Athena Elliott Interview – The Celebrity’s Choice
Where are you located?
I am located inside of the K. Renee Salon at 3100 Timmons Suite 130, Houston, TX 77027
Where can we find you online?
Facebook: Athena Elliott
Current Blog: Real Long Nail Addiction
Blogged by: ProBeauty Girl
Update* Tune in live to Athena’s radio show Nail Talk Radio every Monday evening. Podcast’s also available.
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
My family relocated from San Diego to Houston when I was 12. I come from a Greek family with many Chefs. Naturally I was supposed to go to culinary school as opposed to cosmetology school. Yet I still ended up waiting on people hand and foot!
When / why did you first become involved in the nail industry?
When I was in high school I would go with my mom to get her acrylic nails filled. My mom is a perfectionist and it seemed she was never pleased with her service. Back in those days Mona Nails actually sold their kits in the salon so I asked my mom to buy me one.
The summer of 1980 between my sophomore and junior year I went to school and formalized my manicuring career. For many years I helped to open successful salons for others, I currently lease spaces with 6 area locations and subcontractors.
You were first in the US to be certified as a Medical Nail Technician & won awards for your work, how has that affected your career?
Awards are always wonderful and if you market them you will reap larger rewards. What is more important than winning is knowing what your self-worth is in your business. This will bring you greater rewards.
Tell us about the advantages of Minx products for hands and feet.
Minx has the most awesome reflective shiny finish that polish could never imitate.
Going “GREEN” is where it is. This product doesn’t require chemicals during any stage of the application.
It is applied with heat and also is removed with heat and there is no drying time like polish. Factor the “no-chip” guarantee and you have the most friendly fashion forward product to hit the industry. When was the last time your polish lasted 2 weeks on your natural nails and 4-6 weeks on your toes?
Have you Minxed any men?
Yes, I have one 76 year old man name Roland. We Minx his big toes only. In fact he did a short video for my site. His wife and daughter get a hoot out of his new trend. I have minxed a few guys in a rock band, who love the Black or Black and Chrome.
Being a “Minx Master” has it’s perks and recently you’ve been Minxing Beyonce’s girl band, can you tell us a little about the experience?
Traveling from concert to concert, back stage, after parties really is a rush and I loved it! What I loved even more was really treating B’s band extra special. They work hard and don’t get the recognition you might think. In return they treated me like gold. I will admit that every concert was work, somewhat stressful at times but wow what a rush. No script, no schedule when you are on it’s time to MINX!
Who else have you Minxed?
LeToya Luckett is another lovely client. I had the Minx Company create for me a custom signature minx with double L’s “LL” In light of her sophomore album LadyLove. We debuted in LA for a recent singing appearance at a Dodgers game.
My custom work can also been seen in LeToya’s music video “She Ain’t Got”. LeToya is such a wonderful and generous person, always happy to endorse and advertise Minx Houston.
How do you get celebrity clients?
Offering a product like Minx just puts you in the front of the line! You must not be afraid of rejection and remember you can’t get to the moon if you don’t reach for the stars!
Who would you love to Minx?
Anyone from first lady Michelle Obama, Madonna, Pink, Oprah the list is endless! I am passionate about my profession and truly love what I do. Providing this service and sharing this experience with people be it the girl next door or a celebrity I just enjoy what I do.
Obviously you love Minx, what other nail products do you like?
GLITTER ROCKS! I love to mix glitter and gel. Naomi one of my favorite clients who happens to be 88 has renamed this technique calling it “Sequin Nails”. She loves for me to video her for my website and YouTube. Naomi says “Why wear a sequin dress when you can wear Sequin Nails”. I love the mylar confetti’s. That “opal” look is so easy to embed in the acrylics.
You don’t only Minx, you also offer safe & medical pedicures, can you explain what you do?
Offering services that no one else wants to do is a “dirty job” to some. Taking care of peoples feet who are ill, elderly, fungal or post-surgery is my passion. Servicing a person with severe psoriasis makes me happier because they really need the care! These are people no-one wants to touch because they think they are contagious.
My certification is the first real change the industry has seen in over 35 years. Schools are picking up this course and including it in their curriculum. I am certified and have the education to work in a podiatrist office along side the doctor.
Taking doctor referrals such as diabetics who need serious foot care but with a gentle knowledgeable approach is paramount to a diabetic’s health. With the heath risks associated with pedicures all over the news, consumers welcome a new breed of Advanced Nail Technicians.
How do you feel about nail products that are tested on animals?
I don’t buy any products that are tested on animals…only humans!
What effect do you think the Internet will have on the nail industry?
I love the internet and social networking! It has allowed me to reach out into cyber space like Twitter and talk to entertainers. Recently I reached out to Coko Clemons from SWV, as well as a few reality show celebs that I have Minxed! I love to order my products on line also and I read my favorite industry magazines online all the time!
How do you use the Internet in conjunction with your nail business(es)?
Twitter and Facebook have widget that can be placed on my website. This is a great way to get loyal followers! It also allows me to stay in contact with people all over the country, interact with current clients as well as get new ones.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in nails?
I would be a Master Chef owning my own Bed & Breakfast in a beautiful place.
How much do you love Inspirationail?
It is a great way to let other techs know whats happening and the format is awesome. I love it!
Can you give us a preview of hot trends for 2010?
The clay canes are really catching on and the “pipe or edge nails” and way more tapered to pointed shapes!
What advice would you give anyone training to become a nail tech?
Seek out a “FEM-TORE” or a Mentor to help shape your new future. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them through the many social networking groups. I am always available via email at MinxHouston [at} gmail.com as well as facebook and twitter.
Thanks to Athena for answering our interview and sharing her work with us. Be sure to keep up with the latest news on her nail website.
Stay tuned for more interesting interviews with other fun & fearless members of the nail industry.