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Jessica Ballou, Published February 05 2012

It's My Job: Cosmetologist helps people feel good about themselves

FARGO - Tracy Nephew never pictured cosmetology as a career for herself.

Now she’s been at Hair Success on North Broadway in Fargo for almost nine years.

Nephew went to school for nails at Rita’s in Moorhead, now called Ingenue Beauty School. She then underwent permanent makeup training in Arlington, Texas, and studied hair at the Salon Professionals Academy here.

Q: How did you first get into this field?

A: My sister is a cosmetologist, and she works here. She would mess with my hair and nails.

I never thought of it as a career for myself. I just worked different jobs after high school. Then I went to Rita’s in Moorhead about 10 or 11 years ago. I worked at Salon Excel after that for about seven months before coming to Hair Success.

What is your job title and what do you do?

I’m a nail tech, cosmetologist and a permanent makeup artist.

You get the variety and things like that. The more you know, the more you make.

What do you like most about your job?

I like making people feel good about themselves. That’s a huge bonus.

People don’t look forward to going to the dentist. You look forward to going to the spa; you look forward to getting your hair done.

We help people relax and escape, and I like to be a part of that.

What makes this salon stand out from others in the area?

The atmosphere, the escapism where you can get away ...

You can truly relax and immerse yourself, and that draws a lot of people to us.

How do you achieve that type of atmosphere?

There is a lot of training that helps us to maintain a five-star quality. We are constantly trying to figure out what we can do better for our guests.

It’s an environment where we try … to focus on people who walk through the door.

Can you tell me a little more about the permanent makeup?

Permanent makeup is a form of tattooing, and we can do eyeliner, eyebrows and lip color.

The average age … is around 40 to 60, but we also get people between 20 and 80.

Permanent makeup has the longevity of a tattoo.

(It can be for) people who have to pencil in their eyebrows daily. It’s a nice service for people who struggle with that. Or as you get older, the line of vision isn’t as good so it can be harder to see to put on makeup every day.

It’s a really neat service. I really enjoy that part of my job.

What’s your day-to-day like, or is it pretty varied with all the different services you offer?

A typical day is an atypical day. I could do all nails, or I could do one of everything. It’s all in the books. I look at the computer and see.

I don’t think of it as seeing clients. I think of it as “Who do I get to see today?”

A typical day is like catching up with friends. To be honest, it’s not even like coming to work. I hang out with friends, make new friends with clients.

Even if I do four pedicures in a row, it’s going to be something completely different because it’s a different person.

The majority of my clients are returned specifically to me or the salon in general.

We also get a percentage of new people coming in, too, which is great.

It’s kind of like one-stop shopping.

We’re here to take care of who walks in the door, not our egos.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jessica Ballou at (701) 237-7311

To submit an idea for “It’s My Job,” email businessnews@forumcomm.com.