I have always been fascinated by everything 'beauty', and from a young age could often be found craftily painting my nails in a corner - much to the amusement of my mother. After completing secondary and sixth form education at a prestigious girls' grammar school, I somehow fell into a career in financial services. The sad thing is that at that point in my life I didn't consider anything the beauty industry to be suitable for me - as much as I would've loved it, I felt that 'more' was expected of me. I worked in financial services for five years before I finally saw the light; before I recognised that what appealed to me might just be what I was supposed to do with my life. I also realised that a career in the beauty industry can be far from the 'unintelligent' option I had considered it to be: as with anything, you get out what you put in.
I had been having my nails done for several years and that had given me the desire to learn to do them too, so I trained - first in manicure with Warwickshire College, and later in nail extensions with SuperNail of L.A. (Backscratchers) - made nails my 'day job' in 2003 and never looked back. I worked mobile, then salon-based, then returned to mobile in 2005 when my beautiful daughter was born. I was so glad to no longer be a bank manager: I had a job that enabled me to utilise my creativity, a job where - as a self-employed mobile therapist - I could pick and choose my hours and not have to miss out on time enjoying being a mum.
I furthered my training through the years: completing training in waxing, nail art, gel nails, and also achieved Level 3 Diplomas in a range of Holistic Therapies (Aromatherapy, Indian Head Massage and Reflexology), plus post-grad training in Caring for Pregnant Clients and Reflexology for Pregnancy and Birth.
In 2010, the industry took an exciting turn: a revolutionary new product, using brand new technology was released by CND that would change the way we technicians work dramatically. A technology that would see ladies who had always painted their own nails, suddenly become interested in receiving regular manicures from a qualified nail professional. I am, of course, referring to CND Shellac. CND are the most innovative, fashion-forward company in the nail care industry, with the most technologically-advanced products, providing winning results - so naturally, I was hooked and converted to all of their systems, training with the legendary Gigi Rouse.
When I heard that CND were looking for Shellac Education Ambassadors, I just had the most fantastic feeling that the job was made for me. I made the decision to apply and was fortunate that my application was successful and I was asked to attend to Shellac Auditions in March 2011. Shellac Auditions were a real eye-opener: I was among some of the best nail technicians in the country, so imagine my delight (and astonishment!) when Samuel called me with an invite to the UK CND Bootcamp 2011. I had the most amazing time and graduated Shellac Bootcamp in May 2011, with the added honour of being awarded Best Academics. I was also delighted to win Best Nail Style in our Bootcamp nail art competition.
I am privileged to have worked many dream assignments in my time: providing CND Shellac and Minx nail services to athletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games; in February 2013 I was chosen to undertake Media Training with High View Communications, to become a CND Media Spokesperson; in May of the same year I flew out to San Diego, California to attend CND BootCamp once more, achieving my goal of becoming a full systems CND Education Ambassador. I have realised my dream of opening my beautiful home salon in Bidford on Avon, where my wonderful mum (and skilled Natural Nail Specialist) Eds, assists me as part of the Up To Scratch team. I have been hand-selected by Sweet Squared to join their spa team, offering education and support to spas across the country, including Ragdale Hall Health Hydro, Aqua Sana (Center Parcs), The InterContinenetal Hotel at The O2 and Gaia Spa; in addition, on several occasions I have been appointed to take care of VIP attendees at prestigious industry events and trade shows, plus countless spa events and working other high-profile events including VogueFest 2016, celebrating 100 years of Vogue magazine. Add to this the time I have spent working for my dear friend and colleague Liza Smith as a part of her LS Runway team at London Fashion Week on amazing projects for designers including Christian Blanken, Teatum Jones, Julien Macdonald, Vin and Omi, and the fabulous Tom Ford - I am very fortunate indeed!
I have proven to be trustworthy and reliable, providing a professional and discreet service to high-profile names. Dream assignments aside, my passion lies right back at the nail desk; both with my salon clients and with the training and development of my students. What an awesome position I am in!
After many years of working in recruitment and finance, Eds trained with CND in 2011, with a view to offering natural nail services only. She undertook further training in 2012, to add Minx to her service offerings, and proved to be a natural, applying a perfect set the very first time - a very rare feat indeed!
Having provided ad-hoc support previously, Eds joined the Up To Scratch team on a more regular basis from 2013, both offering natural nail services, and supporting Gemma as her training commitments increase, by taking over some of the administration and financial management responsibilities.
Eds has undertaken additional training in 2013, furthering her nails skills to offer superior CND Shellac services: CND Brisa Lite Smoothing Gel (the Power Partner to CND Shellac) and CND Brisa Lite Sculpting Gel for nail repairs.
She may occasionally mutter something about early retirement, but she is so loved that it is very unlikely our clients would allow her to do such a thing; in fact, don't be surprused if we see her adding to her nail enhancement options... watch this space!
CND Grand Master Nail Technician, Award-Winning CND Education Ambassador,
CND Media Spokesperson and Lecente, Moroccan Tan and Waxperts Educator, GEMMA PINFIELD-THOMAS
CND and Minx-trained Natural Nail Specialist, EDWINA PINFIELD