Hi, my name is Alex Fox and this edition of Life On The Free Edge is going to be a little bit different because I'm sitting here alone. But I wanted to create this particular edition because it's a little bit different and I wanted to talk about something that's very special to my heart and something I'm involved in that I feel is making quite a monumental footprint in the nail industry. Particularly in the UK, but it's moving out further and making quite a difference to people's lives. So, it's called the Nail Safari. Not sure if you've heard about it, but it's an event that's now been hosted three times. We had the bat team... I can't remember exactly what we were called in the first year, which was November 2019, but we were the bat team hosting Nail Safari. Then, in the second year we did, which was held in 2021, we were called Nail Safari, The Beast and Brush. And then we have just recently held the third edition, which was Nail Safari, Paw and Claw, as you can see on my bag. So what I found that I really wanted to share with you is that there was an extraordinary occurrence on the third edition, which was that somebody flew all the way from Australia to take part in this week long event of nail education, and two people came over from the Netherlands. In previous years, we've had people from the Netherlands and Italy. So this is spawning some interest around the nail industry, rather than being something quite local, which was the original plan that myself and the other co-founders thought would be the case. So let's do a little bit of backtrack. How did the Nail Safari happen? Well, basically I had this 50th birthday in Cambridge and sitting at the table were Marian Newman BEM, Jennie Nippard, Hazel Dixon, and her sister Wendy Old, with Kay Dodd. And sitting having a chat, they were talking about... "Ugh, why is it America has all the nail cruises and the nail camps and all the cool stuff for nail techs?" And we were thinking, wouldn't it be nice if we could do something cool that would involve bringing together nail techs in a beautiful environment, lots of education, but with a fun flavor and full immersion in nails. So we wanted to create something powerfully different and absolutely about stretching the nail industry, bringing education to the table, and getting people motivated and excited. That was the important part. So we thought about why don't we do the Norfolk Broads. Let's put everybody on a long boat, sail them around Norfolk, and see how it goes. We realized we could probably only get five nail techs on the actual boat. So we gave up on that idea and as I approached the table where they were discussing this, they told me their idea and I said, "Well my family's got a zoo. Should we do it on a zoo and call it Nail Safari?" Boom, that's how it happened. So that was in 2018 in November and then it took us a year to create the first one. So probably should give you a little bit of background to how I ended up with a family zoo in my life, which is a rather special thing to have. Many years ago in 1978, I was 10 years old when my father bought a piece of land just outside Cambridge and decided he would build his dream home. And then, while he built his dream home, he wanted to do his dream job, which was to sell pond and aquarium fish. And so he set up a fish farm, as it was then called, which was my first ever job. At 13 years old, selling pond fish and aquarium fish. I knew everything about how to set those things up back then. As time evolved, my stepmother who was very much in love with animals, she decided that she would care for animals that had either been hit on the roadside or people could no longer care for or a hedgehog found in a garden that needed love and affection and hand rearing. And so we started having this... menagerie started growing around us. And I'm not joking, I've grown up with baby raccoons in the back bedroom, a baby fox in the living room, an emu living in our kitchen, and a honey bear living upstairs between our bedrooms. And so I've got all sorts of stories. I've chased wallabies around the village and capybara. All sorts of things over the years, but basically as time evolved, my father had to then make many enclosures to keep the animals, corral the animals, and care for them. At the time, he also had livery stables so we were set up for quite a bit of animal care anyway. And as time went on, there was a zoo in England called Kilverstone that closed and suddenly we found ourselves with a host of capybara and guanaco that needed a home and we had the land so along came the capybara and guanaco to live with us. And this is how it happened. We just evolved and evolved and evolved. So there's a movie out there called We Bought a Zoo, we made a zoo. That's kind of how it happened. And when we gave two tigers retirement from Paradise Wildlife Park, we gave them their retirement home, that's when we took zoo status because we had dangerous animals. And suddenly we became a zoo. So as time went on, people used to come and buy their fish and then say, "Could I please walk around and look at your animals?" And one day my dad said, "You know what, I'm going to charge him a quid. Walking around here, looking at my animals, and these animals are getting expensive to look after." And so he started charging a nominal fee and that's... you know, the rest is history. That's how it came about. And so I've worked on the zoo most of my life until I found my career. We all grew up working on the zoo, my brothers and sisters, of which there's quite a few of us, and my dad still lives on the zoo. So that was just to give you a little bit of background. So I wanted to share this particularly with anybody who's watching because it started out as an idea for education and giving nail professionals somewhere special to go to enjoy full immersion of nails and to find people, like-minded people, because we know how important that is. And there's nothing more important than being motivated and finding yourself in a place where people are feeding your thirst and