You never know when your "one moment" will be. That moment when a door of opportunity for your life and career opens in ways you could have never planned or imagined. Sometimes that moment comes right when you're about to give up. For celebrity manicurist Seanette, Nettie Davis, that moment came after a last-minute decision to not give up on her hustle.
Nettie had been working in a Santa Monica salon, barely getting by and struggling to convince clients to pay for a luxury nail experience although they were spending hundreds to get their hair done. However, one of the women she successfully pitched to turned out to be the mother of an agent at The Wall Group - a powerhouse for creative talent in the entertainment industry. She raved to her daughter about Nettie's work. A month later, Nettie received the call -- the door-opener. She would eventually sign with The Wall Group, initiating the start of a thriving career as a nail artist in the bustling Hollywood entertainment industry.
For the past ten years, Nettie has been on-call, catering to a bevy of celeb clients including Tessa Thompson, Kiki Layne, Halle Berry, Gabrielle Union, Letitia Wright, Issa Rae, Janelle Monae, among others.
Passionate yet humble, Nettie will quickly tell you that she's blessed to "have a job that doesn't feel like work." Though her days are sometimes hectic and unpredictable, it's what keeps her energized. Couple that with her ability to draw from creative inspirations and craft visually stunning nail art, she's quietly cemented a name for herself in a world that isn't always easy to navigate. In 2018, she launched Pottle, a one-of-a-kind container. The cleverly named Pottle, which Nettie describes as a "mix between a pot and a bottle" is geared to beauty professionals who need a reliable way to mix and store ingredients on the go.
Nettie spoke to xoNecole about her career evolution, tips for others interested in the industry, lessons learned as a product entrepreneur, what inspires her about her work and more.
What was your journey into the nail industry like?
Courtesy of Nettie Nails
I've been doing nails since I was twelve. When I moved out to Los Angeles from Houston, I wanted to be a costume designer. I did that for a while, but I was 100 pounds overweight, so it was a pretty hard job. When I got injured during pilot season on my third year, my mom told me to use my nail license that I had in California and start doing nails again. I didn't think it was a lucrative career decision. While I was on bedrest, I met some girls like Rihanna's manicurist, who were doing home spa parties. They started telling me how amazing their paychecks were doing nails for the industry. I called my friends who worked on set and told them I might be venturing into something different and if they needed a nail person for film to call me. They told me they'd keep their ear to the ground. It didn't pan out as fast as I wanted to. I started working in a salon, doing home spas and making body scrubs.
How were you marketing your brand in the early days?
I didn't even know what the [celebrity world] was. I was still hung up on, "When am I going to get back to my fashion career?" I let it take me where it took me since God really did open this door and I had asked Him to open this door. So, I walked through it. The Wall Group started calling me for all of these magazines and commercials. It [evolved into] call Nette Davis, the celebrity manicurist, instead of "call that girl to come to my house." When Instagram came out, I asked if I had to do this. Everyone was like, yes. I kept my website up-to-date but other than that, I was running around doing nails. It wasn't like, 'Oh, I'm going to brand myself.'
"I let it take me where it took me since God really did open this door and I had asked Him to open this door. So, I walked through it."
I was feeling a little stagnant in the celebrity world. You don't get to have fun unless you're working with a musical artist. Actresses, because they do so many jobs and have so many different shoots and opportunities, usually want nude, short nails. The trend of nail art was coming and I wasn't staying afloat and relevant. I really wanted to do that. To [practice and differentiate myself], I started doing nails for my friends. [Nail art] is slowly being filtered into mainstream media now. But, back in the day, it wasn't. When I do Sephora ads now, they always want nail art. That wasn't heard of seven years ago.
What are the key things you need to know in order to make it as a professional celebrity nail artist?
Know yourself and what it takes to get through a certain job. Know your strengths, weaknesses, and temperament. That is something that is going to be magnified when you start working with celebrities. I'm not a patient person but I know I have to channel my inner mom when I work with certain needy people in the industry. It's not always so cut and dry. Be excited and willing to have fun with everything -- even with the crazy mistakes. Practice makes perfect.
