Nails were not part of Crystal Jones Leonard’s career plan.
“I started the University of Alabama in 1999 on the road to a degree in marketing. After searching Tuscaloosa for a nail technician that could give me the nail styles I was accustomed to from my hometown manicurist, I was never satisfied. I got fed up and purchased my own nail kit. I started doing my own nails,” she said.
People started to notice Leonard’s work, and while in college she became the go-to nail tech for many students at not only the University of Alabama, but also at Stillman College, where she was able to set up shop once a week in the lobby of one the dorms.
Fast-forward 17 years, and the married mom of (almost) two is now a licensed manicurist and licensed manicuring instructor for the state of Alabama.
“I have a full clientele in Birmingham as well as Tuscaloosa…I don’t just ‘do nails.’ I consider myself a nail artist,” said Leonard, who is known as MrsCreative1.
“This industry isn’t just about vanity and luxury. It’s also therapeutic. My clientele consists of a pretty diverse group of people from stay-at-home moms and teachers to doctors and lawyers,” she said. “Whether it’s getting a client ready for a big event or giving one of my diabetic elderly clients a hot wax spa pedicure to increase blood circulation, MrsCre8tive1 is ready to work. I specialize in all phases of nail maintenance—natural nail care, pedicures, nail enhancements, and nail art. I also offer pamper parties for wedding parties or little divas (ages 10 and under).”
Leonard says her business is considered a personal nail salon.
“You’ll receive your services on a one-on-one basis. It’s just me and you—your personal relaxation time. I am also current on the latest disinfection and sanitation practices. This is important because in this industry infections can easily be passed from one client to another. I also stay on top of the latest nail trends. This industry is no different from anything else when it comes to trends—there is nothing new. Everything old eventually comes back around. I am known for my original freehand painted art designs.”
Her uniqueness and professionalism are what keep clients coming back.
“If someone would have told me 17 years ago that this is what I would be doing now, my response would have simply been laughter. I am a witness that when you allow God to direct your path, there is no telling what unknown talents and gifts He will bring out of you. I am blessed to still have clients that began coming year one. They are more than clients now, they are family. We’ve been through milestones and storms together, and I appreciate every one of them. I could write a book about some of the stories and testimonies I’ve heard over the years. I wake up every morning not to just go to a job, not just a career, but to exhibit and showcase my passion.”