Kato Klaws is Temple’s Newest Acrylic Nail Obsession

By Rebekah Harding

Photo Credit: Alankato Cobb Jr.

Photo Credit: Alankato Cobb Jr.

That’s right. Your new nail tech is a Temple neuroscience student.

Alankato Cobb Jr. may be spending his time studying the ins and outs of the brain and focusing on his pre-pharmacy track, but he has a secret talent you’ll want to see: designing quite possibly the nicest acrylics on campus.

“I became interested sometime last school year when my best friend and I were talking that we should start learning how to do nails,” said Cobb Jr, a junior. “This summer around June is when I got my first nail kit.”

He learned the tricks of the trade by watching Youtube and IGTV tutorials, and even had the opportunity to sit in on an appointment with a friend, who is a nail tech, back in his native Delaware.

In July, he began working out of his apartment with clients who dream of Instagram-worthy nails, marking the birth of his brand and IG page, Kato Klaws.

On Instagram, it’s clear that Cobb Jr. caters to every client. Long nails, short nails, glittery nails, simple nails… even some encapsulated (those really sick clear nails with decals inside). There’s a design for everyone.

Photo Credit: Alankato Cobb Jr.

Photo Credit: Alankato Cobb Jr.

If you have a nail idea that you’ve been craving to make a reality, Cobb Jr. offers custom acrylic sets and collaborates with clients to produce their vision. He has an eye for design and a sharp listening ear to make sure you get exactly what you want.

“I usually tell people to send me an idea from Instagram or to tell me a color palette or an idea that they want. I would either go to the store and buy something or if I have something that I think they would like, I would show them and work things out,” said Cobb Jr., diving into his creative process. “Sometimes I’ll get a pen and a piece of paper and draw it out.”

While Kato Klaws has picked up a lot of steam on Instagram, Cobb Jr. believes the key to starting a freelancing business is to take it easy at first and let the clients do the talking for you.

“I would say take it slow, take your time, and wait until you’re at a good point,” Cobb Jr. said. “And then from there use whatever social media platform that you have and that your close friends have to spread the word.”

And boy, does word get around. For such a niche clientele, the eye-catching nail videos on the Kato Klaws IG page have been steadily increasing in views by the hundreds.

Photo Credit: Alankato Cobb Jr.

Photo Credit: Alankato Cobb Jr.

Larice Mejia, a client since the start of the semester, received a full-set service and was astonished at the quality of work coming from a beginner.

“I gave him a general idea of what I wanted and he took it to the next level,” said Mejia. “In my experience, some techs are bomb at doing a nice, thin shape but their designs aren’t up to par, or some techs have good designs but the nails are thick and bulky. But with Alankato, you get the best of both.”

Mejia left her appointment with a fresh pink and purple ombre set with a touch of sparkle (and an adorable butterfly decal, naturally).

If you’ve never gotten your nails done, Cobb Jr. should still be your go-to. He is committed to making sure his clients feel comfortable and satisfied no matter how many times they’ve been in the chair.

“Don’t be afraid to say what you like,” Cobb Jr. said. “A lot of times clients won’t say anything because it’s their first time, but you’re wearing the nails so you should say something.”

Okay, so we know you’re dying to get an appointment with Kato Klaws now. You can view his hours, services, prices and booking information through Square. You’re welcome!

Cobb Jr. is hopeful that his clientele will continue to expand, and as fast as it’s going, he may just get his wish. The momentum of Kato Klaws has been encouraging, but he still plans on sticking to his pre-pharm roots. 

So while he might be your nail tech today, he’s still on track to be your local pharmacist tomorrow. But are these two professions really that distant? It’s all about caring for and serving others. That’s just his character.