// One of the top “Man”-icurists in the world, Tom Bachik is also one of the most sought after nail professionals in the fashion industry and among celebrity elite. With a List of Celebrities one could only dream about including Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Zooey Deschanel, Victoria Beckham, Anne Hathawy, Heidi Klum, and Jessica Simpson to name a few.
Tom was the first Nail Artist to have a contract with Chanel, winner of the most prestigious industry titles including WINBA World Championship, NAILS Magazines #1 ranked competitor, and over 300 other competition titles. He has personally overseen the introduction of nearly a dozen revolutionary nail products - now used worldwide. Tom currently travels the world as the first ever ‘Global Nail Designer’ and celebrity manicurist for L’Oreal Paris.
Everyone starts from a different background but as you're about to read Tom's couldn't be more of a contrast to where he is now.
Married and three children Tom exudes an innovative spirit and even through a crackly phone line you can't help but warm to his charming personality.
Here's part of our (errr 40 minute) chat...
How did you get your start in the industry?
Well, it was one of those twist of fate things. I studied graphic design and I got into airbrushing and the plan was to open a shop airbrushing helmets, jet-skis and boards with my brother who had got a sponsor on board. We thought "amazing!" we can race jet-skis and customise helmets all day! Then, my wife found out she was pregnant. I thought wow, ok, time to grow up I cant rely on painting a few helmets per season.
In the states, the early 90's was a crazy time. We had a new President and there was talk of recession. It was a Thursday night and my cousin was having dinner with us and at the time studying hairdressing at beauty school. He mentioned in times of recession the beauty trade is one industry that thrives. Which I reply "I don't have the time to learn hair and makeup, I've got months!" Which he then told me "not makeup, you need to get into nails."
It was light bulb moment, nail art was popular at the time and it got me thinking...
It was such a moment, from one simple statement from my cousin "change your canvas, instead of airbrushing helmets - do it on nails!"
That was 23 years ago.
Do you have a signature look or style that you are known for?
For the last 5 years I've been working with J-Lo, so I would say beautiful clean line, long almond shapes. At the moment her look is definitely more natural.
What was one of your biggest career challenges and how did you overcome it?
While I was studying I had a plan to work in a salon then I saw this ad for a nail competition. I found out that a lot of these people who'd won these competitions then got backing to start their own product line. So then I was like right who are the top artists and how do I learn from them ect.
There was a lot of politics around the circuit in terms of the new kids on the block and hierarchy however, I was raised different to be the best at something your need to find out who is the best at it and do what they do. Imitate what they are doing and put your own style to it and to make it better.
The biggest challenge for me was not to worry about the competitors, I realised it doesn't matter what they did it matters that I do better than what I did last time and my next competition needs to be better. By the time I was in my first year after getting my licence I was not only winning competitions. I Won the world championship.
Must have tool or products for your kit?
Def my colours, I need the ability to custom mix.
I have a duffel bag full of glitter and rhinestones as you never know when they are needed and best to have on hand. The biggest things I tell my clients is make sure everything is hydrated. The cuticles, the nails, the hands. People don't realise nail polish drys your nails out. So, it is so important to look after the integrity of the nail.
Who are the role models who have inspired you?
Back when I was in the pro market. Tom Holcomb and Kate Lee. they had designed their own line of products at the time. When I was a session tech there wasn't big names in the industry but more recently with social media there is more awareness of artists and their work. Kimmie Kyees does amazing work, I like Nail Swag and Britney Tokyo (cute pop art designs not my style but I appreciate what they bring to the industry).
When working with a celebrity how much creative input do you have?
Its mutual, depending on their mood it could be "do whatever you want" or "I'm thinking blue". Then its is working out what shades of blue, modern, vintage ect which is where I can custom mix colours .
If we are shooting a music video or something like it's definitely a collaboration of talent, stylist ect.
What's the next big trend you're starting to see sneak in?
Right now it's classic, simplistic and more natural looking nails. Clean lines shorter nails natural shape. Almond shape nails. Nails are the ultimate accessory for fashion.
Again with nail art it's strong clean lines with graphic prints and tone-on-tone colour, rectangle on the tip of each nail. Architectural.
What do you do when the brushes are down?
My garage is filled with surf boards, snowboards ect my kids are older and we love to play around but honestly I'm a total car guy. I love to play around with my car.
I had a Volkswagon and now I have a Lotus Evora and I'm always working on it. I love to tear apart the engine and work on the panels. After polishing nails all day I need to come and tear my car apart.