I truly love being a creative entrepreneur and that’s an important element of your business—you have to love it in order to sell it.
Looking for more inspo? Find us on Instagram @pedicurebowls and join the conversation now and be sure to subscribe to our email and SMS list for exclusive offers and early access to sales.