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Alumni Spotlight: Lilly Rojas, Owner of Lilli and Cata Nail Saloon!

Alumni Spotlight on Nail Specialty grad, Lilly Rojas! Her dream of owning a nail salon led her down an exciting path full of insight, including an education from Christine Valmy. She knew leading by example and operating a successful business required in-depth knowledge of the nail industry, including the art and science of nails. During her time at CV, Lilly learned one of the most critical pieces of information she carries with her today as a nail salon owner – the importance of sterilization! Her message to all those pursuing a beauty education is to never stop learning or practicing their craft. Lilly also expresses the significance of doing what you love and encourages everyone starting out in the industry to remember their self-worth.

  1. What specialty(s) did you study during your time at CV? I studied Nail Specialty.
  2. What year did you graduate? I graduated in early 2019 (February I believe).
  3. What are you doing now? I own a nail salon in Greenpoint, Brooklyn [].
  4. What was your journey like to get to your current role? It was a few years of looking for the perfect retail space before I signed up for classes until we found a perfect location for my nail salon while I was still at Christine Valmy.
  5. What was your favorite part about your time as a CV student? I was able to familiarize myself with all the rules and steps of the state regarding what the law is for salons and learn all about manicures and pedicures, and even though I didn’t need a Nail Tech Specialty license I wanted to do this in order for me to be able to understand all best when dealing with those that worked for me and what the clients needed.
  6. What is something you learned during your time at CV that has stuck with you today? I learned how important sterilizing is at a salon and how so many don’t realize this when they step into a salon. Even though I knew I wanted to open a non-toxic nail salon, knowing to sterilize tools besides just sanitizing and disinfecting can prevent so many infections and diseases. Seems simple enough but unfortunately not every salon follows this extra step because it’s not required by law.
  7. Do you have any advice for someone who is considering a beauty education? Know that you will always be learning and you should want to do that. Practice makes perfect and most importantly you should love what you do.
  8. Do you have any wise words for students who are about to graduate and look for their first professional job in the industry? Practice your manicures as much as you can, with friends and family as timing is very important when working at a salon. The more you practice the better you’ll get. Always make sure to ask for what you know is right, whether that’s being paid by the hour or by commission. It’s sad that so many businesses still take advantage of this industry and I hear how many are underpaid or overworked without breaks. Know your worth.

Our ultimate goal is to provide our students with a strong foundation upon which to grow a flourishing career. Marina Valmy, our leader, calls this a “root system,” and it’s why our success as educators is embodied by the successes of our alumni. To celebrate this, we feature the achievements of our fabulous graduates in our Alumni Spotlight series. Each Spotlight showcases an interview with a Christine Valmy graduate about their educational and professional journeys.

As part of our educational philosophy, we aim to provide thought leadership on topics relevant to industry professionals and those with a passion for beauty. Click here to visit our Educated Insights homepage to learn trends, tutorials, industry news, and tips for at-home care and spa treatments.