Confessions of a Zoom Room Host

Confessions of a Zoom Room Host

Week six million of the lockdown and don’t know about you, but I’ve eaten my own body weight in Cathedral City (sans crackers – they just slow me down), and I’m pretty sure I now hold the world record for how many Cadbury’s chocolate fingers a human can consume in one sitting. I’m also not too sure how much Christmas gifted Shiraz I can drink without having to stand up and tell everyone my name and vices in some virtual support group for similarly lockdown fatigued, financially embarrassed homeschoolers (although I am hopeful they can explain to me what a subjective conjunctive is, please comment below – I still have no idea!) 

The point of my fridge raiding confession is that here at FNP HQ we personally understand the trauma and tedium that are the lovechildren of L3 and in that spirit, January saw us put our smart work tops back on over our PJs and monster slippers, and invite all you lovely people to join us on Zoom Rooms for some light relief. More importantly, it was an opportunity to hear from YOU. Your questions, concerns, fears, and suggestions were all welcomed and we had some great conversations. Zoom is the new normal but we understand not everyone is happy to come on camera, and that’s fine, we were just happy for you to be there with us and appreciate you taking the time to join us. I did get some fantastic questions about the FNP memberships, which I think everyone was curious about, and you can always submit your own via the online chat if you don’t want to speak live. 

A great deal of people are really struggling with L3 – even more so that the first two, and many have lost their creative mojo to Bojo in the daily briefing ether. I have noticed that many are not posting as much on their SM pages this time round, the anxiety and despondency is almost palpable. For my final room I wanted to try to rekindle the fires that make us all so passionate about our work of choice. 

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We had some very special guests, and I was fortunate to have the awesome force that is Tracey Lee join me for my final Zoom! After I’d finished fan-girling (sorry Tracey) our chat centred on joining the competition arena, specifically photographic. Everyone was so enthusiastic which was really wonderful to see. Tracey is a leading figure in the comps and her inspirational sheer passion shone through.  I think everyone felt pumped again after our chat, preparing and practicing for competitions is a great way to build motivation for dusting off the nail brushes again, I think everyone took some great tips tricks, and knowhow away with them. I can’t wait to see the entries of those who take the plunge! 

We would love to initiate the Zooms again, and hope more of you will join us, not only because you are currently my ONLY reason for putting on lipstick– but because the most important voices are YOURS!  

Ciao Alex 

FNP Membership Criteria

FNP Membership Criteria

FNP Membership Criteria

Raising Standards Together

Since our soft launch we have been overwhelmed by the number of you that have signed up as supporters and it makes us incredibly excited for the future to know there are so many of you that share our passion to elevate the industry!

Okay, so how do we do that? Its undeniable we have a mountain to climb, BUT everyone has the power to do just that.  Here at FNP Headquarters (or Zoom for now!) we have spent months debating how to structure our membership to ensure that we can help you, to help us, reach our goal. With that in mind we had to make difficult decisions about the criteria to join the FNP in the various categories.  It makes no sense to try to raise standards by setting the bar too low. The criteria are pretty strict and with good reason.

As we all know over time standards have slipped in our industry. This hasn’t been a quick process, it’s been an insidious creeping malaise that we have unfortunately sleepwalked into, but it’s not all doom and gloom – nothing is irreversible with determination! We have had to identify where the problems have taken root and grown.

Education is a biggie.  Entrepreneurship is another if not undertaken with the right reasons, knowledge, sound foundations and ethics.

‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’ – Nelson Mandela

Now Nelson Mandela was a pretty extraordinary fella and he hit the nail on the head – and this doesn’t just apply in the context of nation building!

Getting the right education is fundamental to setting yourself on the path to success. Finding education in the nail industry used to be very straightforward, your local college would offer the relevant courses regulated by Ofqual and well-respected brands could also be counted on for quality education and training. However, this situation has evolved over time and in some cases, the opportunity to make big quick bucks has created an influx of courses that are not always fit for purpose. I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of education here, my fellow Feds, Donna Clayton and Jennie Nippard, have both written fantastic blogs to help you negotiate the education minefield.

Suffice to say, some nail pros have found themselves thrust into the world of working on paying clients ill-prepared to deal with everything that entails, usually through inadequate training. Some will have gone for the cheapest, quickest option, others may not have known the difference. Some may not have had enough practice. (Would you be happy to drive through central London after just one or two driving lessons??) Some may just have taken their initial training and thought that was enough.

That brings us on to the next issue.

Being your own boss can be great, deciding your own hours and the lure of more money in your pocket, but many underestimate the challenges it can pose. In the rush to become entrepreneurs many don’t recognise that they are lacking the skills needed, or worse, they don’t care. This is another cause for standards to slip. The range of skills we need as Nail Professionals and business owners is vast. You might be able to knock out an incredible Russian Almond or some cracking one stroke, but if you are lacking in business skills, marketing, knowledge of your statutory requirements, Health & Safety, Product Chemistry, record keeping and tax, A&P knowledge (to name but a few), you are potentially setting yourself up for a fall. Having the correct business ethics is also essential – if you don’t it will most definitely come back to bite you! The arena of Social Media influencers would teach us that anyone can get famous and successful, but the quest for fame is empty without the qualities to back it up. The priority should be to get to the top of your game, this way you can avoid the pitfalls and enjoy a long and amazing career!

This is where our criteria come in. If you do not have the correct or adequate training for the services you provide, or if you are not working to the Code of Ethics, you will struggle to meet the criteria set by the FNP.  Now we are not here to bolt the door and say you are not good enough. That is the polar opposite of what we have set out to achieve. If you have applied to join the FNP, you already have the right mind set to do what it takes. We want to help you to help yourself. We want you to be successful, happy and an awesome member of the nail industry. The only way to do that is to be honest with yourself and to identify the areas where you can improve.  I could create a list for myself right now! We never stop learning. Good education and continued professional development are the cornerstones of any successful career and our commitment to you is to help you achieve this.  If you don’t meet the criteria straight away, we will guide you through the process of getting what you need and, in the meantime, you can still join us, either as a supporter or a student member. Just remember nothing worth having is easy, but we are here for YOU! We are only ever an email away.

Alex Cassells