To be very honest, when NAILS extended an invitation to participate in this column I was extremely hesitant was I that took many months and just as many encouraging e-mails from NAILS to get me off my nervous keyboard-shy butt. I was, after all the kind who struggled through English 101. Now, as an adult (if I can be called that), I am the man who think spell check is a better invention that the combustion engine. The sad truth is the only thing I really know how to write is a check! Besides, to write an opinion now I have plenty of opinions, but none that I feel belong in this column. This is after all, NAILS and not a political or social journal so far, after taking a few moments to get things into perspective here’s what I came up with.
It’s the economy, stupid
Huh? The economy? Yes, the economy.
It is something that, whether personally acknowledged or not, is a concern to everyone. Ah yes, it was just a little over a year ago that America and her partners in the new global economy were on a winning streak. The Dow was high and unemployment was low. Growth was forecast as far as the eye could see. The economic horn of plenty was overflowing. Things could not have been better. We are smack dab in the middle of the longest economic upturn we had ever seen, Remember that?
Well, things are a bit different now. Today the Dow is down and unemployment is up. Pensioners are putting early retirement on hold and working longer. The dot-com bubble burst and the internet economy isn’t. (And of course, since the obscenely awful events of September 11, things have really stood in stark contrast to earlier times.)
Yet, while so many people have been adversely affected by the current economic climate, there is a reason for those whose livelihoods resides within the beauty industry to breath a relatively small sigh of relief. How so?
Historically our industry has been strong in times such as these. It’s almost immune to economic downturns, even experiencing growth while other industries flounder. A strange phenomenon occurs when people are living through as sluggish economy – they may not but that new car or take a luxury vacation, but they will continue, even start, to spend money on a few affordable things that allow them to feel good. Beauty service just happens to be one of these. Manicures, pedicures, and nail extensions are – thank goodness – all in this category.
It has been my personal experience to witness clients come into the salon and tell tales of personal economic woe - even bankruptcy – while at the same time deciding if a French manicures is than a bright red! Get the point?
History has taught us that the economy is much like the weather. It is cyclical in nature. Cloudy days will once again be sunny. Until then, our industry is fortunate in that it will weather the storms of recession better than most. For this I am grateful, as I am sure you are too.
Michael Bannett is president of Sunrise, Fla.-based The Supply Source.