Try as we might, the staff of NAILS does not know everything there is to know about nails. The daily ins and outs of the business are something only professionals working in the field can really know. That’s why NAILS invited a prestigious group of individuals-salon owners, nail technicians, and educators-to act as our Editorial Advisory Board. Members of the board will suggest article ideas, provide expert counsel, and keep us up-to-date on trends, salons, and people worth noticing. By way of introducing them to you, we’ve asked them to share their own professional achievements and their thoughts on the biggest challenges facing the industry.
Proudest achievement: I’ve met both my goals for this year to be number-one ranked competitor and to win the World Championship at WINBA. Industry Challenge: Now that we’re making headway in the area of sanitation, I predict changes with the products themselves. The next generation of products will better address health issues and odors.
Proudest achievement: I’m proud of the whole Nails Now! concepts, especially our patented Inventions: our nail drying wall and our air purification system. Industry challenge: Without a doubt, education. Not only do nail techs entering the business need more instruction on technique and sanitation, they need to learn customer relations - how to establish and maintain a clientele.
Proudest achievement: out of my last 21 competitions, I’ve placed or won 12 times, Including Top Gun and Outstanding Competitor awards. Industry challenge: Maintaining the highest professional standards and finding a way to make your salon different form the rest, particularly when faced with competition from discount salons.
Proudest achievement: As an individual nail tech, it was coming in third to Tom Bachik and Tom Holcomb at the Midwest Beauty Show last year. Though I’ve taken firsts before, it was a huge win to be in such good company. Industry challenge: Nails-only salons need to be taken seriously as a business, not as little more than a coffee klatch. It always gets my goat to be shrugged off, especially in comparison to the hair salons. We’re here to stay.
Proudest achievement: I’ve assembled the most incredible, caring staff. We work together as a team-no bickering, no gossiping, no bad feelings. We’re really a family. Industry challenge: As hard as it is to get on top, it’s even more difficult to stay there. The industry is growing so rapidly - which is exhilarating - but you need to constantly be educating yourself. You can’t stagnate.
Proudest achievement: Figuring out how to run my salon and keep 26 people happy. I still don’t have that down completely. Industry challenge: Technicians sometimes forget they’re providing an important service and that the half-hour or hour of time they spend with a customer is very valuable to her. That service might be the only luxury that person is getting for two weeks. You can’t go on auto-pilot or cut corners.
Proudest achievement: Winning NAHA In 1995. Industry challenge: Of course, I’m going to say education. Most schools only teach technicians what they need to pass the state board, if that. I’ve found that most nail techs are self-taught. The cosmetology instructors simply don’t know enough about nails to teach them more than is in the books.
Proudest achievement: Setting up our school. The Nail Shoppe School of Nail Technology devised curriculum for a 14-week course in nails. By American standard this may not sound so intensive, but in Canada, there’s no licensing so it goes a long way to produce qualified, professional nail techs. Industry challenge: Dealing with discount salons. Here in Canada, we’re 5-7 years behind the US, so the problems you have been experiencing are just beginning to happen. The challenge is to convince other salon owners of the need to maintain standards so the whole Canadian nail industry doesn’t take a fall. Without licensing and professional organization this is more difficult and even more essential.
Proudest achievement: Going from “Susie Homemaker” to being a nail technicians, educator, judge, magazine columnist, and NIA board member Industry challenge: Trying to maintain consistency and quality from state to state. I support national licensing to impose a uniform standard.
Sue Ellen Schultes
Proudest achievement: Having my nail art in the Smithsonian. For President Bush’s inaugural ball, I had planted a client’s nails with Bush- and Washington, DC related nail art A Smithsonian photographer spotted the nails and at their request, I painted a duplicate set for the museum. Industry challenge: The level of professionalism and ethics needs to be raised to the highest standard. Professional conduct can be taught. All my new employees know if they want to work for me they’ll have to work that way.
Proudest achievement: My book Beautiful Nails written mainly for junior and senior high school kids to teach them the basics of giving themselves a manicure and pedicure at home. Industry challenge: To counter the bad press the industry receives on sanitation. We’ve made big strides in that area and need to continue. I believe continuing education on sanitation should be a requirement for license renewal.
Proudest achievement: I have an agent in Manhattan and get a lot of work for magazines and TV commercials, and I also do celebrities nails. Industry challenge: We’re still not licensed here in Connecticut. Getting licensing and maintaining sanitation standards are top priorities.
Proudest achievement: Having the biggest salon in the Tampa Bay area (It ranked #36 on the 1996 NAILS Top 100). Industry challenge: Often technicians are unable to communicate well with customers. They need to be able to find out what people want and give it to them. If you can address a client’s needs as those needs change, you have a client for life.
Proudest achievement: Seeing my work on a 100-foot-tall billboard in front of Harrah’s Hotel in Reno. The model featured on the billboard was a client. Industry challenge: I’m extremely pleased that the public is becoming more educated on sanitation issues, but I’m still searching for a top coat that won’t yellow.
Proudest achievement: Creating the Top Gun competition in which each competitor is sponsored by a manufacturer, this allows competitors to get financial support from the people whose products they’ve been using over the years, and the manufacturers get to showcase their product lines. Industry challenge: To keep standards high despite the encroachment of discount salons. We can’t bend when it comes to sanitation, continuing education, and using professional products.
Proudest achievement: Surviving 10 years in business, I’ve seen nails as an owner, employee, and booth renter. I think that gives me a rounded knowledge and the ability to empathize with different view-points. Industry challenge: Education-It’s the way to separate the real pros from the rest of the world. We still need to establish the industry as credible. And improving quality is the best way.