Nail Technology Student Success Story: Alicia Figueroa
About Alicia Figueroa
It can be hard to know what you want to do right after high school. For Alicia Figueroa, she had gone to college briefly, but decided to go on a break. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life.” Her passions always lied within the arts. “My interests have always been focused on anything artistic – I’ve sketched, painted, sculpted clay, made costumers and done special effects makeup for years.” After falling in and out of the hobby for a little bit, Alicia ended up picking it up, and falling back in love. “After working for four years after high school graduation, I decided I needed to get back to doing something I loved.”
At 22, Alicia had been working hard. “I had worked at a retirement home in Bothell. I started as a server in their dining rooms and worked my way up to dining room manager. I managed the busiest restaurant on campus, and did the schedule for our large staff. At 22, I just felt like my life was going nowhere. I was constantly working and rarely did anything for myself because I was so loyal to my job – it honestly always came first, even over my own needs.” Shares Alicia.
After sitting with a decision for a while, Alicia starting searching for ways to start pursuing her passions, something artistic being at the forefront. Alicia has always done nail art. “I started polishing fun designs on myself, my mom, and my litter sisters at around eight or nine years old. After a couple of years, I fell out of the hobby, briefly picking it back up in high school, before dropping it again. After working for four years, I decided I needed to get back to doing something I loved. Then I discovered the nail program at Evergreen Beauty College. The course was short, and it involved something that would flex my creativity. I jumped on the chance, I left my job shortly after. I have never been happier.” After looking into other experiences from students, more and more excitement built. “It was nearby where I lived. Everyone seemed to love it, and I was ready for the change.”
The Evergreen Experience
With her newfound happiness, Alicia quickly enjoyed that she loved being able to work with clients as if she were in a real salon. “I have met some lovely people who have become repeat clients, and it has prepared me for what work will be like in the field.” Alicia truly loves creating things people think are beautiful. “Nail art is my strength. I am still learning how to improve with my art every day, but I am very proud of how far I’ve come with my hand-painting skills.”
One thing Alicia has found beneficial in her program are her educators giving her nail challenges. A few days a week, she would be given a theme for nails they would have to create. One day, it would be a specific shape and “bright colors”, or it could be something like a popular character. “I found this helpful because they made me go outside of my comfort zone to try new shapes or designs I normally wouldn’t try or think of myself.” When not given a challenge, Alicia strives to challenge herself with intricate designs. “I want my nails to wow people,” Alicia shares.
The Next Step
After working at the restaurant for so long, Alicia has built a strong foundation of customer service skills. “Having to work with our elderly residents, as well as their families who are from all ages and backgrounds, and my staff made up of primarily teenagers, I feel that I learned a lot about versatility in in the aspect of customer service.” Along with her nail art, she is sure to give a service that will wow anyone.
When asked about what steps she would take after graduation, Alicia shared that she would love to find a part-time job in a salon. “I would like to learn more about how a salon is run, and what kind of workflow is expected before jumping into a business owner.” She also shared her dreams for the future. “One day I’d like to start a small travelling nail business, where I can go into people’s homes and do nails there. If that works out well, down the line, I’d like to open my own nail salon. The goal of coming to school was to be in a career that I loved, and where I could be my own boss if I wanted to.”
The last thing Alicia shared was advice for future students. She expressed, “Never stop trying. Even if you feel like your work isn’t good enough, I promise that with enough practice, you’ll look at your work and say “wow, I really did that!”
Miss Alicia Figueroa is slated to graduate this December. If you would like to follow along with the rest of her journey until graduation, you can find her on her Instagram: @scalesversusnails. Congratulations Alicia! Evergreen looks forward to seeing your dreams flourish.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in the beauty industry you can check out our different programs or Schedule a Virtual Tour, at one of our six locations: Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Everett, North Seattle, Renton, and Yakima.