Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Marina wins an iPad!

Starting at the ESTET show in October, Iryna Giblett Ukraine Inc ran a lottery for a new iPad. Everyone who purchased a product during this period was automatically entered.

On the 28th December, a colleague 7-year old son pulled the winning ticket. Winner of the iPad and our congratulations go to Marina Mnatsakanyan a manicurist from Kiev.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Iryna has got into the holiday mood and created some nails for Christmas ;-)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

RIP Tom Holcomb

It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Tom Holcomb earlier today.

Tom was the greatest nail technician in the history of the industry. Tom's successes include 10 times World Champion, 5 times Japan Master, 2 times International Champion in Düsseldorf and 2 times International Champion in Munich. In total, Tom won more than 200 competitions during his 26 year career.

Tom was the Creative Director of EZ Flow and later was a co-founder of Entity Systems. Tom educated many thousands of nail technicians during his career and his students - which includes many competition champions - will remember Tom for his tremendous skill, his humour, kindness and humility.

We never had the great fortune to meet Tom - but he inspired Iryna who followed his successes while she was a young nail tech in Ukraine and he has always been her nail idol. She created the tips today as her tribute to the great man.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Düsseldorf - here they come!

Congratulations to Viktoria Prihodko and Olena Shuhtina for winning the acrylic and gel categories in the Estonian national nail competitions on 8th October 2011 in Tallinn. Now both Viktoria and Olena will represent Estonia at the International Nail Championship, held in Düsseldorf, Germany, in March 2012.

Both Viktoria and Olena are Global Educators for the Iryna Giblett Nail Academy, and are photographed at their salon and training center in Tallinn. As you can see, Iryna offered her services as a model ;-)

As you can imagine, it's very unusual that both the acrylic and gel champions work together in the same company. We are so happy for them both and look forward to supporting them in Germany next year!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New competition success at IBS Las Vegas!

Viktorija Prihodko took 3rd place in the 3D Acrylic category at the IBS Las Vegas competition on June 20, above competitors from a number of countries that included Russia, Korea and Japan. This was the first time Viktorija had entered in this competition and she made this detailed work against the background of expecting her first child in August.

Viktorija's success follows that of Tanya Klester who took 1st place in Mixed Media at Nailympics this year, and Iryna's 2nd and 3rd places at IBS Las Vegas in 2009 and 2010 for hand painting and 3d Acrylic. Both Viktorija and Tanya are Global Educators for the Iryna Giblett Nail Academy and we are deeply valued colleagues.

We offer our deepest congratulation to Viktorija and are sure that more competition success will occur in the future!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Are your nail products safe?

During the last years there has been a major increase in the availability of low-cost acrylic and gel nail products in Europe and the USA. Almost none of these companies own factories, they simply buy their products from the cheapest available source and supply the products in low-cost containers with simple labels.

Some of these products originate from China, and while the quality of Made in China can be good (bearing in mind that many of the products we buy are manufactured there), it's also important that we consider the recent scandals such as unsafe toys and baby milk that brought dangerous Chinese goods and the sometimes desire for profit, regardless of conscience, to worldwide attention.

As recent as April 19 an article published by the European Business website cited that "China again heads EU's dangerous products list". Yet despite this information, an increasing number of nail technicians choose to purchase professional nail products that are Made in China; in some cases purchasing these from unknown vendors on eBay, or as I read recently on the US-based BeautyTech forum some nail techs have even gone to the effort to import products from suppliers in Hong Kong.

Sometimes it's not easy to know if even a respectable branded product is genuine - which makes buying from a reputable supplier even more important. Illegal copies of famous brand products including counterfeit Shellac (TM) and Gelish (TM) products are manufactured in China and it is notoriously difficult for any original manufacturer to stop this counterfeiting trade (this problem can be greatly reduced through the use of high security hologram labels that only cost a few cents per label. We were the first nail product manufacturer to use these.)

