Vine, Snapchat, and Instagram have helped launch the careers of Influencers known for their humor, photographic eye and style. But these platforms aren’t the only stages where digital Influencers get their start. Digital Influencers span every vertical and interest, across multiple social platforms and thrive wherever people turn for inspiration – like a well-kept nail bed.
Sarah Waite of Chalkboard Nails is a leading Influencer in nail art with a strong following across her blog, Instagram and Twitter. Launched in 2011, Chalkboard Nails is a hub for Sarah’s passion, and a place where fans and followers of Sarah regularly turn for fun and trendy nail art design ideas, and step-by-step tutorials and videos. Many leading brands have turned to Sarah for her creative expertise, and she most recently partnered with 360i client, Oxygen, for the the premiere of their new nail art competition series, “Nail’d It!”
We caught up with Sarah as part of 360i’s “Influencer Spotlight Series” to chat about nail art, what inspires her, and balancing a full time job and her passion for all things nail art.
360i: How did you begin your blog?
SW: My blog started when I saw a cute leopard print nail art tutorial on the website Hello Giggles. Up until that point, I never really wore anything on my nails and had never done any nail art, but something about that tutorial just really captivated me. So I headed to Walgreens and grabbed all the supplies I needed to try it.
I posted the result on Tumblr, and the rest is history. I kept trying out new designs, learning new techniques and experimenting. I never really expected my blog to grow the way that it has, but I’ve loved everything it’s given me over the years.
360i: What spurred your passion for all things nail art?
SW: Nail art has always been a fun challenge. I love creating and thinking outside the box. Nail art dares you to be unique, be original and think big – but on a small, fairly restrictive canvas. I love that juxtaposition.
SW: I always get great responses to pop culture and fandom nail art designs. I’ve done Mythbusters, Frozen, Lord of the Rings, Adventure Time, Star Wars, and 1984 nail art designs, just to name a few. It’s fun to combine nail art with some of my other interests, and I think people love to see their favorite shows, movies, and books represented on nails.
My readers also enjoy nail art with bright colors, which is great because that’s the kind of nail art that I like to make! The majority of my work isn’t always “office-appropriate” – I like big, bold statements.
360i: How do you balance your career and being a digital Influencer? Do you have any tips for aspiring Influencers?
SW: Be prepared to do whatever you have to do to make it work. It is definitely challenging trying to balance a full time job with blogging; I’ve done it for the past three years. At times, I’ve stayed up until 4AM doing work that I had a deadline for the next day. But nail art is my passion, and I knew that this was what I had to do to make it work.
360i: You have a substantial following on Instagram, which makes sense as nail art is so visual, but what are some of your other favorite social platforms or apps?
SW: I’ve really been getting into Reddit lately. Like Instagram, it has a huge visual aspect to it, so I think it’s well suited for my work. The direct question and response format of their commenting system has been great for feedback, too. The subreddit for nails on Reddit is /r/redditlaqueristas – lacquer with no “C.” They say, “The ‘C’ was sold to pay for polish.”
360i: Are there any Influencers you look to for inspiration or just admire – whether it’s the content they create or how they’ve built their careers?
SW: In the nail art realm, I admire the talent of Chelsea Queen, The Illustrated Nail, and Nails Y’all, just to name a few. In terms of hustle and building their career, I really look up to Leslie at Work/Play/Polish. She’s involved in so many different facets of nails, and is always looking ahead for the “next big thing.”
360i: Of all the nail tutorials you’ve done, what is your absolute favorite one?
SW: I’d have to say my “precious gems” tutorial. The finished look is very “me,” with the bright colors, bold lines and “cartoon-y” style.