Hi, Polished People! 🙂 I cannot believe I started this blog and my Instagram three years ago today. On January 23rd, 2017, I created my very first threesixtynails blog post and posted my very first @threesixtynails photo on Instagram. Since I always run out of creative things to do for my anniversaries here on threesixtynails, I figured this year I would share a little more of how threesixtynails came to be and some of my nail art journey. I also thought this would be a great story to share in case any of you guys are interested in becoming a nail artist, blogger, web designer, and/or social media maven; I know it’s always nice to see how someone else got started if you need ideas or inspiration. Overall, I want to share some more details about my adventure in case you’re curious about what it’s like starting a website or becoming a DIY nail artist. I also included a gallery of photos from the past three years, just for fun. Read on to hear how I started threesixtynails!

The original threesixtynails logo

The first time I can remember wanting to put some effort into a manicure was in late 2015. I’d done my nails for fun when I was little, but that was mostly with non-toxic polish that peeled off in about five seconds. Since then, I hadn’t really paid attention to my nails at all, always just keeping them short and clean. This time though, I wanted to create a nice manicure to match an outfit I was wearing for a special event. I went looking in this little shoebox of nail polish, all the polish I had at the time, and didn’t really find much. I’m pretty sure I used this old Revlon that was a dark purple and a sheer, sparkly pink by Sally Hansen (also pretty old). I may have even used some nail art stickers I had laying around.

The original threesixtynails.com image, courtesy of Google Images

Sometime after that, I was on the computer and I was looking at Disney’s website for something. It was here where I first came across CutePolish, the channel that got me started with creating nail art. I’d never really used YouTube much before this either, so eventually, I found Sandi’s channel and began to follow along with her videos. I know I wasn’t great at nail art at first, since I was always impatient and wouldn’t leave enough drying time. But I practiced and got some new polishes. I remember the first dedicated nail art shopping trip I went on, I bought a white and a hot pink (I think) from Sally Hansen. I also purchased blue and pink nail art pens. One of the first manis I remember trying to re-create from CutePolish was her Japanese Emoji Nail Art. I’m not sure they turned out so well, but I tried. Another mani I remember trying out was a white base with a very thick pink french tip. The polish was very thick and chipped easily; it was a nice combo though.

Some of my first hand-painting ever, from 2016

I kept following Sandi’s tutorials and watching her videos for several months and I got some new nail art supplies and polishes here and there. In August of 2016, I began to collaborate with a company on a nail art blog. They were a small boutique and had hopes of starting their own nail polish line. This seemed like a super interesting opportunity, so I started my Nail Candy Nail Art Blog on August 5th, 2017. I really enjoyed it. I’d always enjoyed the idea of a blog, but I’d never done it before. This was a great place to start. Since the company was so small, the blog was created in a big long Google Doc each week and sent out to friends and customers. It was very casual and so much fun. I was only just learning how to take nail art photos and I would create a pictorial or drawing guide to go with most manicures. It was on this blog where I first started my “products of the week” posts and started creating some of my own designs. When I first started nail art, it seemed impossible to come up with my own unique designs; I honestly couldn’t imagine it! But, eventually, as I started to get more comfortable with what I’d learned, I began to create my own interpretations of CutePolish designs, then I gradually came to create my own. November of 2016 was the first time I did the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge. It was so much fun to do and I’m sure it’s something that really helped my “creating my own nail art” skills take off. Each prompt was so new then and I enjoyed coming up with ideas every day.

First-ever sushi nails

In early January of 2017, my dad introduced me to a podcast all about starting a side-hustle and becoming an Amazon Affiliate. I’ve always been an entrepreneurial and creative person, so I was super interested in this idea. At this point, the company I was working with had unfortunately been unable to execute their nail polish idea, so my relationship with them came to an end. It was super fun while it lasted, though! My wonderful family helped me get started with my new endeavor (thank you guys!) and soon, my website was underway. Now I just had to come up with a name. After a massive brainstorming session with the fam, I landed on “threesixtynails.” I chose this name because I wanted something that encompassed “all things nails” (hence my tagline) because so many of the blogs and channels I’d seen were so specific. I wanted to create a space where I could include something for everyone; not just DIY nails, not just nail techs, not just one type of nail topic, but a name that could leave my brand open for expansion and growth. I purchased my domain, started my website with WordPress, and signed up for Amazon Affiliates. Now came the fun part…almost.