inspiring you to get more thirsty and stretch yourself. And what we found, which has been really enlightening, was that it brought so much more to the table. And so we've created this event that's, as I said, it's basically hosted on a zoo outside Cambridge where there's already an education center on on the property. And so for a week in November, we take it over and inside there, we set up the nail stations and we can have all the space we need. We have a kitchen, we create lunches, we have a tea and coffee refreshment room. So we have this wonderful education center and we turn it into a massive nail salon or nail academy, should I say, for five days. And then we also... and actually we're on a zoo, an inspiring place, but what the zoo brings to the table is this unique flavor that you won't get anywhere else. And that is, every morning you arrive and you walk through a zoo and you get to be waved at, but actually you can get a high five from a red panda, believe it or not, they've been trained to do that. Which to do, by the way, they have to be trained so that when the vets come, they perform and the vets can do what they need to do to them to check on them for their health checks, but our pandas do do a high five. And so you get to walk through the zoo and you get to see beautiful animals as they're waking up, you get to go into a state of well-being before you've even sat down to learn about nails. We put everybody in teams. We found that quite a few people come to Nail Safari who don't know anybody, very brave. I think it's quite incredible the amount of people that will sign up for a week-long education event and not know a soul. But I can promise you, that having run three of them, there is no way you don't leave with another 26 friends that are almost lifelong friends, certainly a handful of them are. Hi, my name is Alice. I'm a nail technician in London and I wish to share a couple of words about my experience in Nail Safari. So, Nail Safari for me was my first course in UK since I arrived so I was quite scared, honestly, because obviously I didn't know nobody. So I was a little bit scared to feel alone. And again, I didn't know how it was working so I was a little bit scared. But as soon as I arrived, all the organizers and all the girls were so kind, so nice, was just super excited. And I can say nothing else than it was amazing. I mean, you know, the place was great. The location was amazing. You know, you have lunch in the middle of the nature, in the middle of the animals, and it's such a great experience for me. And on top of that, I met a lot of other technicians and all of them were so kind and so there was this mood of sharing, as properly a goal of the course and that for me was just great. I had the chance to be there for only two days, unfortunately, but in those two days for me, were just amazing. The techniques that I learned during the course, I went for two days, the day of Mino Vo and the day of Olena Oezman, and both days I learned so many skills and I understood a lot of things that were not so clear for me. And what else can I say? It was just perfect and I can't wait until next year. And so there's this fantastic camaraderie that starts immediately. And we bring this together by creating, on the Monday morning when the nail techs arrive, we've put them into teams, we've color coded them, and we've put them into teams and they're always animal themed teams. And we start the day with a Q&A session. One of Marian Newman's specific expert qualities is that she does myths. Myths in the Science World, anything to do with product science or to do with the body, anatomy, and physiology. Hi, I'm Marian Newman, and I'm here to talk to you about Nail Safari Paw and Claw 2023. So I'm one of the Educators that would be there to welcome you on this next Nail Safari adventure that we all have. And last year, I was still recovering from a stroke, but this year I'm firing on all cylinders. So I will be there to do some science stuff with you. Now, the science stuff that I do is very interactive, but you don't get tested on it. I just talk to you basically, and it seems to be quite a popular little section that we do most days, that is all about science. And amazing... I try quite hard to keep it non-sciency because it's not everybody loves science as much as I do, but recently I've had so many people that have asked me to go deeper into science. So I can go as deep into the science stuff as you like, but I won't make you do it and you're not going to get tested on it. So I will go as deep into the science as you need, but that will only come from questions from you. And I will go as deep as you want me to go. So I'm going to be there at the 2023 Nail Safari at Shepherd's Wildlife Park and we all can't wait to see you there because we have such fun. Such fun. And people make friends for life. It's all about fun and learning. It's not about testing or about making it difficult for you. You will just have a ball, so join us on Nail Safari Paw and Claw 2023, and I really really look forward to seeing you there. And so that's what we call our Icebreaker. So everybody meets in the morning for coffee and tea and then we do an icebreaker. And then we jump straight into education and we either offer a three-hour class, then lunch, then another three hour class with a different educator. Or we do a full day with the likes of, this year it was Elena Usman, the global and European Champion for Nailympia. She came into today's education and the likes of Mino Vo, because when you're going to do an extreme shape, a three-hour class is not going to get you much past the nail bed to be fair. So it takes all day to make an extreme nail. And then the rangers, we call them nail rangers, will go home and decorate that extreme nail shape that they've spent the day creating. Something I should probably point out, now that's rather lovely, is we have a closed special group on Facebook that the rangers are put into when they sign up and register for Nail Safari. And inside of there, we give