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Business of HYPE: Jessica Washick

Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders, entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. This week, Jeff sits down with nail artist & Senior Color Designer, Jessica Washick

By day, Jessica is designing today’s most popular Nike AF1’s (interchangeable swooshes and double stacked eyestays), by night she’s a licensed manicurist with an impressive portfolio of nail art. From interchangeable swooshes to iridescent nails, her meticulous work draws inspiration from one another. She attributes her success to a rigorous work ethic built during her time at Parsons where she won numerous awards, job offers and even having Tim Gunn as her personal mentor. 

During her seven years at Coach where she worked on accessory, technical and handbag design, Jessica had undergone a bad breakup and began painting her nails as a form of therapy. She launched her website, “U Don’t Need a Man, You Need a Manicure”, where she began taking on editorial projects with famed manicurist Deborah Lippman and eventually quit her day job to freelance. After three years on her own, Jessica returned to fashion, working at Marc Jacobs for a quick year only to quit again due to the lack of balance of both careers.

“I literally came home one day, sat down on the couch. ‘Okay, we need to have a convo.’ I took some time and thought about all the options and the coolest thing I want to do is work at nike. Just thinking, just do it. This is a part of the job you have to do. If you know if you have to do it, just do it. Me and myself.  I was just going with the flow. What is my next move? Make a smart move, don’t just jump around. I wanted to balance both of them. I wanted to be at a company where I could do something amazingly creative and also have a nice balance, so I could fulfill my cup up in a creative way.”

By happenstance, Jessica found an opening for a color designer at Nike and applied by showcasing her nail art alongside her “rusty” design portfolio. While she had doubts Nike would see the connection, she claims her nail art not only turned the interview around, but also landed her the position. Now at a job where she can balance both careers, Jessica utilizes her diverse skillsets to push forward one of Nike’s most classic silhouettes. She later stresses the importance of self-reflection, finding independence, seeking outside perspective and much more.

This episode features references to the following:

0:57 – Senior Color Designer at Nike
1:55 – Nail artist
2:24 – What is color design?
3:23 – Nike Air Force 1
4:16 – What is a nail artist?
5:55 – How she got into nail art
7:49 – U Don’t Need a Man, U Need a Manicure
10:00 – Olimpia Zagnoli
10:30 – Allure
11:16 – Refinery 29
11:37 – Deborah Lippmann
14:01 – Early life
16:03 – Parsons School of Design
23:53 – Uniqlo
25:24 – DKNY
25:42 – Gap
25:57 – Target
29:01 – Fossil
30:58 – Tim Gunn
31:58 – Coach
33:44 – Rocawear
38:00 – Triple Five Soul
41:43 – Working NYFW
43:17 – Karl Lagerfeld
49:45 – Marc Jacobs
53:53 – Freelancing
55:08 – Landing a job at Nike
72:11 – Fusing nail art with sneakers
73:40 – Advice