Canada Nail Cup – Backgrounder

The Nail Industry Backgrounder

Then and Now

Nail care is not just about grooming these days; it’s about self-expression (Nails Magazine, 2013). Just as tattoos have become mainstream, nail art has too (Nails Magazine, 2013). A decade ago, having a flower design on one’s nail was totally out of the ordinary (Nails Magazine, 2013). Now, flower designs and crystals are as commonplace as a French manicure.

Products have made a huge impact towards the growth in the nail industry. Gel polish alone has revolutionized the industry (Nails Magazine, 2015). With the promise of a polish-like application and an easy 10-minute polish removal, gel polish has become an immediate hit with nail technicians and clients (Nails Magazine, 2013). Many industry professionals now choose to use gel polish over acrylic because it is considered a safer, more eco-friendly option. Gel nail mixtures lack the fumes associated with acrylic nails and look more natural than other types of cosmetic nails (Williams, 2013). Aside from acrylic nails looking less natural the application process involves strong chemicals and fumes (Williams, 2013).

According to Nails Magazine, $8.54 billion was spent on nail services in the U.S. in 2014 (Nails Magazine, 2015). This shows how rapidly the nail industry is growing and progressing. The nail industry has fully evolved and is no longer just an accessory industry, but rather has its own niche market in the fashion industry. With the help of social media it has improved and polished nail technicians around the globe (Nails Magazine, 2015).

Social Media and Events

One cannot underestimate the power of social media’s effect on the nail business. Nail art is one of the top five most tagged items on both Instagram and Pinterest (Nails Magazine, 2015). Nail art has been inspiring the social world at large as Pinterest soared three years ago, and Instagram has overtaken Facebook in the last year as the social platform of choice (Nails Magazine, 2015).

There have been many factors that have impacted the nail industry such as social media, industry events, and nail products. Industry events give technicians and nail enthusiasts an opportunity to learn and stay on top of the newest technologies (Nails Magazine, 2015), Allowing technicians to share their skills and knowledge with others and to become better nail professionals.

According to Nails Magazine, nail technicians that attended two or more educational events since last year made 15% more than the average nail technician (Nails Magazine, 2015). As well, 65% of nail technicians anticipate attending more educational events in 2015 (Nails Magazine, 2015).

The Canada Nail Cup

This year, Vancouver hosted the second annual Canada Nail Cup on February 16, 2015. The Canada Nail Cup began in 2014 and was started by Patrick and Mami Griffin (Canada Nail Cup). Patrick and Mami created the nail cup to help promote a higher standard of professionalism within the nail industry.

In addition, to holding the competition the nail cup strives in helping create better, safer, and eco-friendly ways of designing and sculpting nails. Nail artists competed in categories such as mixed media, BLINGED!, and 3D gel design (Canada Nail Cup). The nail cup strictly only allows the use of gel in the competition other than the exception of the mixed media category, which allows the use of acrylic for creating 3D art (Canada Nail Cup).

The Canada Nail Cup started with only one competition in Vancouver last year but has expanded to two more competitions in Calgary and Toronto in 2015 (Canada Nail Cup). The nail cup competition is the first in the world to have an electronic judging application platform (Canada Nail Cup). The application allows for faster, more efficient, and innovative way of calculating results.

The nail cup in 2015 had many prominent sponsors such as Akzentz professional, INM North, CND, and Swarovski (Canada Nail Cup). The competition had a huge turn out and accommodated many local and national competitors. Events such as the Canada Nail Cup work as a catalyst in raising the quality and professional standard in the nail industry.

Nail competitor Sakura McLawson traveled all the way from Scottsdale, Arizona to compete in the second annual Canada Nail Cup (McLawson, S.McLawson CNC Interview, 2015). Sakura says, “I love competing because you are able to learn and share so much.” (McLawson, S.McLawson CNC Interview, 2015). He has competed in four national competitions so far in his career and the Canada Nail Cup was his first international competition (McLawson, S.McLawson CNC Interview, 2015). The biggest take away from competitions for Sakura are the people he meets and builds a connection with, and those who teach and share with him their love and enthusiasm for nails (McLawson, S.McLawson CNC Interview, 2015).


Over a decade ago, the nail industry was all polish and no pizazz, but many things have helped revolutionize the nail business. Products, social media, and industry events have helped to skyrocket the nail industry. As of now, the nail industry is still growing with the help of industry professionals to create better and more innovative ways to design and sculpt nails. Social media will continue to promote, impress, and share the niche market of nail design. Lastly, nail industry events are continually growing rapidly each year and will continue to educate nail professionals and enthusiasts.


Canada Nail Cup. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved March 2, 2015, from Canada Nail Cup:

McLawson, S. (2015, February 16). S.McLawson CNC Interview. (A. Ng, Interviewer) Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Nails Magazine. (2013). 2012-2013 Industry statistics. Retrieved March 2, 2015, from Nails Magazine:

Nails Magazine. (2015). 2014 – 2015 Nails Big Book. Retrieved March 2, 2015, from Nails Magazine:

Ng, A. (Composer). (2015). S.McLawson CNC Interview. [S. McLawson, Performer, & A. Ng, Conductor] Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: A. Ng.

Williams, L. (2013). Choosing between Gel nails and Acrylic nails. Retrieved March 2, 2015, from Lovetoknow:

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