As a manufacturer we understand that we have a responsibility to meet certain legal requirements. To ensure that we were compliant, we took the unusual decision to invite Läkmedelsverket (Medical Products Agency) to inspect our products and production facilities. Läkmedelsverket is the Swedish national authority that is responsible for the regulation and surveillance of the development, manufacturing and marketing of medical and cosmetic products and ensuring that these meet European law. As it turned out, we were fully compliant and have their letter of confirmation proudly displayed on the wall of our office ;-)

The legal requirements are similar for both the USA and Europe; the products must be safe (this actually means that the manufacturer has performed safety and risk assessments that are held on file for inspection by the authorities if required), does not use any banned ingredients and the products must be correctly labelled (the labelling requirements in Europe are more stringent than in the USA).

However, in the USA and Europe it is not necessary for manufacturers or importers to have their products tested before placing them on the market. In comparison, it is a requirement to submit products for testing and be issued certification before cosmetic products can be sold in Russia, Ukraine and many other former-Soviet countries!

And what if a manufacturer or importer sells products that don't meet the legal requirement? Actually, very little. Here's what the Läkmedelsverket website says about such a situation:

"Companies that do not comply with the regulations will be required to make improvements. The controlling authorities may in certain cases decide to impose a ban on the sale of a product."

Which basically means that if they are caught (and the likihood of that is negligable), then the manufacturer or importer will get a slap on the wrist and if they persist then maybe the offending products are banned. Little wonder that the number of companies distributing low-cost products has dramatically increased here during the last years!

But what is often not understood by the average nail technician, is that they also have a legal responsibility to ensure that the products they use are safe. When the nail tech buys from a reputable source, they can largely assume that the products do meet the legal requirements - after all, no serious company is going to risk being sued. In the event that the nail tech does have to defend themselves in court against a client who claims to have been harmed, they can at least state that they took reasonable precautions by purchasing a well known or trusted brand. However, a nail tech who buys unknown low-cost products from eBay or a supplier in Hong Kong would have no such defence. In fact, the actual manufacturer may be using banned ingredients and may never have performed a safety and risk assessment on any of their products.

As I explained in a previous article, the difference between using a premium product such as our Kudos gel and a low-cost product can be as little as 1 Euro per service.

Few nail techs know the cost per service of their material or how to calculate it. So it is perhaps not surprising that some of them look at the sticker price and try to save money in the hard economic situation that we have today.

Hopefully this article will help to educate them to the potential economic and health risks that saving 1 Euro per customer can cause.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gellini in Kiev

It's been a long time since Bob and I made any nail photographs. But the weather in Kiev has been so wonderful during the last week that we thought it would be great fun to take some outdoor shots of our new Gellini gel nail polish.

We were helped by our good friend Alysa, who is also a professional make-up artist. Alysa is also a shoe monster and we can always rely on her to have interesting shoes for photographs! ;-)

All the photographs were taken on or around Independence Square in Kiev; the scene of the Orange Revolution in 2004. It's still a popular place for people to meet and sit in the sun. At weekends all traffic is banned, so you can walk around, browse shops or just take a slow coffee.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What's the cost of your reputation?

Image credit: www.

As I write this, there are seven webshops in Sweden offering low-cost nail products. By low-cost I mean that they are selling gels and acrylics up to 50% less than the premium brands (ours included). Most of these webshops have appeared during the last year so we have yet to see if they will make enough money to survive - after all we are a country of only 9 million people and fewer consumers wear nail enhancements than in other countries.

Of course you get what you pay for. Some of these shops are selling Chinese products and others seem to be buying their products from one of the companies in Germany who specialize in selling low-cost products for private labeling (putting your own label on). Of the products I have personally seen here in Sweden, none of them follow the correct labeling laws (European Regulation 1223/2009 states what information must be included). This is the legal responsibility of the importing distributor, so it would not be surprising to also find that in order to reduce costs, that the distributors have not checked that the manufacturers have undertaken Safety and Risk Assessments for their products and that the products are not potentially dangerous.