My first profile pic and original TSN nail art

My first couple days with WordPress were…challenging, to say the least. Coming from a Google Doc to full-on website software was overwhelming and difficult; there was a huge learning curve and it was pretty stressful at first. But, just like with nail art, learning how to build a website took practice and effort. Eventually, I figured out how to work everything and got my website off the ground. For my very first blog post, I created some cute hedgehog nails with a drawing guide. If you want to see that post, you can read it HERE. Next, since I had so many nail art pics from my 31DC2016, I decided to use those in some blog posts. I also started my Instagram and began posting; I posted soooo many pictures in my first year on Instagram. I posted every day for almost an entire year! 2017 was such an amazing year and I’m so grateful for the abundance of time I had for doing my nails. It was so new and so much fun to not always have a finite amount of time that I had to complete a manicure within. I had a lot more time for nail art then than I do now; I’m very thankful that I was able to have so much time to practice and learn, that was amazing. I still absolutely love doing my nails of course, but it was especially enjoyable when I was able to spend more free time on it. (Now I usually do my nails once a week, if I’m lucky, lol. Hopefully that’ll change as my schedule continues to shift over this year.)

The first nail design I ever posted here on the blog

This was also the year when my nail polish collection began to rapidly expand. By the end of 2017, I’m pretty sure my small shoebox collection had tripled in size. Even so, believe it or not, my ENTIRE nail polish collection used to fit in one Kaboodles train case! It was amazing to get to try so many new brands, though. Until I really got started with my blog and everything, I’d only really used “drugstore polishes,” such as Sally Hansen, Revlon, and other random cosmetic brand spinoffs. I’m pretty sure I only owned one China Glaze at this point, which seems unbelievable now. Over the course of 2017, I tried a bunch of new-to-me brands, such as OPI, China Glaze, Zoya, Sinful Colors, and more. Some of my other “first real nail polish purchase” memories include: getting a periwinkle blue and a terracotta orange from OPI (in the Infinite Shine 2 formula), ordering from one of Zoya’s buy-three-get-three sales, and discovering Sally Beauty stores. I also was so fortunate to be able to collaborate with PennyBloom, Chill Zone Nails, and Polish Posy, several fantastic brands that were so wonderful to work with me when I was relatively new to this industry. Those collaborations were so amazing and created such great memories for my first year of threesixtynails. I hope to be able to collaborate with more brands in the future, but I haven’t had a P.O. Box in such a long time; I hope to get a new one soon, actually.

A pic from my collab with PennyBloom Polish

After almost seven months with my threesixtynails blog and Instagram, I’d become more interested in creating videos. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been interested in creating videos and sharing content for entertainment. I’d been trying to hold off on creating a YouTube channel because I really wanted the videos I did put together to be very exclusive to my website. Eventually, I realized this was pretty unrealistic to maintain if I was interested in making videos because WordPress only allows for a certain length of non-linked video to be uploaded and I wanted to reach a wider audience. On August 2nd of 2017, I started my YouTube channel and, fun fact, it was actually called “threesixtynailsTV” then, the name that the videos on my channel had been under previously. I actually ended up keeping it like this until August 7th, 2018 when I changed it to “threesixtynails” so all of my social media handles would match.

Fun fact: the first full collection I ever owned was the OPI Fiji Collection in 2017

