Jillian Melucci plays fiddle and sings in a folk fusion band in West Central Florida. Jillian, who owns Nails by Jillian located in the New Tampa Sola Salon Studios, is also a master nail technician. Talk with Jillian about either and her pulse quickens, her smile widens and her focus sharpens.
When we first sat down to talk, Jillian didn’t mention that she sang and played fiddle. Following the initial interview, I took my notes and did a few writing exercises in order to become more familiar with both the interview's content and Jillian. I felt something was missing with Jillian but couldn’t put my finger on it. Then in our second interview when she told me about her musical outlet, it hit me like a runaway freight train: These other talents were indirectly pushing her nail work to a higher level, especially in one area...
Jillian grew up in the Lake Forest area outside of Chicago. At the age of eleven she began working, doing various jobs. Those early years instilled a sense of responsibility and a stoic work ethic. Working fed Jillian’s independent nature and when she turned eighteen she moved into her own apartment.
Nineteen, working in a Chicago Starbucks and not sure what to do with her life, Jillian moved to Santa Cruz, California seeking adventure. Unfortunately life and adventure are expensive in California and she soon moved backed to Illinois.
Jillian’s willingness to strike out on her own and try to make something happen became her trademark and she moved from the Chicago area to Florida back to Chicago and eventually back to Florida throughout the next decade.
After graduation and acquiring her Illinois license, Jillian went to practice her craft for two professionally run salon and spa’s. There her independence and adventuresome spirit met professionalism, teaching coworkers and well run business systems. The net effect was perfect preparation for eventually owning her own studio.
Confident in her ability to score a quality gig as a nail technician in Florida, Jillian moved back with husband Mark (a fellow musician), and children, Chloe, Riley and Vinny. While she didn’t find that quality salon, she did find work in the New Tampa area. When the Sola Salon opportunity came up in 2013, Jillian was primed, willing and ready to make the move into her own shop.
So what is the correlation between Jillian’s musical talents and her work at Nails by Jillian? I believe that her creative musical expression allows an overall greater creative openness, eases learning and helps Jillian produce unique and exclusive nail designs. Jillian’s smile lights up like a neon sign when she talks about how no two clients have the same nail design.
As Jillian approaches one year at Nails by Jillian, her sense of freedom comes from being able to take care of clients on her own terms, having control over products used, controlling her own destiny and making women feel good about themselves. In talking with Jillian, it is clearly evident that teaching the art and craft of nail work is in her future.
Jillian educated me on the fact that not all nail technicians are artists out to make their clients feel good about themselves. Some are just in it for the money. Being a nail technician is dignified and respectable work, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if I am a client, I want someone working on me who is passionate about their artwork, cares about me and puts great effort into making me feel good about myself. The fact they are a singer and fiddle player doesn’t hurt either.
Feel like making a comment or telling Jillian how you feel about her work and Nails by Jillian? Please visit the Nails by Jillian Facebook page and look for this post dated 3/20/2014.