them ideas for accommodation and, on a few occasions, nail rangers have jumped into the airbnbs and all lived side by side as a community for the whole week. So they've got their teams all day long and everything that's going on at Safari, and then they go back to the airbnbs, they do their homework tasks, they cook, they spend time together, and they end up creating a new family. So the specific things that make Nail Safari different to any other education that a nail professional may go down or sign up to, is that, because it is on a zoo, we then utilize the zoo for inspiration. And five-day package rangers will get to go and have a hands-on experience with an animal and that can be any... we have a certain amount of animals at the zoo that are able to have human contact and so we give special animal experiences, which is a very precious part of the week. And we also do what we call a treasure hunt and that's where we go and put ribbons around the zoo. And then we ask the teams to go out and find their colored ribbons, come back, and the winning team gets something that they have to wear or use for the runway, which is something we do on the last day, which is our which is our goodbye celebration of the week. We create a runway where all the nail rangers will walk through and show us their fancy nail work that they've learned for the week. And so we do lots of things. We believe, as the team behind it, we believe that nail education is essential. It is essential for a nail professional to be upgrading their skills. And with Nail Safari it doesn't matter if you're an educator, of which we've had many sign up, or you're very new. We've also had newbies because everybody collaborates, everybody works together. And and whether you've been an educator for 15 years or two years or you're new, there will be some nuggets that are offered in these classes where you think, "Darn it. I didn't know I could do it that way." And so we've... light bulb moments we call them, obviously, and there will be many more light bulb moments for anybody that signs up for this event. And so for us, the important thing is that education is essential, but it doesn't have to be boring and it doesn't have to be sending you to sleep, but it has to be exciting, fun-filled, and full of adventure because then the learning happens and you don't even realize you're doing it. And so each team is given a team leader. There's a lot of high energy. There's a lot of support. There's a lot of fun. We play loud music, we dance around a little bit, and we just be quite free and easy, not while the education's happening, because that would be kind of crazy. But we do create an atmosphere where people just feel, this is this is not too scary. This is not a place where I feel I'm on a platform or everyone's looking at me. No, this is like being at home and being around lots of people you like, learning together, growing together, and literally having a laugh. And we do things, really important things, like we have little tasks and we have our team leaders watching. We give out paw prints all week. So the paw prints will be if we see somebody sharing a nail file or sharing a top coat or going over and helping somebody that can't fit their form correctly, anything like that gets you a paw print. And then the winning team get a gift at the end of the event. And we also have a prize for a team player. We have a prize for a winner of winners, the person that accrued the most points through the original arrival task and challenge or homework each day there after the educators. So we fill in all the gaps. We try and make the education as eclectic and different and diverse as possible so that as many skills can be learned. We give enough time at lunch time that rangers can wander off around the zoo and be part of that vibe and just let go. And something we tried this year that was really astounding, that the result was astounding, was we decided to have what we called, The Circle of Love. And so we put, one morning, it was Thursday morning, because the rangers had already been with us for three days, we set everybody in a circle and we asked them to... played a game with them, you know, which team leader worked in New Yorkers as Nanny many years ago, which worked in the French Alps as a chalet cleaner, you know, to break the ice. And then we invited the rangers to stand up and tell us, number one: how did you hear about Safari? Number two: why are you at Nail Safari? And number three: how do you think Nail Safari is going to benefit you and your business in the future? Well, it became incredibly emotional very very quickly. People were standing up and saying, I'm here because I've been lonely. I'm here because I work in a salon on my own. "I'm here because I've lost the motivation for nails and I want to find something to hold on to." I'm here because I needed a break. "I'm here because I needed just to get away." "I'm here because I needed like-minded people." That was the beginning and then it moved into, I have now got close friends, I have been motivated, I can't wait to get back to my nail desk and do nails again. I had no confidence, now I see what's inside me. I feel my worth. It was what Nail Safari does for confidence because we're all aware that, in our industry, there's a few issues. First of all, many nail techs suffer with anxiety and a lack of confidence and need some support. And then on the other side, we've got a lot of trolls in this industry and a lot of keyboard warriors and all sorts of things going on behind the scenes because people think it's okay to comment on other people's profiles and a lot of the comments are unkind. And I think people need to start registering that you can really hurt someone with a simple comment because you think that your view is important. If it's not nice, don't say it. It's that simple. And we found so many people were saying that trolling in the industry was making them want to leave. What has really upset me, in recent times, is the amount of nail professionals that are leaving