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Stephanie Jordao came to Pickens Technical College’s Nail Technician Program already professionally trained as an artist. It was 2014, and Jordao had recently moved to Denver after 16 years in California. An Army wife, Jordao’s husband was relocated and was preparing to head out on an 11-month deployment. Jordao had to do something.

According to an interview with Nails Magazine, Jordao wanted to learn a new skill and connect with her new community. She boiled down her choices to two options: nail technician school or pastry school. She decided to pursue nail art and enrolled in PTC’s Nail Technician Program.

The Nail Technician Program encourages students to not only learn how to paint nails and provide many kinds of cosmetology services, but they also learn what it takes to run their own businesses and to truly be a part of their community. Instructors Shirleen Woods and Deborah Vigil prepare their students with rigorous, advanced nail techniques along with instruction on how to run the business end of things, so they can be successful in their new careers.

Jordao was a Nail Technician star from her first day. She was a professional muralist back in California, and she used her natural artistic ability to earn her Nail Technician Certificate and graduate from PTC as the Student of the Year.

She opened her own salon, Design Culture Salon, in late 2016 and decided to offer customers a little something different than the typical nails salon: henna tattoos.

Henna tattoos are impermanent designs using ancient skin dying techniques that can add flair and give people body art they can show off without wearing it for life. Jordao gives her customers a chance to try it first free of charge in many cases, so they can experience what it looks like and how it feels. “Plus, my clients are more adventurous and open to nail art when it’s free,” she told Nails.

Jordao’s entrepreneurial spirit and her love of art make her nail salon a success. Like all small businesses, she started small, but now she’s routinely booked nearly around the clock with new and returning customers. She’s always excited to try new designs, and her website tells clients to “choose a custom design, come in with your own design, or just bring some inspiration and we’ll see where it leads!” Her joy in creating beautiful body art combined with the considerable skills she honed at PTC make Design Culture an excellent place to explore henna tattoos and get great nail service.

Jordao’s story and success pave the way for more up-and-coming, skilled small business owners graduating from PTC and entering the Denver metro area community to bring their services to many more people every day. With a focus on the skills needed and the ways to make it happen, PTC students can start their business and be successful if they have the heart and the determination of Jordao. Thanks to her own talent, work ethic, and PTC’s instruction, Jordao does what she loves for a living.