For many nail techs out there, e-files have something of a bad reputation. Uncomfortable vibrations, worries over nail damage and confusion around which bits to use can all be off putting even for trained professionals. For this reason, many stick to regular nail files and buffers that feel safer.
However, we are here to help shed some light on any mystery that surrounds e-files! For this week’s Brand Spotlight, we’re talking everything you need to know about e-files with Willow.
As a leader in e-file education and with a range designed to address the biggest misconceptions around them, allow Willow to change your mind on electronic filing…
Hi! Can you fill our readers in on how the Willow brand got started and what it’s all about?
Willow all began when I first started to teach e-file. I found that the kits available for students were very few and far between. The ones I could find were overpriced and they had a lot of pieces in the kit to “bulk them out” which weren’t needed and often full of the same grade. I decided to source my own e-file kit consisting of the pieces that I used every day, day in, day out. The kit has exactly what you need, manufactured to the best quality and at an affordable price. They were designed by a nail tech, for a nail tech.
These were solely sold to students during training until one day someone shared their kit on Instagram. Another technician, who wasn’t a student, then enquired about purchase. Then it happened again and again until the messages were just too much!
I then decided to be brave and launch a website. It grew so quickly into something I never quite dreamed of. It was never meant to become an e-file bit brand, but I’m honoured and grateful for what it has grown into.
I think where our e-file brand thrived compared to others was basically down to giving advice. As a nail technician and educator, I was able to help advise customers on what would be right for them and their specific product and I think that is what helped Willow stand out.
What makes Willow e-files different from others on the market?
Being a nail tech myself, I knew what I wanted from an e-file and where other machines lacked the properties I was after. As I am a sufferer of RSI, I found a lot of hand-pieces to be broad, heavy and cumbersome in my hand. It felt like I was carrying a weight all day. I knew I wanted a hand-piece that was super light with super thin pen like qualities.
The other downfall to e-files that I had noticed over the years was sound. I have taught hundreds of nail techs and I can see how they are affected by sound. Many people associate the sound of an e-file with a bad experience like the dentist. We wanted to eliminate the sound factor therefore eliminating the fear.
I find that this makes it sound less “aggressive” and puts clients and nail techs at ease.
The quietness of the hand-piece is all down to its type. Most e-files on the market are brush motors. These tend to be louder. Our Willow E-File Pro hand-piece is very new to the market and is classed as a brushless motor. Its brushless motor means it’s super sleek, refined & quiet.
The other thing we pride ourselves on is its torque level. Many, if not all brands, talk about RPMs when it comes to an e-file (which means rotations per minute). But, rotations mean nothing without torque. The torque measurement will give you its horsepower, which will determine whether the e-file will be able to keep up with the job at hand.
Once you add pressure to the bit and the motor is working against an opposing force, the torque is needed to keep driving that spinning action effortlessly. It will also determine the thoroughness and refinement of your finished result in cuticle prep. If an e-file brand doesn’t state the torque measurement, steer clear. Ours is 2.8ncm and we are quite proud of that hefty number.
Willow Education – Which e-file bit should you use?
What inspired Willow to set up an educational course?
When I completed my e-file course there was quite a lack of information available. How were the bits made? What were they made from? What did the different styles and shapes mean? I left feeling really confused and knowledge is definitely key to confidence.
I went away and researched as much as I could. Over a span of almost 2 years I was collecting information from suppliers and manufacturers. It’s so important that students can learn as much about this misunderstood bit of tech as possible, because where there is mystery there is scepticism.
I compiled all the information I had collated over the years into a 50-page course manual that is our “E-File Bible” and I’m confident to say our training and in-depth knowledge is second to none. We have beginners come to train with Willow as well as already qualified techs and influencers who want to add to their knowledge – and even they leave feeling they have learnt so much more.
E-files are so misunderstood. Even I was so against them at first due to a bad reputation gained from a lack of information. But once I learnt how to use it safely, it saved my nail career. I wanted to share in that experience, share my knowledge and share my passion for it, which was when Willow education was born.
Our demand for courses is colossal which is why we are slowly recruiting Willow Educators to have dotted around the country. We have also extended our e-file education with not only our original e-file course, but now our Level 2 courses aimed at those already qualified.
Watch how to use an electric file on acrylic nails with Willow…
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What common misconceptions or concerns do you hear from nail techs about e-files?
The most common misconceptions are that an e-file machine is dangerous. The e-file itself isn’t damaging and its bits aren’t damaging. It’s no different to any nail tool we use within our industry. It is the way it is used that makes it NON-damaging. Just like traditional tools, damage can be caused if used incorrectly and it’s all in the hand of the user that makes the difference – which is why education is key.
For years our industry has suffered with this mis-representation “oh don’t have acrylics they ruined my nails”. No, they didn’t – the acrylic didn’t have a part in it, but your nail tech did.
E-file technology has developed leaps and bounds and it strikes many debates within our industry. Many successful techs create safe cuticle work with the use of “diamond pieces”. However some believe it to be damaging compared to traditional tooling and it’s simply not the case. For instance, when using traditional tooling to create a manicure we use blades and tend to cut the skin or dead protein to gain the final results. Many can get confused between living skin and dead skin and cut away more than insured to do so.
With diamond pieces we use a form of exfoliation to buff away the dead protein. Just like you would have microdermabrasion during a facial.
I think its historical reputation from NSS salons has ended and it’s time we embraced the e-file and all it can “safely achieve”.
Which of your products would you recommend to someone who is new to the brand?
100% try out one of our kits. You receive a variation of different grit levels and shape preferences to suit a wide range of products and treatments.
Our 5-bit kits hit the nail on the head of exactly what you need for each step of the way. However, we have also devised a “Which bit chart”. This handy chart will go through each e-file bit, its grade, whether it’s suited to right handed or left-handed techs and also give you a tick chart of which products it is best suited to.
Do you have any tips for those just getting started with their Willow e-file?
Be gentle. This sleek, refined and perfectly silent bit of kit is e-file perfection – but with its refinement, it is delicate in nature and you should treat it like it’s your most prized possession. Take a look at our set up video on socials!
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What are the benefits of using a Willow e-file over a regular file?
Comfort is a big one. Many technicians struggle with the weight and bulkiness of an e-file but this you can happily use all day long without an ache or pain. It has a large battery life of 20 hours (that’s right, no need for an extra plug). Its high torque means it can keep up with harder tasks as well as being perfectly refined for more intricate cuticle and nail preparation.
What can we expect from Willow in the future?
We will always be keeping up to date with the latest technology in e-file pieces making sure we make your work life as efficient and profitable as possible. As well as our e-file Course we have some new additions joining in 2021 such as the “Electric manicure course” & “Electric Pedi course”.
We also have two new websites launching, one for our products & the other solely concentrating on Willow Education.
Who knows maybe we also have some collaborations coming up but you will just have to wait & see….
Shop our full Willow E-file Range online at Salons Direct – Or, take a look at all of our professional nail supplies
Discover more nail salon advice on our blog…