Finding Your Niche, with Painted By Courtney!

Hey, hi, hello! 

So here is a little bit about me, Painted By Courtney and how I started out as a nail artist. I first started just under 3 years ago, I did a 6 week acrylic and gel polish course at Bodyworks Salon in Liverpool while working as a makeup artist. I think I did acrylics for maybe the first year, if that but I can’t lie, I got bored of them quite easily, I think probably because long nails aren’t my style really and they took me too long! I think that goes for maybe 60% of the nail techs I know, correct me if I’m wrong?! I always said from the beginning that I wanted to be known for my nail art and I’ve always been an artistic person with an eye for detail, so I knew that I wanted my USP to be my fun, random and unique art. I’m proud to say that now nearly 3 years into my nail career, I’m happy with where I am skills-wise (I definitely still have a long way to go – always pushing!) but I’m so proud to say I’m working with 3 amazing brands, that I never would have thought would know my name by now, never mind have me working alongside them!

I would definitely say my style is quite eclectic, I’m really not a seasonal person, I think as a creative person I tend to paint what I feel or what I’ve been inspired by which could literally be anything. I get inspiration from art I’ve seen people paint, draw, patterns or textures that I’ve seen outdoors or on clothes etc. It’s really just about opening your mind to creativity and letting it just take over I suppose. My favourite type of nail to paint is a nude nail, preferably sheer nude with a statement feature. I like the art to be the focal point of the nail so I like to think of contrast, colour, shape and texture at the very least to try and come up with a design.

I would say I probably only started to really understand what my favourite style of nail was maybe this year! I’ve definitely attracted a lot of clients this year that have come to me with exactly my kind of style and I think that’s so important. From quite early on I’ve been quite proud to say that I’ve attracted my kind of people if you like because I have always been conscious of posting designs that I want to be painting (hence why I quit acrylics also because they’re just a bit glam for a grunge soul like me!) Since then my style has definitely developed into a truer version of what I say is MY style so that makes me happy to know I’m finally getting there, ha! It takes a lot of trial and error with designs and taking photos to really establish what is the best way of putting your work across to attract the client base for you.

Ever since I started, even though at the beginning I really wasn’t great at nail art, I wasn’t used to what products to use, what brushes etc and that definitely plays a MASSIVE part in how your art turns out! But regardless of not having these products I have today, I’ve always said I will never say no to a design and will always give it a go and I’ve been the same ever since. When you say no, you’re limiting yourself before you have even tried. What I love about painting is that you find ways of doing designs that are convenient and easy for you and sometimes they are rock hard to figure out but when you get there, I promise it’s so rewarding. Just to know you’ve sat there, doubted yourself, figured out how to break the design down and then actually paint it on a nail and do a good job, it gives you such a sense of achievement. It also inspires you to not be so doubtful the next time you’re faced with a big challenge. I do get doubtful and I’ve had people turn up asking for cat skull nails, I looked at a photo for reference and just thought “there is no way.” Turned out, I whacked them out within the hour and I felt so uplifted when I finished them! It’s so important to push yourself, especially at the times when you really don’t think you can because even if you’re not that happy, I can almost guarantee your client will like it!

Finding your niche in such a competitive industry like this is critical, I’m finally finding my feet with my style and it’s comforting to know that people are here for it. People follow me because they want to see me, do my style of nails and that in itself is a compliment. If you’re truly passionate about your nails and how it reflects you as a person, find your style, your niche and stick to it. Take 40 pictures at a time with at least 6 different angles so you can post the same set (that you LOVE and want to make your thing) but with a different composition so it’s not overkill on your page. If you want to get your vibe across, you have to stand out from the crowd, get creative and don’t overthink, post what makes you happy as long as it reflects you.

It’s easy to feel pressured by social media and to post similar things to what everyone else seems to be posting because they’re getting likes, shares and comments etc, it really is. It can be disheartening on some days when I post a picture of a set that I poured my heart into and then I get no exposure or recognition for it, but at least I can say “I did that, I pushed myself and I’m proud.” You work for yourself and at the end of the day, you want to make yourself proud don’t you? Not Instagram, so as long as you’re happy with what you’re producing I would try not to let the lack of love we sometimes get on Insta put you down and be proud for pushing yourself. I sometimes find myself posting simple designs that aren’t really my style just because I know the photo is nice and they will make good content. You’ll see that not all my designs that I post are whacky designs, but what you will see is photographs that I’ve taken that I think are nice enough to make the grid. As long as your application and photo taking skills are up to scratch, it doesn’t really matter what’s on the nail to portray your vibe!

My advice to somebody starting in the industry would be “GO GET ‘EM!” Just absolutely go for it, try and create designs that are YOUR STYLE, even if they’re not very good, be true to yourself and post, post, post. Practice as much as possible, take good quality photos in the best lighting you can and post the pic. Tag the brands you have used to help get you some exposure, reach out to artists you look up to, interact with other nail artists because the community we are a part of is phenomenal. I’ve heard it a lot, especially since being a makeup artist for 4 years prior to nails, “the beauty industry is negative, it’s bitchy, it’s bla bla” but the nail community is just amazing. Everyone is only a message away and are always happy to help, ask someone to share your post and they will! Also, probably the best tip I could give to someone just starting… if you want your nail art to be ON POINT – please invest in a good detailer brush and some decent art gels. I promise you it will make your life so much easier and your skills will improve faster than if you were to struggle with cheap ordinary gels. I set myself back for about 2 years until I purchased my Brillbird Brush & Go Go1 and Go2. Life changing. 

Ooooooh, what to expect from PBC! Honestly, I really need to get better at writing down goals and reminding myself everyday of where it is I want to be, but I suppose I can use this time now to get it down! I would really love to focus on tutorials, I’m actually thinking of starting a YouTube channel, it always seems a bit far fetched and difficult to thrive on but why not challenge myself?! I would absolutely love to bring out my own product range one day, also a pipe dream but for now I’m going to focus on tutorials, 1-1 lessons and masterclasses. I love sharing techniques and knowledge where I can, so I think this is what I’ll be focusing on, I really want to incorporate my art work more too! I love that my name is now Painted By Courtney because it covers a range of things I like to do and offer as a service, I can paint your face, your nails and your walls! How fun!

I hope this has been enjoyable to read, can’t say I’ve written anything this long since I was in college, haha! I’m so excited again to be apart of this amazing journey Amy is on, I feel flattered to be the first person she has welcomed to do a course with and I hope you all enjoy what’s in store for you!
Thanks ever so much,

So much love

Courtney xoxo


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