In any case, what I am hearing is that the quality is poor and it's mostly non-professionals and newly trained nail technicians who are buying these products. In other words, people who don't have the skills to determine what is or what is not a good quality product. I guess when they find the application difficult and the product lifts quickly, they must be blaming their skills rather than the products used.

It's the new nail techs who surprise me and it raises several questions:
  • are schools educating them in the importance of using quality materials and tools, and the impact this can have on their future reputation?
  • are the schools selling the benefits of their brand?
  • don't the students value product support or feel any loyalty to buy product from their school?
Or is it that the industry has changed?
  • has the rapid increase of low-cost salons in Sweden putting price-pressure on new nail techs to the extent that they feel the need to buy cheap material?
  • or are they just more internet comfortable than previous generations and therefore more willing to shop online to get lower prices?
Perhaps the reasons are a combination of these, but it may also have more to do with their perception of value.

I am sure the same youngsters don't buy their clothes from a supermarket and they would probably never consider wearing make-up made in China or buying a cheap phone or MP3 player from an unknown brand. So in these and many other buying decisions they make; they do consider price, quality, product safety, customer service, their own personal image and personal satisfaction from buying a certain product. So perhaps the reason that they are buying low-cost nail products is that they are simply not equipped to make the right value-based decisions.

And yet it's strange that so many of them do make the right decision to be educated at the more professional schools ( whose classes run for between 15 days to 25 days), rather than one of the newer "schools" who offer to train you as a nail technician in 2 days.

Perhaps the simplest answer is for the schools to inform them about the cost of the materials per service. When you break down the costs like this and compare between using cheap and premium products, the difference in price is so much less.

Calculating the cost of materials for each service
The cost will vary depending on :
  • the service you do
  • the type of material used
  • the amount of material used
  • the average nail plate sizes

So any answer is not going to be precise. But you can either obtain the costs from your supplier (if they have them) or you can make a simple estimate by simply writing down how many customers you serviced for each jar of gel or acrylic you use (you should also include the cost of nail prep, bonder, nail forms, tips and files).

We've measured the cost of service for all our gel and acrylic products, whether creating French with tips, French sculpted tip and natural nail overlay. Her is one example (this has also been verified by two of our distributors who calculated remarkably similar results) :

Kudos Gels
Service: French nails, sculpted tips
Material: Kudos gels

  • Cost per service when using 13 gram gel jars: 24.6 Swedish Krona (approx. 2.72 Euro)
  • Cost per service when using 39 gram gel jars: 21.3 Swedish Krona (approx. 2.36 Euro)

Of course, the cost of materials depends on the price in that country. In the US, prices are much lower because of the market size.

But what's important here is that the average price for a set of new French sculpted nails in Sweden is between 700 krona and 1200 krona. That means the material cost is between 3% and 1.5% of the service!

Low-Cost Gels
If we now make a similar comparison with low-cost products and to be a devils advocate let us assume that these cost 50% less than our Kudos gels and have identical coverage. This would give the following results:

  • Cost per service when using 13 gram gel jars: 12.3 Krona
  • Cost per service when using 39 gram gel jars: 10.7 Krona

In other words the difference in price is only 12.3 kr to 10.7 kr - that's only 1 Euro!!

For this small saving of just 1.5% to 0.7% of the price of their service, the nail techs risk:

  • increased service times
  • nails that yellow
  • premature lifting
  • increased possibility of damage in ordinary use

...and only to save 1 Euro per customer. That is the cost of a nail techs reputation.

Bob Giblett

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Introducing ...Gellini UV and LED Gel Polish!

The new Gellini gel polishes are available from 6th April! There are 25 modern colors in the Gellini family. All of these give excellent color depth, a high shine and provide beautiful chip and scratch free nails for between 15 to 21 days.

If you have tried other gel polishes, you will appreciate the easy application with Gellini. Apply the primer sparingly, a coat of the Gellini Base & Top coat, then one thin coat of color (two coats if you want extra depth), and finish with a final Base & Top coat. The curing time is 2 minutes in a 36W UV lamp or between 30 to 60 seconds in the Gellini LED lamp.

