Nail industry farewells an Icon

Midge Duggan

Midge Duggan, a founding member of the Australian Professional Nail Industry who inspired hundreds of nail technicians to develop their skills and businesses (and compete on the local and international stage), passed away on August 21.

During her extensive career Midge played a pivotal role in introducing CND to salons around the country in her role as national sales manager at Pacific Nail and Beauty. Later she also introduced EzFlow products and other nail brands to Australia in her business, Midge’s Nail & Beauty Supplies.

ViVid Nails owner Viv Simmonds says Midge became her “friend and mentor” soon after she began working for her business.

“Midge was a very special person who touched so many lives,” she says.

“She was an icon in our industry and it was her guidance and influence that shaped me and made me who I am today in the professional world.

“She was who I used as a role model to move forward in our industry and I walked in her footsteps when creating my own team and building my distribution business,” Viv says.

Describing Midge as “the quintessential nail gal ‒ elegant, classy and professional”, nail technician Amanda Niarhos agrees that the success of many of today’s leading nail professionals can be attributed to her “guidance and support.”

“Midge’s commitment to the Australian nail industry through education was astounding,” she says.

“The first time I saw her was at The Australian Professional Fingernail Association nail competition on the Gold Coast in 1992.

“Midge was in charge of a team of nail girls, all in uniform and they looked immaculate. At the end of the competition they had win after win and their team spirit was impressive.

“I would strive to reach this level of commitment.

“A couple of years later I had the pleasure of meeting Midge at the Sydney Beauty Expo.

“Midge’s words of wisdom to me were ‘education is the key to your future’. My response was ‘I have already done my nail course’ (famous last words!)”

Amanda says she will always cherish wonderful memories of Midge.

“A hand written note from Midge showing her support for my first trip to compete at the World Fingernail Championships in Tokyo is one of my fondest momentos.

“This meant so much to me. I will never forget her encouragement.”

CND education ambassador Cherie Pollard is also grateful to have had Midge as a friend and mentor.

“So many, if not all of my career highlights are because of Midge’s involvement in my life and that is the same for so many of our industry veterans,” she says.

Cherie says she developed her friendship with Midge after she visited her salon in the mid-1990s as a sales rep for Pacific Nail & Beauty.

Although she was reluctant to try the then new product, Creative Nail Design Systems, Midge eventually convinced her to do so and then even invited her to a bootcamp to become a Creative education sales consultant.

“Initially I said ‘no’, but after a passionate call to Midge I was invited to the next Bootcamp, (the second in Australia) and as they say the rest is part of our history.”

She concludes that Midge’s main contribution to the Australian nail industry was “the nurturing of Australian talent, the introduction of new product to the country, and helping bring overseas talent to our shores”.

Peter Lykissas, the managing director of Switch Funky, also believes that Midge’s contribution to the Australian nail industry was extraordinary.

“Midge supported the development and growth of many nail technicians and business’s around the country through her commercial work and involvement with the Australian Professional Nail Industry,” he says.

“Her dedication to the professional nail industry in this country remains unmatched to this day.”

Peter met Midge in the early 1990s when she operated her own nail salon in Penrith and then worked with her at Pacific Nail & Beauty.

“She was an intricate part of the growth of CND in Australia during that time working with distributors and being involved with many of our bootcamps – mentoring and caring for the educators and staff in the way that only she could.”

Midge will be formally remembered at the Nail Tech Awards at the 2018 Aust/NZ Nail Party in Sydney this weekend when the Midge Duggan Lifetime achievement award is presented to the winner.

The award was created in 2016 to recognise a nail professional “for excelling in the nail industry”.

Event organiser Caroline Morgan, the CEO of Bang Hair & Beauty, says she created the award to honour Midge as she had played a pivotal role in her career.

“Midge was such an incredible lady,” she says.

“Midge, along with Viv Simmonds and my mother and sister, pushed me to enter competitions and hence helped me build my career.

“The reason the award was named in her honour, is because I felt for once in my life I had purpose.

“Midge has never left my thoughts. Her legacy means so much to me. She was the reason I first stepped onto a competition floor. And I will always be forever grateful,” Caroline says.

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