the industry because they're being trolled and because they're being made to feel not good enough because they're comparing themselves. Nail Safari is a safe and loving place. There is no trolling. There is no bullying. It's about uplifting. It's about raising confidence. It's about taking your skills and elevating them. It's about making it fun, making you laugh, making you feel the joy of nails because you're inside a circle where everybody is loving nails. And I think we can all say that in our worlds, in our respective worlds at home, there's always someone that laughs at... well take me for example, there are people in my life that laugh at me because I love nails so much. Because to the outside world, it doesn't necessarily make sense that we wake up, we look at nails, we look at nails all day long. We talk nails, we do nails, and then before we go to bed, we check some more nails. That's what we do. But when you're at Nail Safari, that's what everybody's doing. We're looking, talking, speaking, living, loving, breathing nails. It's eat, nails, repeat. Eat, nails, repeat. So basically, I just wanted to share the idea that Nail Safari, I think it's one of the coolest, grandest, and most unique education events available to nail professionals. I absolutely know that anybody that wants to sign up for it will take something very important home. If not, lots. It's like a goodie bag of greatness that you walk away with so many new skills, new nail friends, and a new fresh look at nails, a new perspective, and a thirsty attitude and dying to get back to your customers to say, "Look what I learned. Look where I was and look what I learned." And I can say also, the nail rangers that put on social media where they were and what they were doing, they had their clients asking, "Where the heck are you? How can you say you've gone to do nail education and I can see you with animals on the zoo. What's going on?" So, so much to learn, so much to feel, and so much to immerse yourself in. I think it's a fantastic event and I hope that we can continue running it every November. It's a November event because it has to be done in the zoo out of season. And so we're given a week in November, which is a perfect slot for the zoo and for us. Nail Safari was one of the best experiences of my career and life, really, which sounds a bit sad. Like I have really done much, but it was a really good experience and I've come back to work with a whole new excitement about nails. And obviously lots more knowledge and nail friends. I think it benefits you professionally and grows you personally, pushes you into situations that you're scared of but you learn from and you come out feeling proud. And creatively it blows your mind and also then you get lots of free goodies to use on your customers. So I think it benefits your customers that you go, because you come back with more passion and it benefits you. You come back with more knowledge about the business and you've had lots of opportunities to speak to other nail techs about different situations, business, and techniques and products. It's just so many things that you can talk about. There probably needs to be an extra week on the Nail Safari so you can talk to people more. Hello and good afternoon! I'm Jennie Nippard. I'm one of the founding members of the Nail Safari team. I am so excited that we will be bringing to you Nail Safari 2023, which is our fourth edition, and it is called Talons and Tails. So Nail Safari is a truly unique learning experience. We strive to bring you the highest level of educators. Internationally, award-winning educators who have basically won everything across the globe. On top of that, the education is delivered in such a unique setting, which is a zoo. What could really be more inspirational than that? Why Nail Safari is so special is because everybody is welcome. This is a completely inclusive course. It doesn't matter what your levels of experience are. We welcome people from beginners, right through to educators, there really is something for everybody. It doesn't matter what brands you use, what products you prefer working with. This is all about the nail industry coming together as a whole and everybody increasing their own skill set, their own knowledge. It's not a competition. It's not a competitive environment. It's all about networking, helping you to be the best version of yourself that you can be, and that's why I'm so excited about this. We keep growing, we keep getting bigger and better each year. So, come and join us at Nail Safari Talons and Tails. And while you're at the zoo, also, the zoo has put so much money into conservation efforts across the world. The amount of money that has been raised by the zoo staff is phenomenal for Madagascar, for 21st Century Tiger. So many charities around the world have benefited from the conservation projects that we run around the world. And then there's also the hedgehog hospital that we run there, which is what saves thousands of hedgehogs and their little babies. We basically get a talk from the Rangers, from my sister, Rebecca, who runs the zoo and from Liz, who runs the Hedgehog hospital. So there's a nice animal immersion. And then there's full nail immersion. And then there's let's have a giggle, let's have lots of hugs, let's take lots of photos, let's make lots of nails, and celebrate what we do. Do it together, coffee breaks, walking around the zoo. It's all going on, but one thing you will do, for sure, you'll leave with friends. You'll leave with better nail skills and you'll leave feeling your worth, with better, higher, confidence and you'll be standing tall. So, come on Nail Safari with us! Get in touch. See what's happening. Thank you for listening and thank you for watching this Life on the Free Edge. Hi guys, my name is Kat. I'm a HD nail educator and a team leader for the Nail Safari. Very, very excited for Nail Safari 2023. An insane lineup. So much fun. I cannot genuinely, it's one of the best weeks of my year and I cannot wait to see all of you on there!