A good manicure can make you feel like you’re the ultimate #GirlBoss. And if you’re one of the chosen few who is skilled enough to DIY her own mani, consider yourself lucky. But there’s no reason you should let your talent go to waste. If your friends are always texting you to design their digits for big events, then you may be perfect for a career as a nail artist. To give you some guidance on making manis for a living, we talked to Instagram star Ashley Crowe aka AstroWifey aka the creator of Tipsy Zine, the nail artist’s bible.


Ashley Crowe aka Astro Wifey

Like many of us, Ashley first fell in love with nail art in high school — the more creative, the better. While the look du jour back then included long square nails, Ashley found herself gravitating toward the more dramatic designs, such as nail piercings and embedded elements, like mylar and dollar bills.

“Fusing my appreciation for nail art and my hobby of replicating paintings, I decided to try nail art one day and the rest was really history,” she explains. “I would study [Jean-Michel] Basquiat paintings and try to scale it down to the nail.” After high school, Ashley attended nail school to obtain her certification so she could pay her way through college but quickly realized she wanted to pursue nail art as a full-time career. “My favorite part of being a nail artist is the people I meet. You get to know your clients really well and meet people you may have never crossed paths with ordinarily,” she says. “In return you learn a lot of unique and interesting things about people.”


Nail tips

1. To thine own self be true. Sure, it’s easy to replicate another artist’s work, but you’ll gain more credibility and recognition for rocking your own designs. “You can pull inspiration from anywhere — your clients, your surroundings, artwork and other artists,” says Ashley. “I try to stay true to myself as an artist. It’s important to be fair in business and be open to connections and experiences.”

2. Hit the books… err, the web. Always one for #WomenSupportingWomen, Ashley recommends following fellow nail artists Nail Swag and Britney TOKYO who have teamed together to offer courses dubbed Tokyo Swag. “I think the best way to understand nail culture would be to ask a more experienced nail artist to see if she can mentor you,” suggests Ashley. Other artists offering courses include Nunis Nails, Lauren Wireman of Wildflowers Nail or Gina Silvestro. Adding a membership to Neiru.me, which offers tutorials in Japanese nail art, is well worth the investment.

Black and white nail art

3. Patience is a virtue. Even Beyoncé wasn’t an overnight success, so you shouldn’t expect your career to take off without some hard work and persistence as well. “Building clientele can be tricky, but if you’re consistent, use social media and offer great services, within a year you should have a pretty steady client list,” Ashley says. “Stay true to your style and always continue to educate yourself.”

Want to follow Ashley’s handiwork (pun intended)? Check her out on Instagram at @astrowifey and @tipsyzine.

What passion would you like to see covered in our Quit Your Day Job series? Let us know in the comments!

(Photos via Ashley Crowe)