Nails by Sue has been a catch phrase around El Dorado Hills for more than 20 years. That’s when Sue McConnell began her business as a manicurist and pedicurist.
Living and working in El Dorado Hills, McConnell saw her clients at social, school and community events. “If my client doesn’t look good, I don’t look good,” she said. “This is my career. I take pride in my work.”
McConnell turned a childhood interest into a full-time occupation at the urging of her sister, Shelly Lange, who is a hairdresser. “I did everybody’s nails growing up,” she said. She became an official manicurist when she got her license at age 26. “Another reason I decided on this career is that I love to wear high heels, and since I’m not on my feet I can do it,” she added.
McConnell and Lange worked together in a salon in El Dorado Hills. McConnell bought it from Lange and owned the salon for five years, but as times changed she and her sister decided to move. Lange now serves her hair clients from her home. McConnell joined Reflection Salon & Spa in Folsom.
“I like the salon atmosphere. It’s more social,” she said. “This has been a dream come true. I didn’t lose any clients, and I think Village Life is partly responsible for that.”
Reflection Salon is full service. “My clients appreciate being greeted at the door by name,” she said.
There is a private manicure room and two private chairs for pedicures. “I like to do pedicures,” McConnell said. “I have a lot of men clients. The treatment is very relaxing.”
There are three manicurists, one aesthetician, nine hairdressers and two receptionists at Reflection Salon. “We all meshed in beautifully,” according to McConnell. “Our owner, Kathy Bennett, is looking for another experienced aesthetician and hairdresser.”
As a manicurist, McConnell was able to watch her clients’ families grow and change. And she was able to raise her three children and support their activities. Her daughters, Danni, 30, and Skylar, 21, worked in the salon. “Travis (28) swept the floor,” she said.
When the recession began, some of McConnell’s clients cut back on her services at first. “But having your nails manicured is more than just a beauty treatment,” she said. “It’s a relationship. I spend more time with my clients than I do with my friends.” Her clients stuck with her.
Being a professional manicurist, McConnell ensures her clients have beautiful, healthy nails. She is an expert with both acrylic and shellac nails. Acrylic nails have been popular for some time. They help conceal broken or damaged nails. The plastic forms glued onto the fingernails give a uniform long and strong set of nails.
Musicians who play stringed instruments may wear artificial nails to aid in tone production.
Acrylic nails can be decorated with a wide variety of colors and designs for different looks.
For people who want to maintain natural nails, shellac is the first polish that lasts two weeks, about the time it takes for nails to grow out. “There is no chipping, which is the problem with regular nail polish,” said McConnell. “It doesn’t damage the nails. The finish is a lovely shine. It is UV cured; so it is 100 percent dry when you leave.”
Shellac is the brand name for a product developed by Creative Nail Designs in California. It is a hybrid of nail polish and gel. McConnell was trained in its application by the company and is certified as a professional shellac nail manicurist.
McConnell said she uses top-of-the-line products. “They cost more, but they are more reliably safe. Some of the nail products are not labeled, and you have no idea what’s in them.”
Every six to eight months an inspector from the State Board of Cosmetology stops by to check on her business station, examining for cleanliness, sterilization of equipment and labeling. “My work area is hygienic and of my products are labeled,” she said. “The inspectors have always been pleased with my operation.”
McConnell works three 12-hour days a week: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, from 7:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., at Reflection Salon and Spa, 24996 Blue Ravine Road, near East Natoma Street. Contact her at (916) 276-6728 or [email protected].
“I have the best job in the world,” she said. “I want to thank the community for supporting me.”