Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Interview: Caitriona Hill


 Tell us a little bit about yourself
I'm officially Irish but I've been living in Salzburg, Austria for about 15 years. I own a nail bar in the centre of Salzburg. I employ four people. I'm also a CND Education Ambassador and I am the Austrian Spokesperson for ESSIE L'oreal.

How long have you been within the nail tech industry and who/what inspired you to start?
I started in 2007 - I saw a huge gap in the market and decided to fill it. I rented the smallest shop on the high street - 10sqm - and went from there. I studied Art History and Italian originally, but I'm creative and had retail and project management experience so I knew if I stayed focused, anything was possible.

What's the best part about what you do?
In the salon, it's definitely my team... they are amazing girls and we are all a crew striving for the same goals. I love my customers, when you see someone once a month and have an hour to catch up, hold their hand and make them feel beautiful... well that's just a win, isn't it?
In session work, it's a rush... working and collaborating with creatives is extremely satisfying, big names, big shoots, productions and the satisfaction of the team work is a real buzz!

Why do you think there's been such a rise and demand for nail art in recent years?
I honestly think it's that little bit of creativity that we allow ourselves. You may not be able to dye your hair pink due to work constrictions but hey, you can express your personality simply by extending your fingertips. Nails are the only thing we can admire about ourselves without using a mirror. When your nails are polished, you feel more polished on a whole. They finish the look.

How do you usually come up with fresh ideas - do trends within fashion play a big part of inspiration?
I tend to revert back to my imagination - I don't like to copy or spend hours on Instagram taking from other peoples designs. I find words/moods, think about what they mean to me and sketch. Then when I'm on the right track, you know, it just feels right. I try not to be anyone else.

What are your predictions for the next big trends in nail art?
I think clear polish with embellishments or dried flowers or specks of foils will be big. Clean is back but 'peasant charm' is in. Think soft Neo Romantic...

What are the go-to items you normally use?
For session work, a quick drying polish is key, great tools and my Roo Belt by Marian Newman

You've done nails for big name designers and their shows, how did this come about?
I was lucky enough to be chosen for a groundbreaking online course called Mastered - based in Bethnal Green. Fashion industry icons such as Nick Knight, Sam McKnight, Val Garland and for nails, Marian Newman, handpicked students to mentor. That catapulted my career. I could learn from a master in minutes, what had taken them years to perfect. By doing Mastered, I began to be taken seriously by agencies, brands and peers.

Most memorable job?
Painting Helena Christensen's nails for an Airfield campaign. She was one of my first session jobs and the CMO of Airfield is a client of mine. She trusted me and made me part of the team. I got to work with the hair titan, John Vial and Trine Skjoth MUA and photographer, Lado Alexi. That was epic. She really could not have been nicer to me. My hands were shaking... I mean, she's an original supermodel. Wow!

If you could paint anyone's nails, who would it be and why?
Gosh, I don't really have an answer to that... can I say George Clooney?!
I'd love to do Jennifer Lopez' digits, but I just worked Versus Versace at LFW. Gigi and Bella Hadid were there and that was certainly a buzz. Now I'm off to Milan to do Gucci, so who knows.

If you had to wear one nail varnish for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I'd go for red... it's a signature classic. You can never go wrong - unless you're wearing brown.. but I don't, so. Red is a statement of confidence, it has to look perfect otherwise it's just a disaster.

 What's your number one tip for someone who's just starting within the industry?
Educate yourself. Really, never stop going on workshops. You will ALWAYS learn something or someone! Success isn't only about your technical ability, infact that's only about 15%. True, you must be good but it's all down to your personality and your drive. Take your career seriously. be proud and don't compromise with products.

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