Soaking off is easy and takes approximately 10-15 minutes. For faster soak-off times when applying Gellini on natural nails, you don't use the Base & Top coat.

Each Gellini gel has a very competitive price of 18.95 Euro for 15ml (not 8.5ml as others). Until the end of June we have several special offers:

Offer 1
25 Gellini colors, 15 ml
1 Gellini Base & Top Gel, 15 ml
1 X2 OneBond Primer

....usual price is 499 Euro, offer price is just 374 Euro and includes free shipping in Europe.

Offer 2
As offer 1 plus the Gellini LED lamp

....usual price is 664 Euro, offer price is just 499 Euro and includes free shipping in Europe.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More practice

Here's an example that I made recently that uses our new InspirationZ metallic acrylic powders. You can see the shine of these coming from the leaves. It was really nice to find the time to practice again!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Competition Training in Kiev

On the 7th and 8th of February we organised an acrylic and gel competition training class for our Instructors at our school in Kiev.

The 'Guest Star' teacher was Linara Dokechaeva from Moscow, who was the trainer for last years winner in the acrylic category at the world championships in Düsseldorf. Linara is an international competition judge and owns three schools in Russia.

Everyone who came to the class was delighted with their new knowledge and skills, and appreciated Linara's teaching ability and willingness to answer all questions. This is a class that we will definitely repeat in the future!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Master Artist Instructors in Ukraine

We send our congratulations to the five Instructors from the Iryna Giblett Nail Academy on Ukraine who graduated as Master Artist Instructors on the 6th February. They are now qualified to educate and award diploma's in all Level 1 and Level 2 nail art education developed by the Academy.

The practical examinations followed four days of intensive education in hand painted nail art (inc. one-stroke technique), color gel and 3D gel nail art, and basrelief and 3D acrylic design. They also received an introduction to fantasy nail art. The educators of the class were Iryna Giblett and Irina Zamostinchuk who is a Global Educator for the Iryna Giblett Nail Academy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Master Artist Instructors in Estonia

With the graduation of three new Master Artist Instructors, high quality nail art education becomes more available in Estonia. The fours students who had all previously graduated at Instructor for the Iryna Giblett Nail Academy, attended an intensive 4-day education under the care of Iryna Giblett. The qualification allows the Instructors to provide Level 1 and Level 2 nail art education in the categories of hand painting, one-stoke painting, gel and 3D gel, and basrelief and 3D acrylic nail art.

New School in Sweden

We are delighted to welcome Susanne Qvick and Studio Q as an Instructor in the Iryna Giblett Nail Academy. Sussi's school is based in the town of Gävle which is 2 hours north of Stockholm. Having become an Instructor, Sussi's is now accredited by the Iryna Giblett Nail Academy to train new nail technicians in both gel and acrylic, and resell the Iryna Giblett nail products.

Sussi has been an educator for a number of brands in her career; so her experience and professionalism will be a great asset to our team in Sweden.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kudos acrylic and gel samples

We finally found the time to create product samples! There are four different sample kits available at a low price of just 9.95 Euro per Kit.

KUDOS Gel Sample Kit
Contains: Clear Sculptor gel, Cover Pink Sculptor gel, White Snow Sculptor gel and Top gel. 4 x 3.5g = 14 grams of gel.

GENTLE Gel Sample Kit
Contains: Clear Soak-Off gel, Arctic White Soak-Off gel, Pink Soak-Off gel and Top Soak-Off gel. 4 x 3.5g = 14 grams of gel.

COOL (low-heat) Gel Sample Kit
Contains: Clear gel, Cover Peach gel, Cover Pink Gel, Non-Wipe gel. 4 x 3.5g = 14 grams of gel

KUDOS SALON Acrylic Sample Kit
Contains: Alpine White Polymer, Cover Pink Polymer, Clear Polymer and Acrylic Liquid. 3 x 5g = 115 grams polymer plus 15 ml monomer.