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Dog-walker Nancy has business world nailed

Nancy Bergeron went back to school to learn new trade after years of nail salon disappointments

She’s only been in the business for less than nine months, but already she’s making the podium in her newfound trade’s top competitions.

Richmond's Nancy Bergeron got so fed up leaving beauty salons with at best “mediocre” nail jobs that she decided to take the file by the horns, so to speak, and indulge her creative passion for nail art.

Last June, Bergeron, even though she was in her mid 40s, went “back to school” and completed a six-month course to get certified as a nail technician and, not long afterwards, started up her own business, Nailz by Nancy.

And a few weeks ago, Bergeron — who juggles the new nail venture with a successful dog-walking business, Richmond Dog Walking — got the surprise of her life when she placed in two novice categories at the 2015 Canadian Nail Cup in Vancouver.

“(The Nail Cup) was my first ever competition and I was there just to get experience and have fun,” said Bergeron, who lives in the Blundell and Gilbert roads area and runs her nail business from a salon in Main Street, Vancouver.

“When the placings were announced, I was completely stunned.

“Before getting certified last June, I couldn’t even put nail polish on properly.”

Bergeron said she felt compelled to get into the business after years of taking photos of elaborate nail jobs into salons.

“If I wanted something done with my nails, I’d take in a photo to show them, but I always left disappointed,” she said.

“I slowly started to understand that most people working in nail salons are not certified nail technicians. That’s a big problem, I think.

“I thought about getting into the business, but I was discouraged by many people in the trade; they were telling me there was no money in it.”

Bergeron, however, refused to believe that; instead drawing the conclusion there was perhaps no money in nails because the service was average.

“At 45 years old, I decided I needed to do something different,” recalled Bergeron.

“My daughter was in hair design school and when I happened to be in one of her classrooms, I noticed that there were lots of people in their 40s and realized that I wasn’t too old at all.”

Despite running two businesses — Bergeron said the dog walking only takes up 15 to 20 hours of her working week — she’s now eyeing up the nail competition on the bigger stage.

“I’m going to Las Vegas in June for one of the biggest competitions in North America,” she said.

“The way I see it, it’s all experience and education and I’m still building up my clientele, so the more I’m out there learning, the better.

“I can’t believe how far I have come in such a short amount of time. This proves, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.”

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