I am so glad I finally decided to start a YouTube channel because it became one of my very favorite things to do and it is such a fun platform on which to be a creator. I always have so much fun putting together videos, creating a nice description box, making a professional channel banner, etc. It’s also always so great to collaborate with other talented YouTubers; I expanded my nail art community so much when I joined YouTube. I’ve collaborated with a bunch of fellow nail artists/enthusiasts individually and, for over a year, I’ve been a part of a HUGE group of YouTubers that does seasonal collabs; both things are always enjoyable and great way to expand our viewer reach. I’m so grateful for each and every view all of my videos get, but I’m particularly proud of two videos that really took off. The first was my tutorial for the Sinful Colors Hypnotic Transforming Top Coat. At this time, I hadn’t seen a helpful tutorial for this product, but I did my research and discovered how to make this top coat work. I watched some of the company’s tutorials and learned some info from Phoebe Moon on YouTube, so I practiced and figured out how to get a cool mani with this innovative polish. The video was super simple, one of my first, and didn’t have a voiceover or anything fancy. I was so surprised when that video ending up surpassing 10,000 views! My next most successful video was my review of Sally Hansen’s new Insta-Dri polishes. I still remember learning about them and being super intrigued; I went to Ulta, got two polishes, came home, and put together my review. It was a really fun video to make and I was glad to share my honest review of these products. This video ending up surpassing 23,000 views; I still can’t believe it.

My first-ever nail design on my old Nail Candy Nail Art Blog

Sometime during 2017, the name for you guys “Polished People” was also created. I’m pretty sure my mom actually came up with this name! I posted a bunch of polls with various options on my Instagram, and you guys voted for this one. I ended up adoring this name and it’s the name you guys have had ever since. 🙂

My Ascendance Trilogy Nail Art that was featured on the blog of New York Times Bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen

I went into 2018 continuing with YouTube (I was posting videos pretty often at this point), still doing Instagram, and gradually did a lot less here on the blog. In mid-2017, I had also begun to add voiceovers to my videos, which was such a huge step and it really helped me connect with you guys a lot more. Something super amazing that I did in 2018 was going to the Indie Shop in Atlanta, Georgia. It was so much fun to travel there and visit this incredible event. It was so surreal, such a dream come true. It was a really nice trip and such a memorable experience. I got the VIP bag and purchased a few other goodies, so that was absolutely wonderful. I did a bunch of other fun videos and things throughout the spring and most of the summer. However, my summer became super hectic and I took my very first break mid-summer. It was great to be able to relax about my site/channel and focus on the other important things going on in my life since I’d been super consistent and nonstop with threesixtynails, pretty much from Day 1. I came back to it in August of 2018; this was when I rebranded a little bit and changed my channel over to match my other social media names.

A pic from my collab with Polish Posy

Fall of 2018 proceeded as normal for the most part and I was able to get back into somewhat of a routine with YouTube and Instagram. I actually forgot to start the 31 Day Challenge in November (the month I usually do it during), so I decided to take on an even bigger challenge. I decided to do the 31DC2018 and Nailmas in Decemeber; yes, at the same time. So that was thirty-one manicures and twenty-five videos to put together all in one month, all at once. I’d also started another new job at this point and the holidays are always so busy, so December of 2018 was a whirlwind. It was really fun though and I enjoyed it a lot.

One of my first indie polish purchases from Colores de Carol

I rebranded again in January of 2019 and this was also when I created the first version of the video background you see in my videos today. I did a bunch of collabs at the beginning of the year and I was really liking my new video setup. I also completely remodeled my website which was a lot of work, but really fun. I discovered a new software/editor I could use within WordPress called Elementor and it really helped make my website more interactive and polished (no pun intended). I took another sort of short break in the spring, then came back with a bunch of new videos. I was pretty consistent with videos/Instagram until the summer. It got really hectic, much like the summer before, and I also had some personal things going on. It was a difficult few months, but when I did get back to creating videos and doing my nails, it was a really nice restart/homecoming to something that always brings me joy.

My newer logo nail art

The fall of 2019 was really fun and very special. I took a trip to New York City, which was absolutely incredible, and was able to do a type of vlog video I’ve never really tried before. At this point, I wanted to improve the quality of my videos, so I invested in better video editing software and purchased some better lighting. All of these improvements really inspired me to create new content and better what I was filming/putting together. I continued to freshen up my video background and kept adding new things to all of my platforms. I decided against doing the 31DC2019 and Nailmas at the same time like I’d done previously, so I completed the 31DC2019 in November. I had a great time doing Nailmas in December again (even though I was very busy and it was a challenge to get a video uploaded each day); it was even more fun than the previous year!

