Manicurist to the stars: Ai Shigeyama
Undoubtedly one of the most well-known names in the nail industry, Ai Shigeyama is not only responsible for spearheading the highly-coveted nail looks for a bevy of K-Pop stars, including Girls' Generation and Sistar, she also owns two salons in Tokyo and Seoul, as well as her own product line. In addition to offering bespoke nail designs, Ai is also sharing her nail expertise in a series of seminars and workshops held across Asia. Q: What does nail fashion mean to you? Ai Shigeyama: Basically, nail art is a privilege that women can enjoy. As doing nails is a passion and hobby of mine, it actually helps me to relieve stress and is also a source of happiness for me. In my personal opinion, having pretty nails is a form of self-image management.
Q: What was the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in this industry? How did that benefifit your career? A. S: Starting out my own product line was definitely one of the biggest challenges that I have faced in this industry so far. I had to research and develop the formulas, before submitting it to the relevant health authorities in Korea for further testing. It was a long and tedious process, but it was all worth it.
Q: As a highly sought- after celebrity manicurist, how does a typicalweek look like for you? A. S: My schedule is rather manageable, but I spend most of my time researching and experimenting with new nail art designs to come up with fresh trends.
Q: Has it always been your dreamto be a manicurist? If not, when did you get your creative calling and howdid you pursue it? A. S: Before I became a manicurist, I had really short, weak and brittle nails. Even with my hair done and being dressed to the nines, it didn't feel complete without a beautiful set of nails. So, I went to a nail salon to get my nails taken care of, but it was lacking the unique details that I was looking for. With no experience in doing nails, I decided to take up a course at a nail academy, thus starting my journey in the nail industry.
Q: Having successfully opened your ownnail spa, BUBWORLD, what is one piece of advice that you can give to existing and aspiring manicurists in the industry? A. S: Being a manicurist, you have to constantly look forward, and keep yourself updated with the latest trends, as well as overcome your challenges with consistent practice. It is also essential to be open to changes, in order to achieve success.
Q: What are the latest nail trends in Korea right now and what other trends do you foresee becoming popular in the upcomingAutumn/ Winter season? A. S: Just like fashion, nail art trends are constantly evolving. In this current summer season, pastel tones, seashell, and denim patterns are very popular among Korean women. Floral patterns, however, are in demand all year round, without fail. As for the upcoming Autumn/ Winter season, more women will prefer and opt for warmer, earthy tones, such as brown, purple, and orange.
Q: Being able towork with somany inflfl uential people, who is your greatest style icon and how has he/ she inflfl uenced yourwork? A. S: I don't have a particular style icon. The different personalities and styles of my clients serve as a versatile source of inspiration for my designs. Besides that, fashion runways are also a great way to collect inspiration for new creations.
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