Giving Back Through Beauty with Trade Works in Jamaica

A quick mani and a casual catching-up convo on set for Vogue was all it took for a mutual friend Alyx to tell me about her friend Andrea’s non-profit organization called Trade Works. I had just returned from teaching nails to a group of techs in Mexico, and Alyx quickly introduced Andrea and I.

Youths in Jamaica learning cosmetology skills from Trade Works teachers

Youths in Jamaica learning cosmetology skills from Trade Works teachers

In its 4th year, Trade Works has gone to Jamaica annually where beauty professionals from all over the US donate their time to teach cosmetology, barbering, and music production to youths in need. I knew that I wanted to get involved immediately.

The founder, Andrea Pezillo is a celebrity hairstylist/groomer in LA, and I couldn't email her fast enough. I love giving back through beauty, especially when it leads to long-lasting careers for under-resourced youths.

One of the biggest needs for the students’ kits are top of the line products for them to learn with and use on clients. The nail brands that I am SO excited to be gifting to each student are:

CND - Spa Pedicure kits

Essie - Polish

Exclusive Nail Couture - Acrylic kits

Gelish - LED lamps and gel polish kits

Germanikure - Ethically-sourced cuticle nippers and implements

Sally Beauty Supply - Nail adhesive and nail files

Seche - Base and Top coats

Qosmedix - Necessary disposables kits with cotton, buffers, and files

A very excited student opening her new tool kit for the first time!

A very excited student opening her new tool kit for the first time!

The trip spans 10 days, leaving time for us to teach on both sides of the picturesque island - in both Kingston and Westmoreland. We depart on June 28th - please be sure to follow along on both @Tradeworksfoundation and on my page, @julieKnailsNYC

You may read more info below, and if you are moved to donate, you may do so HERE!

Thank you so very much~

Julie and Trade Works


A nail technician for nearly 20 years, NYC-based celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec (@julieKnailsNYC) has had a fun career - her nails have set trends on the runways at Fashion Week, held awards such as an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and an Emmy. She's been Essie's lead artist for nearly 8 years and was the Creative Director of Paintbox in Soho for five.

Her travels have led Julie to combine her love of beauty and travel by giving back through manicures at orphanages in Ecuador and India. In 2018, she even taught a few nail classes around the world - in Maldives and Mexico.

It was while Julie was on set with Viola Davis that she learned about Trade Works - the nonprofit organization that provides trade skills like cosmetology, barbering, and nails to impoverished youths! What a perfect way to combine everything into one excellent opportunity at what she is best at - doing and teaching nails to those who need it the most.

From Tradeworks: 

95% of the youth we reach come from impoverished communities. Many are homeless and face harsh realities of a world without support. Much of what prevents poor youth from attending school is the fees for uniforms, books, transportation, and lunches. 

Yet, there remains hope as every one of these young people has chosen a brighter direction for their life through the trade industries. This is where Trade-Works makes an impact by teaching and supplying the tools for success.

Our volunteers give if their time to head to Jamaica and teach from their knowledge and experience. This kind of education and opportunity for the youth provides a clear path to success! 


EDUCATION - 270+ Youth served Workshops focusing on: - Basics of the trade, hands-on training, building a business, marketing, professionalism, self-esteem. -Trades: Barbering, Cosmetology, Nail Technician, Music, and Production. 

SUPPLYING - Toolkits to every student Many students are learning a trade or career with no tools to do so with, we come in and fill that need. Every toolkit is comprised of donations from leading businesses within each trade.

THE FOLLOW THROUGH - 2018 T-W launched a 6-week paid internship - 14 participants - 3 JOB OFFERS!! 

Each intern is closely monitored by our team and their business lead. Trade-Works partners with some of Jamaica's top businesses for these internships. 

2019 GOAL 65 YOUTH (including HIV+ and pregnant teens) 

5 TRADES (barbering, music, cosmetology, nails, production) 



Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!