By Kyla Tillis, Studio M staff //
The LED light shines down, and the gentle humming of an electric machine fills the room. The smell of acetone lingers while she works.
This is just another day for Eldreana Louis.
Louis, 21, of Clarksville, Tennessee, owns the nail business Polish Me Pretty and is a rising nail technician – one of the youngest in her industry. She received her cosmetology license last year and is quickly gaining popularity.
“She literally eats, breathes and sleeps nails,” says Alexis Brightwell, 23, one of Louis’ regular clients. “It’s become her life; you can sense in the effort she puts in.”
She originally started doing nails at her home, but now has her own booth at 2019 Fort Campbell Blvd inside “Beyoutiful Studios.” She says what motivated her to do nails was to go from being a “kitchen beautician” to a professional.
Louis prides herself in caring for her clients more than your average nail tech.
“I’m a good time,” said Louis. “I give you an experience when you’re at the nail salon that you won’t forget.”
Her trendsetting nail designs are what bring in clients and keep them coming. She uses the technique of encapsulation to help make her nail designs different. She is able to put anything her clients can imagine into the nail, such as flowers, pictures and even money.
“Her creativity and her mindset is just outrageous, because she does stuff that looks like it’s from TV. It should be on TV.” said Krystal Myricks, 25, another of Louis’ clients.
It can be a tedious process. When she put an image of a client’s son in the nail design, it took two hours to complete.
“We had to soak the picture in water, peel it apart, shape it to the nail, shape it to the nail again, put it in the nail, cover it with acrylic, file it, shape it again, polish it, and finally decorate around it,” Louis said.
The client ended up with a beautiful full set of acrylic nails. One finger had the image of of her son surrounded by rhinestones to make it pop. Every other nail had its unique design like hearts, the initials of the client’s son, and a nail full of different-sized rhinestones. The most clients pay for a creative set like this ranges from $55-70 at her nail shop.
Creativity is key when it comes to nail art and designs, and Louis says being unique is what makes her the most satisfied.
“I am most proud of my creative control sets, where I can do anything and everything,” she said. It shows my creativity and how I can pull ideas out of nowhere.”
She has big dreams for her career and says she won’t stop until she gets there.
“I need to have my own shop. A full African-American shop that’s professional, and we are slaying hair, nails and eyebrows. All of that.”
Kyla Tillis is a multimedia journalism student at Middle Tennessee State University.
Studio M, a project of the College of Media and Entertainment at MTSU, allows student journalists to be published statewide and nationwide. It’s made possible through grants and donations from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Tennessean and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.