By Jessica Jones
Kiki Dixon’s career as a nail technician began accidently when she discovered her talent for creating nail designs.
“I lucked up on my calling to do nails by accident,” she said. One day she decided to purchase a nail art kit and a mannequin hand at the beauty supply store. She’d always had a love for nail art, but never knew she had a talent for creating designs.
“I stayed up until late in the morning [practicing],” Dixon said. “I’d break the nails off and do them again.”
After seeing her work, family members began asking her to paint their nails. Soon others noticed the designs and began referring their friends to Dixon.
“I had phone calls coming in and at that time I wasn’t working work. I was like, let me get some extra money on the side,” she said. “I set up at the house and word started getting around and it got bigger, and bigger, and bigger.”
She eventually moved into a barber shop in Eastlake and from there moved into a shop in Clay. Currently she doesn’t have a salon home, but is in the process of looking for a shop to work in, or perhaps having a shop of her own.
“I want a full service salon for nails and hair as well, so I’ve been talking with a couple of people to have a business partner to go into it with and hopefully we can try to make something happen by the middle of next year.”
African-American nail technicians are few and Black owned nail salons are a rarity, but this is something that Kiki hopes changes in the coming years.
“A lot of people are taken aback [when I say I do nails], but there are a lot of Black people out there that do nails. She said the field is dominated by Vietnamese and most shops rush through their clients, but she offers a different experience.
“We’re trying to make money, too,” she said. “But it becomes more like a friendship with your client. We care. We take our time, and I’m trying to make sure everyone who sits in my chair is satisfied, their nails become a conversation piece, and they can’t wait to come back in two weeks.”
By Jessica Jones