Spotlight on…Metta Francis

Art 07/06/2021

As an award winning mobile nail technician/artist, session nail technician & content creator, we were super excited to chat to Metta and hear her thoughts on everything from her creative inspiration to advice for those just starting out, as well as the importance of good lighting for her work.

 

 

Firstly, please tell us about yourself and what you do?

Hi Daylight Company, thanks so much for having me. I’m Metta, or Mets, and I’m the founder of London based mobile nail company, Nails by Mets. I’m a mobile nail technician/nail artist and being a business owner, I also manage the business behind the scenes including social media, marketing, customer relations, accounting, admin etc..!

 

What do you enjoy most about your work and why? Are there any specific projects you’ve worked on that you’ve found particularly enjoyable?

I love the diversity of my work. As a mobile nail technician, I’m constantly on the go and no two days are the same. I could be visiting private clients in their homes one day, managing and working high profile events the next and then later in the week, on set working on a campaign. I love making my private clients happy through their love of nails and I don’t just mean painting a pretty nail or a fun nail art design, it’s all about the feeling behind it! Whether it’s that added bit of confidence, the dedicated “me” and pamper time my clients give themselves during our sessions or simply transforming their previously bitten or sad nails. I love human interaction and 1:1 time, it’s almost like therapy for some clients! When working events or on set, I love working with the team and being around other creatives and nail professionals ~ as I don’t work in a salon environment it can sometimes get lonely! Some of my best memories have actually been at London Fashion Week, or at Nails by Mets pop-up events for the likes of Westfield London, Lindex etc,  just catching up with and working alongside my nail friends!

 

How did you start out in the nail industry?

I used to be a technology consultant and worked in the corporate world but as time went on, I realised I wasn’t enjoying it and I didn’t see a future in that area anymore. I started considering all of my options and ultimately this led to me wanting to have my own business. I brainstormed all of the different things I enjoyed, what I could possibly turn into a business and ended up with the idea of a mobile nail business/being a mobile nail technician. This was back in 2010 so CND Shellac, Gelish/gel polish was completely new to the market and it was also a time when nail art was becoming more mainstream in the UK.  I decided to train as a nail technician with CND, Gelish and Minx alongside my day job and then launched Nails by Mets in January 2011. It was a really exciting time to join the industry with all of the new innovations coming out and for the first 4 years of my business I ran Nails by Mets alongside my job as a technology consultant, working evenings and weekends, taking annual leave etc but then went full time with Nails by Mets in 2014 after having my daughter.

 

You offer beautiful and creative nails to clients in their home, as well as for events and brand shoots. Where do you get your creative inspiration from?

Thank you so much for your kind words! For my private clients, I’m very much driven by their own personalities and individual style. I love getting to know my clients so I learn what colours they favour and by looking at their homes (art, furniture and other visual aids) and other key areas of interest (pop culture, travel etc) I can usually suggest designs that I know they will love. I’m also unafraid to push my clients a little outside of their comfort zone; most clients who say they only want a natural or nude nail start having nail art by their second appointment! For events, I like to liaise with clients to understand what they’re trying to achieve with the nail look. For events, if the nail activity is to promote a certain fashion collection for example, then I’ll look at the colours and patterns  of that collection and create designs that will complement this, especially for press and VIP events ~ I want the nails to be a long lasting memory of the event/collection etc. For shoots, I’m usually driven by the brief and work with the other creatives on set such as make-up artist and stylist to brainstorm colours and looks. It’s important the nails go with the rest of the look and don’t look overpowering or too boring, depending on the required style.

 

Having worked with a number of large brands and featured in a range of well-known publications, how do you continue to challenge yourself?

This is a tough one as I feel like I’m always trying to push forward and move from one achievement to the next. It can be really easy to keep going without reflecting and enjoying the moment. I’m a big believer in the power of manifestation/visualisation so I’ll write a list of brands/clients and publications I want to work with and my goals (or create a vision board/have them stored in my head!) and then start focusing on that!

 

What advice would you give anyone who has just started out as a Nail Tech?

Keep practicing your craft! If you don’t have many clients or real hands to work on, get a nail trainer/practice hand and/or nail tips to practice your polishing skills, nail techniques and nail art. Any “quiet” time could be used to film or shoot content for social media, researching for nail looks/ideas and it can be used to build your business behind the scenes. I would definitely advise spending time on the business side of things because this will help build a solid foundation and help with longevity in the industry. Don’t invest everything in new nail supplies; invest in a great website, marketing/advertising and financial/business support. If you’re feeling a bit lost and don’t know where to start or what to do, there are plenty of fab nail support groups available and beauty business groups online you can join and don’t be afraid to reach out to nail technicians that you admire and ask them for advice. But do try to be specific as some people may be super busy and this makes it easier for them to reply when on the go!

 

What advice would you give those looking to build an audience and promote themselves and their work online?

Taking good photos of your work is essential as it serves as a portfolio and advertisement of your work. Play around with different poses and backgrounds (these could be natural backgrounds or you could have backdrops for your images) and interact with your target audience and others in the industry! Social media is all about being social so find your audience and where they hang out (e.g. what other interests do they have, what do they enjoy etc?) and make sure you have a clear call to action for each photo or post you make, to encourage engagement. Make sure that everything you post online is authentic and a true reflection of you and your brand/business ~ as a service based industry, people buy into you so don’t be afraid to show off your personality but remember to keep it professional at the same time.

 

Are there any other nail techs or people in the industry who you admire and have influenced you in your career?

There are so many! When I started out I really admired (and still do!) Sharmadean Reid and everything she was doing with WAH! Nails (not to mention all of the WAH! Nails artists!) and popular international artists such as Disco Nail (Japan), Britney Tokyo (Japan/USA), Disco Nail (USA), Sophy Robson (UK), Vanity Projects and all of their artists. I loved that they all had/have their own nail art styles which were/are just incredible! The UK is full of so many incredible nail professionals and I have huge respect and admiration for the long time players such as Adam Slee, Jenny Longworth and those who I have “grown up” with in the industry like Tinu Bello (founder of Colour Riot Nails) and Veronica Butenko. I love Sylvie Macmillan’s work which is so incredibly creative and on the flip side, Harriet Westmoreland for her clean work. From an industry point of view, I will always support the work Marian Newman does, especially with her latest project Nail Knowledge as it’s all about education and educating nail professionals (which is, in my opinion, more important than learning nail art techniques!)

 

How important is lighting to your work? What tips would you give other Mobile Nail Artists struggling to find the best lighting solutions?

Lighting is so important. Not only is it going to illuminate the working area/environment better and enable you to really see what you’re doing (especially important for nail prep, intrinsic nail art and getting that perfect polish around the cuticle area and sidewalls) but it also helps to ensure that your photos are well lit and show off your nail handiwork. When looking for a solution, I’d advise finding something that provides a “true” light (especially important for photo taking) and also a solution that is nice and compact. Something that’s easy to pop into your mobile nail kit and doesn’t weigh too much is always a winner and of course something that is portable. It can sometimes be a struggle to find a suitable power source so a lighting solution that is rechargeable is perfect ~ easy to carry around on set, backstage and even to set up when visiting clients.

Find out more about Metta’s work on her Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channels, as well as her website.

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