Interview with Casey Lai: We do as friends

CaseyNails Friendly Nails

Photo by Nick Goh for Vanitee
Casey Lai (Photo: Nick Goh/Vanitee)

Name: Casey Lai

Salon: 304 Orchard Road, Lucky Plaza, #03-54

Speciality: Nails

Experience: 12 years

Vanitee Profile:

Casey Lai (@CaseyNails) is shy at first. But 12 years of great service – four of them on her own – have given her a loyal customer base, and her afternoon client takes the reins: “There’s such a familiarity between us that, when we meet once a month, we do as friends”. A born and bred Singaporean, Casey began her studies at a beauty academy but learned most on her own. Asked if there were ever really crazy requests, the nail technician smartly answers: “I’m OK with everything”.

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How did you start working as a nail artist?
I went to a school which wasn’t a proper school at the time, where I learned the basics. Then I picked up the skills afterwards.

How did you learn the trade?
A lot of things we learned by ourselves, such as nail art, which was beginning then. We’d try the new stuff on our own nails – sometimes the customers’ – to learn how to do them.

Did you see big changes in the field since then?
One of the big changes since then has been the gel, it’s a wonderful thing not to have to wait for it to dry! Sometimes people would ruin nail art after a one-hour session, but now it’s so much better.


How many clients do you have a week? Do they follow a profile?
About 10 to 15 a week. Most will do a little nail art, but there are many executives and it’s not very professional to have very crazy nails.

Photo by Nick Goh for Vanitee
Casey at work (Photo: Nick Goh/Vanitee)

Do you have a favourite design?
No! I just do whatever they want. Now it’s summer, so most girls will do summer nails: bright colours, palm trees…

Why is manicure so important in Singapore?
It’s part of beauty and I think all girls like to be beautiful. When you have nice nails, you feel great.

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