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I thought you might enjoy meeting the wonderful family behind the scenes of OC Nail Art and ocnailart.com. Here are some photos taken during my time spent watching them in action, and a tiny glimpse into their very interesting story.

I had the privilege of spending several hours with Kathleen, Emma and Anna at the Orange County Marketplace where OC Nail Art used to set up a booth during the Swap Meet.

(Definitely follow Kathleen’s Twitter feed here or text or call Kathleen at her contact number from her new website, to keep up with new product launches!)

*booth at marketplace

Now this is a family-owned and operated business, which had its beginnings while Kathleen and her husband, Daniel, were on vacation. She was approached by a vendor at a mall kiosk who impressed her with the ease of the Konad application.

When she wanted to purchase supplies, Kathleen found no retailers in Southern California. After she realized that they are based out of Orange County, she decided to become a vendor herself and the rest is Konad history. (OC Nail Art remains one of the select few Konad retailers, due to Konad’s desire to avoid market saturation, even online.)


Pre-Konad

Kathleen may look like the typical soccer Mom, but looks can be deceiving.  The longer I spoke with her, the more intrigued I was by this fascinating lady. First of all, she is from Winnipeg, Canada, which earned big points since I, too, am Canadian.

As she shared her passion for the Konad system, I noticed Kathleen had no adornment on her own nails. She brushed it off, mentioning her hands were always in wet gloves and usually covered in soot. Considering that no soccer Mom I know deals with soot in her gloves, I was curious about what she meant.

She explained that she is a firefighter, a Captain, in point of fact. She said she started out as an EMS in Canada, which translated to an EMT here, only in the States, the pre-requisites were different.

Once Kathleen had met the requirements for the EMT position, she figured she might as well become a firefighter, because the qualifications were similar.

One unfortunate soul told her she “couldn’t do it.”

She not only proved him wrong, once she became a firefighter, another naysayer said she “wouldn’t last long.” Neither of these men is around, 20 years later. She has not only outlasted them, she has outranked them as Captain of her station.

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*UPDATE*

Kathleen’s strike team was sent up to Santa Barbara, California, to help with the fires.

She had plane tickets to go to Winnipeg, Canada Friday to visit her Mom for Mother’s Day, so being sent up to Santa Barbara was not ideal, but she takes her job very seriously and hopes for the best.

You can see, Kathleen keeps up her sense of humor, even as she fights fire…Her current manicure, made with, in her words,

“I’m wearing M25 design in pearl blue with a “dirty French tip” (aka dirt & soot under nails), holding my portable radio, since I don’t have a polish bottle to hold.”

Photobucket

Here is an iPhone photo of Kathleen’s truck, E21, at the mission in Santa Barbara, California.

Photobucket

They were greeted by this ominous cloud of smoke when they got their assignment…

Kathleen smoke

Please keep Kathleen and her fellow firefighters in your thoughts and prayers.

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Allow me to introduce Kathleen, the amazing woman packing and shipping your Konad purchases to you.


*Kathleen & girls

Kathleen has three daughters. I was lucky enough to meet two of them.  Here, you see Anna, 6 years old, being pampered by Emma, 11 years old, above.

When things get slow, the girls do their own, and each others’ nails, which not only passes the time, but really demonstrates the ease with which the stamping can be done by the younger set.

While I was there, I observed one dad walked over and even allowed Emma to place a pink butterfly on his own nail so he could show his daughter. He was duly impressed that Emma did all this herself, and was excited to tell his family about it.

*Anna & Emma

As you approach the demonstration table, you are greeted by more than 40 image plate choices, a large special polish selection, and a friendly Konad technician named Emma.

*Emma doing her thing

Emma is a fearless pitchwoman, calling out to passersby and offering them an irresistible free nail art decoration. Many take her up on the offer.  The ones who do not, have no idea what a treat they are missing.  She remains friendly and upbeat, wishing everyone a nice day whether they respond in kind, or not.

She is the consummate professional and will have a white lab coat (embroidered with her name) to prove it for her next appearance at the fairgrounds.

*Emma works on males too

As you can see, it is not only the women who take her up on her complimentary demonstration. She is an “equal-opportunity Konad artist.” Emma gets to keep her tips and a portion of the sales she makes. Kathleen believes this is a valuable learning experience, not just a creative outlet.

*Anna

Anna is a willing participant and, from what I understand, is quite the Konad artist herself.

*image plates

For those of you who cannot visit the Swap Meet in person, here is exactly what you would find.  I just love how the image plates shimmer like so many little “sequins.” (They remind me of those hanging silver discs adorning the back of those old-school “Sparklett’s” water delivery trucks- truly spell-binding!)

