Darlene Malone, better known as D. Malone on Instagram, decided to pursue a career as a nail technician after a post of her own nails prompted a Facebook friend to inquire about her services.
“The request got me to thinking about actually becoming a mobile nail artist,” she revealed in an e-mail exchange.
She discussed the idea with her best friend, who agree and she began researching schools to hone her craft. While she says, getting her license wasn’t hard, but more so “challenging” due to everything she had to learn.
“The biggest challenge was passing the state board exams. Whoa! That is one nerve wrecking experience. I still remember those 2 days like they were yesterday,” she said.
Building her clientele came easy. After all, she had been doing nails since she was 13 when she received her first acrylic set from her mother.
“I remember watching a Black nail technician do someone’s nails and I said to my mother ‘I want to do nails like that.’ My mom went out and bought me an acrylic set to practice with right after.”
By high school, she had a roster of clients thanks to skill and social media. It eventually led to her landing a job with Tekoa Hash. “By the grace of God, soon after I received my license, I was given an opportunity to do nails for a big magazine photoshoot by Teknique Agency Founder Tekoa Hash. Honestly, I was literally shaking in my boots! I could feel my body shaking as I was working. Then, I told myself I could do it and I did. That photo shoot definitely helped increase my clientele.”
Despite her passion for the nail business, D has faced challenges as a Black woman in the industry. “People are not used to seeing black women do nails let alone be good at it. It seems like we constantly have to compete and prove ourselves to be good and worth patronizing our businesses. There was a mold and we didn’t fit it but, we’re changing that narrative everyday. I am a Black woman and I can do nails well, I give good customer service and my prices are comparable to the worth of my work, time etc.”
But her faith kept her motivated to persist despite the odds Black women face in every professional field.
My faith is the biggest part of me, God is my source and the strength of my life. Without Him I am nothing. So, having my faith in Him has allowed me to see everything from His perspective instead of my own. It has literally kept me from losing my mind and falling apart when I felt things were/are unfair or when I felt invisible at one point. It’s my faith in God’s love and His plans for me that keeps going and looking forward to the days ahead.
With the boom of the coronavirus pandemic, D was forced to put down her emory board and ride out the isolation wave. “COVID19 stopped my ability to take clients or to go to them. It took away my ability to interact with my clients face to face. It helped me to enhance my nail art skills with the time I have to be creative and get more practice in. COVID19 has give me more time to get more organized and prepared for the day when I can take clients again.”
As parts of the world prepare to enter phase three of their reopening plans, nail salons are either up and running or preparing to unlock their doors. However, D advises women should be careful stepping foot back inside the shop to get that very missed pedicure.
“As a professional, I advice people to be very cautious heading back to get nail services done just yet. If they’re in a high risk state, then, I truly don’t recommend running out to get mani/pedis until it is deemed safe for sure. I know in some less affected states some salons are open and practicing safety. But, if the salon is sanitized and practicing proper sanitation and taking all of the mandated safety precautions then, by all means. There are other options to exercise instead of risking your health and that of those around you.”
And if you don’t feel comfortable visiting your favorite spa just yet, try her custom press-on nails.
“My custom press ons are a way to make each woman feeling as special and unique as they are. No set is alike and I love it that way. They range in shapes and lengths and I have a great time doing them because, I get to freestyle the art from my heart. I believe in bringing joy to my ladies as much as I can. Putting smiles on faces and hearts makes it all with it for me.”
D Malone is invested in making every woman feel safe while being pampered and offers an array of services. “From manicures to pedicures, gel manicure, to full sets with acrylic or gel, I also I offer nail art.”
Follow D Malone, here.