How do you navigate getting the most out of working with an agency?
If an agency has more than one manicurist, you're not number one. You're "one of." You have to be your own number one. Agent or no agent, you have to get out there and grind. Keep good relationships with people on set. You're still making a name for yourself. It should be your job to outshine the agency. If you're doing your job right, when [a client] calls, they are asking for you.
What inspired you to launch Pottle?
Halle Berry was doing a show called Extant. They wrote this storyline into the show where she didn't know she was an alien and her nails would grow every time she would grow. After that show, she kept asking what was a better alternative than acrylic. I said gel might be better. For my kit, it's always best to have bottles than pots because pots always leak and I need things to stay upright in my kit. Because she has an active lifestyle, I probably spent over $500 buying new gel products because certain formulas didn't work. I finally found some Russian gel that I loved because it was a pot, but it wasn't going to be all over my kit. I wanted to put it in a bottle and keep it moving but I couldn't do that easily. It was a very slow and strenuous process.
What came next?
I started getting ideas. I played around with the idea, put it on paper and drew it out. I got a provisional patent just to see if I really wanted to do it. I taught myself computer-aided design and sent those files to the right manufacturer. I made my own prototype on my 3D printer. I got molds made. I started using what I made myself and saw that it really worked. I thought, "If I have this problem, other people have this problem."
What was the hardest part about getting Pottle from idea to final product?
You'll never get someone else to that place where they are respecting your product and the manufacturing of your product the way you do. I talk to manufacturers in China every morning [about my product.] We go back and forth. If you want me to come back to your factory, you need to respect your own work. You send me samples and they look great. When I receive the product, they should look like the sample. Product managers, which hopefully I'll be able to afford soon, are important. You need one person to stay on top of your manufacturing.
It's a lot of time and time is money. Sometimes I get jobs in the middle of the day and haven't slept. I try to keep myself hydrated. The hardest part is trying to stay balanced.
How do you think Pottle will affect the nail industry?
It's really going to afford people a lot of freedom. I'm not just selling to manicurists. I'm selling to anyone who wants to mix any type of beauty material inside. It could be makeup or glue...whatever it is, I want you to be able to do that with the Pottle. It's a great product because you're reusing it until it falls apart. Hopefully this will be a game-changer and cause companies to make things in bulk containers instead of small bottles.
If someone is launching a nail business, what’s something to keep in mind?
Courtesy of Nettie Nails
Being versatile is very important. I've talked to people who I've tried to pull out of shops. With the explosion of entrepreneurship, people are traveling more and finding other ways to do things. You're going to have to travel. People are lazier and also have more money. If you do set up a shop, make sure you have a mobile division or flexible private nail techs available. You may also need a side hustle, such as having classes. Nurture younger people who may be taking your spot in twenty years.
What’s next for you and Pottle?
I'm forty years old. I don't see myself in ten years hauling around my kit. I need to be making plans to leave the industry, so Pottle is my exit strategy. It's not on the market so I have to be my own competition.
The Pottle re-design will be launched at the Pasadena NailPro show on May 5, 2019. The first was a concept and limited edition. Now it's time to dive into the added functionalities. I want to spread it across different lines, not just nails, but makeup or whatever you want to do with it in your beauty room.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the parts that don't deal with money, fame, or success. I love the parts that deal with the soul. There have been plenty of times where I've had to stop what I'm doing to pray with someone, hold them, or take them somewhere after a job. I enjoy those things where you feel like you're really needed and have something to do on this earth that has nothing to do with money or getting something from someone.
To learn more about Nette Davis, follow her on Instagram (@nettenailsit and @thepottle) or visit www.pottle.co.
Featured image courtesy of Nette Davis
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Rana Campbell is a Princeton University graduate, storyteller, content marketing strategist, and the founder and host of Dreams In Drive - a weekly podcast that teaches you how to take your dreams from PARK to DRIVE. She loves teaching others how to use their life stories to inspire action within oneself and others. Connect with her on Instagram @rainshineluv or @dreamsindrive.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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Featured image by FOTOGRAFIA, INC./Getty Images