Now, I must tell you, the week after I visited, their whole family went on a camping trip for a week. Since Kathleen is SO dedicated to you, her valued customer, she took her entire inventory along, just in case someone wanted to place an order.

She knows how it feels to have to wait for online orders and didn’t want to put anyone through any undue inconvenience, just because they happened to be on vacation! That’s what I call customer service.

*special polish

You may recognize the “special” polish hanging prettily, but the coral-colored boxes beneath house the “Princess” polish which hold more polish and have a much more shapely bottle with a longer stem, and a slightly flatter (a la OPI) brush.

To the right of the special polish hangs a new Nailart Pen by Konad– it is both a liner brush and a squeezable dotting tool all in one product! Simple and it works like a charm! This is currently available in white, pink and purple.

Upon closer inspection, one might be able to spot the special edition Coraline sets with unique blue, yellow and pink versions of the special polish.  (A bit of trivia: the bottles included in the larger of the two sets, which are still round, but have decorative scrollwork on the face are going to become the standard bottle for Konad polish.)


So now you know exactly who it is you are ordering from when you click that “submit order” button on ocnailart.com.  I hope you feel good about supporting both a small business with an unwavering dedication to customer service and a family that enjoys their Konad hobby even more than we do.

It was a fantastic, eye-opening visit with this incredible family and I have a newfound appreciation for what Kathleen does to make our purchases possible, as well as introduce the Konad nail stamping sensation to a whole new generation.

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One more thing…

(and I know Kathleen will kill me for even mentioning it)

A small, but important issue that I feel needs addressing is the free (domestic and international) shipping that Kathleen so generously offers.

While the shipping is free to you, gentle customer, please remember that this does not make it free for Kathleen.

The shipping to certain countries costs more than double the amount of the order placed.

Since she, too, has experienced the “continental shipping discrimination” while living in Canada, she chooses to extend the free offer to her international customers, despite the often high cost of doing so.

My plea to you, fellow addicts, is that if you plan to order, by all means do so, but consolidate it into one larger order, instead of multiple small orders, mistakenly justified by the complimentary shipping.  This way, Kathleen will be more likely to continue to offer such generous discounts in the future.

Everybody wins!

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10 Comments

  1. I am speechless as I read this eloquent post. You are far too kind. Emma, Anna and I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with you and we truly hope to see you again soon. Your photographs are great and our family is very appreciative of all the kind words you wrote.

    Best of luck to you and keep up the good work. I love your blog and Emma and I are going to sit down and read through your French 101 post together – she wants to get better at doing French Tips. That’s my girl!

    Thanks again. Maybe “speechless” wasn’t a good descriptor after all. :) I’m awed!

  2. What an awesome post! I really enjoyed reading it. Those ladies are all gorgeous. Looks like you had a really good time too :)

  3. Great, wonderful, super post! I’m so glad you did this! Man, I wish I could go to that swap meet, but your pictures at least give me an idea of it. Great job, really fantastic. Kathleen has got to be one of the most kind, giving people I have ever come across.

    I am going to do a post directing people over here to see your great “interview” and pictures. :)

  4. Oh, I love this story and the pictures! <3

  5. kathleen is a pleasure to deal with! contacted me quickly when two plates i ordered were on backorder and sent the rest of the order right away. i really appreciated the great communication, that made me go back and place another order barely two weeks later.

    wish i still lived in costa mesa and could come stamp with the girls at the fairgrounds, maybe one day when i’m back for a visit :)

  6. Wow, what a wonderful and super informative post! It’s very well written and I love the pictures of the kids (little nail addicts)! The fact that Kathleen is a fire fighter is very cool and I’ll keep her in my prayers since she is in Santa Barbara. Ah, I really want to buy a Konad system now… maybe after finals as a reward? haha

    • An iPhone is a handy tool to have on a strike team assignment! Thanks to all of you for the kind thoughts & prayers. I will be safe! Thank you WixBetty for keeping everyone updated! Kathleen

  7. What an awesome article…thanks for posting this!!!

  8. {{Monica}} Thank you so much for this amazing post. I will keep Kathleen and her family in my thoughts and prayers; What a wonderful lady she is and what a fascinating story she has, you told it so well ♥ Thank you so much for sharing it and letting us in on a day in her life. Truly fascinating. My heart and prayers go out to those affected by this, and a huge thank you to Kathleen, for what she does as a firefighter (and for our nails):)

    Jennifer (graciebaby28 on MUA)

  9. Hey girl, sorry to have to leave this in the comment section, but I couldn’t find an email for you.

    I was responding to you about the Orly Satin Hues. I am interested. Can you email me at brookiebaby0506@yahoo.com.

    Thanks! Brooke from Getcha Nails Did


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