Nail Tech Talk: Jessica White of Jessica White Nail Artist

Scratch chats to Leeds based tech, Jessica White of Jessica White Nail Artist, about her time studying for a law degree alongside tekking, and why she decided to commit to nails full time when she graduated…

“My nail journey began in October 2020 when I was heading into my second year of university. As a student, I was looking for a part-time job that I could manage alongside my studies and I didn’t want to be tied down to the ‘typical student jobs’, such as bartending or waitressing,” Jessica White recalls.

“I’ve always had a creative flair and a love for all things beauty related, so I thought I would try my hand as a nail artist. I soon realised that this would be the perfect way for me to have a creative release whilst earning as and when I could work around my lectures.

“I completed my nail training whilst we were in the winter lockdown of 2020, so most of my training was delivered online,” she explains. “Once lockdown was over, I completed a few one-to-one sessions with nail technicians in my area so that I could improve my skills. Since then, it really has been a matter of practice makes perfect, and I’m always learning new things along the way.”

“I headed to university to study law with the aim of becoming a corporate solicitor, and so I studied an LLB Law degree at the University of Law in Leeds from 2019 to 2022,” Jessica shares. “The plan was to work as a nail technician whilst I completed my studies, and then see where my career as a solicitor would take me.

“However, I soon found myself working pretty much full time, doing clients from my small one bedroom flat, whilst also making sure I attended all of my lectures and handed in all of my assignments on time. A typical day for me would be attending lectures from 9am-1pm, working in the library from 1pm-3pm and then heading home for dinner and working with clients from 4.30pm-9pm.”

“I left university with a First Class Honours in Law, so naturally that did spark some doubt in my mind as to whether I was making the right decision in leaving law behind me, but this feeling didn’t last too long. I really do love my job as a nail technician, and I think that being truly happy in your job is such a blessing that not many people get to enjoy.

“I knew that if I was to stop working as a nail technician and follow a career in law, I would be sacrificing my happiness and leaving behind something I am extremely passionate about,” she reveals. “Whilst the decision may have seemed like a hard one to make at first, I feel like happiness is a priority and following your passion shouldn’t have to be a hard decision.”

“I think some people can be shocked to hear that I stuck out a three year degree to then decide not to go into the legal field. I think that it’s becoming more and more common for people to either not go into the same industry as their degree, or to pursue a small business which they have curated and grown during their time at university.

“Although a career in law is not on the cards for me anytime soon, I still thoroughly enjoyed my degree and I learnt some extremely valuable skills from my time at university which will be beneficial in my career as a nail technician and business owner, so no regrets!” Jessica smiles. “I found that there wasn’t many similarities between tekking and law, but this was something that I particularly enjoyed. It was great to come home from uni and completely switch my focus to enjoy doing something so completely different.

“Nails became a great way for me to switch things up and relax.”

“I love how hands-on tekking is, and how no day is the same. I love coming into work knowing that I’ll be faced with so many different sets of nails that I can get stuck into and I know I’ll have a great time letting my creativity flair,” she enthuses. “I also really enjoy working with clients and being able to build a relationship with them over the years.

“It’s amazing how close you become with your clients, and there’s something so special about doing nails on a regular client as they go through big milestones in their life such as their graduations, engagements, and weddings.”

“In terms of the community within the nail industry, I really love how there’s always room for everybody in the nail industry. No matter your niche or style, every type of art is appreciated.

“I would love to see my business continue to grow and to see my skill set expand, as there’s always so much to learn in this industry,” Jessica says. “In years to come, I’d love to be able to travel the world with my job and do pop ups in different countries, but that’s a way off yet! “

“The best advice I have to techs who are studying a degree alongside tekking is to stay super organised with your time and keep on top of your degree too. It can be so easy to put every minute of your time into your business and let the degree slide a little. I used to plan out my days into hour slots and schedule everything, down to leaving time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This way I made sure that everything I had to do was done and I didn’t find myself falling behind with uni work.

“I think that it’s difficult to advise on other people’s careers and individual situations, but if someone was struggling to choose to commit to tekking or another role, I would say to always listen to your gut feeling,” she advices. “If you feel like you have a passion for something and it makes you happy, it’s worth giving it a shot! I would hate to live my life thinking ‘what if’, so if you’re considering going full time as a nail technician, there’s no harm in trying – who knows where it’ll take you!”

Follow Jessica White Nail Artist on Instagram, here.

By Editor