On the exhibit floor, in the classrooms, in the competition arena, and even outside the show in the casinos, NAILS Show West attendees were ranking it in---product deals, technical tips, business ideas, and even a little bit of cash for a few lucky individuals.
Both Debbie (right) and Gary Krakalovich went home from the awards ceremony with their hands full -- each of their salons won first place in the Nail Salon of the Year contest, one tied for first in the 1-3 technicians category while the other won hands-down the 4-7 technicians category.
The show opened Sunday morning with keynote speaker Rieva Lesonsky, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, addressing the state of women’s business ownership. Lesonsky, with 16 years’ experience as a small-business advocate, showed nail technicians their power, noting that the industry is more than $5 billion strong.
In providing a few business tips, Lesonsky warned salons not to give their services away in promotions, and not to be discouraged in the face of discount salons. “Trust me, consumers know the difference,” she said, recalling a personal incident when her sister encouraged her to go with her for a $4 manicure. “I asked about the massage, and she said there wasn’t one. I asked about the warm oil, and she said there wasn’t any. I asked just what she got done, and she said she got her nails shaped and polished. I told her I’d polish her nails for four bucks!” recalls Lesonsky.
Behind the scenes, Loucynthia Kittrell judges a competitor's nails in theTop Gun Competition.
Other featured speakers on Sunday included chemist Doug Schoon, who separated facts from myths about nail products and discussed chemical safety in the salon. In another classroom, Kym Lee, founder of Galaxy Nail Products, shared with attendees her ideas and experiences on expanding their roles in the industry.
The room was packed for Kym Lee's "Making It to the Top" class, where Lee shared with nail technicians her personal success story and provided tips on how to expand a career in nails.
In addition, the Nails Industry Association (NIA) sponsored nine business classes on Sunday covering subjects such as service pricing, hiring, and firing, retailing, increasing income, and client retention. The day culminated with a Secrets of Successful Salon Owners Panel; all five panellists were also finalists in the NAILS Industry Awards’ Nail Salons of the Year contest.
This fantasy nail art competitor got so into the "Jungle Fever" theme that not only was her model costumed as required,she decorated her table area too.
On the show floor, all the booths were buzzing with nail technicians asking questions, watching demonstrations, and filling their bags with merchandise. Within hours, Galaxy Nail Products sold out of its new Kym Lee System, which made its debut at the show. By the end of the show most manufacturers had sold out of product. At the “Ask Us” information booths, salon owner and computer guru Debbie Doerrlamm discussed her BeautyTech website, nail technician e-mail list, and on-line chat group, and passed out free trial disks for numerous on-line services. At the Nevada State Board booth, a state board representative discussed licensing and rules and regulations. At the NIA booth, association manager Tanya Goolsby talked up the benefits of joining NIA.
Across from the information booths, the competition area was filled with hopeful competitors. In the top Gun competition alone, a record 27 competitors vied for top honors.
The NAILS Industry Awards may not have made the evening news, but nail technicians across the nation were tuned in live to the banquet, thanks to Debbie Doerrlamm, who logged onto the Sunday evening chat session on America Online. Here, Nail Technician of the Year finalist LaCinda Headings took a turn at the keyboard.
On Monday, technique ruled the day with classes on drills, nail art, acrylic, aromatherapy, and reflexology, as well as an encore performance of Doug Schoon’s “Here’s to Your Health” class. At the end of the day, the competition awards were packed, with people standing out in the hall, craning to see inside and hear who won Monday’s competitions.
To be named one of the best at anything, one must demonstrate the necessary talent and skill not only once, but continuously. It demands proof that excellence and perfection are matters of habit. A pattern of excellences are the hallmark of each winner of the Awards, which honored salons and individuals in five categories. Formerly known as the Salon of the Year Awards the NAILS Industry Awards branched out and added two new categories. Nail Technician of the Year and Educator of the Year. Each entrant was required to answer a questionnaire, write a 500-word essay, and submit photos of themselves, their staff, their salon, and their promotional materials.
The NAILS editorial staff did preliminary judging on all entrants, and the top six were sent to another judging panel that included NAILS publisher/editor Cyndy Drummey, salon owner/industry consultant Paula Gilmore, Entrepreneur Magazine managing editor Maria Valdez, Maly’s nail and skin care division manager Stacy Sloan, and NIA manager Tanya Goolsby.
2 Preliminary judging consisted of scoring objective categories such as salons operational systems, employee policies, and involvement in professional associations, among other things. Preliminary judges also scored entrants on subjective criteria including salon decor (for nail salon entries), technical skills as demonstrated through photos of their work (for nail technician entries) and letters of recommendation. Three finalists were selected based on highest number of points. All winners and runners-up were honored at an awards banquet at the NAILS Show in Las Vegas on June 16. Winners received black glass plaques and $1,000 and finalists received framed certificates and $500.
To everyone who entered, NAILS salutes you. To those who won, our hats are off! Pat yourselves on the black and send out some press releases--- you deserve it!