Some of fave festive nail art from the 31DC2019

We’re getting close to the present now, so January of 2020 (wow) arrived and I started filming with my new background. This background is bigger and better than my last one; I’m super happy with it. I also got a new tripod recently and it’s made filming so much easier. I’m continuing to improve my video lighting and editing style, so there’s always something new to learn. I was under the weather during the first full week of January, so I ended up taking a short break. But now, at present, I’m back and getting lots of new content underway. My first successful video of 2020 was the Essie Expressie review I posted last week. That was a very similar video to my Sally Hansen Insta-Dri, so I’m glad the format still works for me. Tomorrow, I’ve got a new haul video scheduled to upload and it’s got a fun surprise at the end, so be sure to watch it when it goes live! I’m also going to try super hard to blog more this year. Blogging is the heart and roots of threesixtynails and I don’t want it to get lost in the shuffle of YouTube and Instagram. I’m pretty sure my thought process for a while was that no one really sees my website as much as my channel or Instagram. But blogging is something I enjoy and it’s important to me, so I’m going to put effort into it anyway. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I’m going to also improve the quality of the blog subscription so you get a mini newsletter kind of thing instead of a stock notification. I can’t wait to see what else the new decade holds for threesixtynails!

And another fave from the 31DC2019

So there you have it, that is my (very long) threesixtynails journey. I’ve told my story in bits and pieces of the years, but it was really fun to sit down and go through the entire thing. This was such a great trip down memory lane and I’m so grateful for all the amazing experiences this adventure has brought me. Again, thank you so much to everyone who’s supported me and threesixtynails over these last three years; every view, like, kind comment, repost, thumbs-up, follow, and subscription is always so greatly appreciated. As of right now, we’ve reached over 1,970+ Polished People on Instagram, 650+ Polished People on YouTube, 120+ Polished People on Snupps, 70+ Polished People on Twitter, and 50+ Polished People as blog subscribers (current and former). I’m so happy that what started as my artistic hobby and first attempt at web design turned into a wonderful, positive, joyful community of nail artists/enthusiasts all around the world. It’s been so amazing to make so many connections and communicate with so many of you over the years; the nail art community is such a fantastic and uplifting one to be a part of.

My original threesixtybeauty logo

I know this was a ridiculously long blog post, probably the longest one I’ve ever put together, but if you read all the way to the end, I hope you enjoyed learning about my journey. I hope, if you’re looking to become a nail artist or web designer, this helped you in some way. If either of those things are something you want to pursue, just go for it. Both things can be so much fun and are great ways to be creative. I know it’s such a cliche thing to say, but as for nail art, practice is what helps you improve and makes it easier; the more you do your nails, the better you’ll be at painting with both hands, coming up with unique designs, and distinguishing a great polish formula from a not-so-great one. I’ve learned so much about art and color from doing nail art, it’s such a great creative outlet. Web design, social media management, and entrepreneurship is something I hope to continue to pursue in the future, so this was an incredible thing to get me started. Not only has all of this experience helped me to continue to improve threesixtynails, but it’s also opened up other opportunities for me as well. So, just start. If you want to do nail art, start. If you want to design a website, start. There’s always a way to begin doing something like this that you want to pursue, so find it and begin. Of course, if you have any more questions about nail art or web design, leave a comment below or send me an email.

One of my favorite manis from 2017

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for threesixtynails in the future. These three years of all things nails have already been so magnificent, so I’m looking forward to all the new and exciting opportunities that are ahead. Just one more time, thanks for all your support and for being a member of Polished People; it means the world. 💖

I created this nail design to celebrate reaching 1,000 followers on Instagram; such an amazing milestone 🙂

I hope you’re all having an absolutely beautiful day, and I will be back soon with a (much shorter) blog post very soon. See you then!

Have a polished rest of your day,

– Cali

Written by

Cali G.

I'm a nail artist, positivity/wellness enthusiast, and perpetual creative. I've been sharing nails and good vibes here in my corner of the Internet since 2017. Follow me @threesixtynails on social and check the Contact page if you want to get in touch. Have a polished rest of your day! ✨