Nail Trends

Display Your Nail Art With Flair

Posterboards, portfolios, and palettes are just a few display options that let your nail art sell itself. 

Just as a client is unlikely to buy a new polish color sight unseen, she’s unlikely to let you decorate her nails without having some idea of what the finished nail will look like. A display of your nail art is a powerful selling tool. It grabs client’s attention, shows what nail art is, and lets them choose a favorite design. In short, it does the selling for you.

 “Displays show what kind of work we really do. When a client hears ‘nail art,’ it has a very open interpretation,” says Liz Fojon of Phenomanails of Fair Lawn in Fair Lawn, N.J. “Seeing it changes her mind. A conservative, for example, sees that nail art can be delicate and elegant as well as crazy. And when brides see my display devoted to wedding designs, the French manicure is out.”

Kim Mangiboyat of Nailworks Tan &Tone in Fayetteville, N.C., says you can try to describe nail art, but clients won’t be able to visualize an airbrushed design if they’ve never seen airbrushing.



Veteran fantasy nail art competitor Alfonso Segovia says his first nail art display proved to be a real conversation starter with clients who wanted to know what nail art was where it came from, and who wore it. These questions, he says, gave him the opportunity to explain nail art’s history and offer to do a simple design on a finger.

Besides using displays as conversation openers, many nail artists use them to fire up clients’ interest and excitement. “One of the first things clients look at is the nail art board because they want to see if I have any new designs up,” says Leslie Quigley of Leslie’s Place in Denver, Colo.


Some technicians start with simple displays, perhaps hanging a posterboard with decorated nail tips mounted on it near their stations. Norma Gonzalez of Foxy’s Hair Studio in Toledo, Ohio. mounts some of her art on white paper and uses calligraphy to write descriptions of the pieces. She also glues decorated nail tips on paper and puts them in plastic protector sheets in a three-ring binder. Clients can flip through the binder and pull out sheets that interest them for a closer look.

Quigley covers the glass on picture frames with a thick piece of felt and uses it as a display. She glues a pin on the back of decorated nail tips and sticks the pin into the felt. This way, clients can remove the tips, and Quigley can easily rotate the designs regularly so clients always see something fresh.

Karilyn Murphy of New Creations Hair Design Etc. in Portland, Ore., uses Plexiglas shadow boxes. She cuts down the inch-thick cardboard filling in the box and mounts nail tips on it so clients can see the art from all sides. She also passes around disks with decorated nail tips.

Breaking away from traditional wall-hung displays, Suzanne Gordon of Jon Megaris Salon in Syos set, N.Y., created a portable display for her salon’s 36 nail technicians and hairstylists---who all have potential nail art customers. She painted an artist’s palette black and mounted 144 uniquely designed nail tips on it. She then shellacked the palette to protect the art.

 “The palette gets passed all around the salon. It’s great because it’s almost a piece of art itself.” says Gordon. “If you just put tips on a board it doesn’t look like you put a lot into it.”

Marjorie Toti of Nails by Marjorie in Danville, N.H., drills a hole through decorated nail tips and hangs them from a shelf with string. Or, she puts decorated nail tips on polystyrene hands and puts the hands on shelves or hangs them from the wall to get customer’s attention.

A six-foot trophy case displays both Segovia’s fantasy nail art and his nail art competition trophies. After every competition, he puts his nail art on mannequin hands (which can be purchased from any mannequin company or crafts store) and drapes the hands around the trophies. “That shows clients what’s going on in the nail industry. They give a modern look to the salon and they really get clients talking.” Getting them talking, he says, is what it’s all about.

All the technicians we spoke to supplement their displays with photo albums filled with photographs of their work. Fojon, who specializes in nail art, has four large photo albums filled with her work. “I keep the pictures up to date and I keep putting new designs in. Clients can see their own hands in the book and that’s really exciting to them,” she says. “It also keeps them getting their nails done because they see how pretty their hands look.” She keeps the books right next to her station, on a shelf directly beneath her competition trophies.

Fojon also displays nail tips with art in frames at her station, because she says the photos don’t always show all the detail, especially with handpainted designs. She changes these displays weekly.

 “Also, the most important display is yourself,” she says. “All my technicians have long nails and I keep their nails decorated.”


Don’t hide your talent by displaying art only at your station. While many clients buy on impulse, you can build your client base by also showing non-clients just what you can do.

Segovia and Gonzalez display some of their designs in their salon’s front windows. “People walking down the street can see it,” says Segovia, “and it’s great advertising.” As soon as clients come through the door, their eyes are drawn to Segovia’s trophy case.

Gonzalez also frames and hangs her art in her salon’s reception area and between each technician’s station to grab potential clients’ attention. At her station, she keeps the most popular designs behind her so that clients can’t help but look. “I always keep the designs with palm trees hanging behind me because people are always going on vacation and finally deciding to try a little nail art.”

Quigley hangs her framed nail art designs on the wall behind the polish rack. This lets clients examine the nail art at the same time they’re choosing their polish colors, an ideal time for an impulse decision.

The more creative (which doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive) your display is, the more it will work as a silent sales partner to generate client interest, questions, and requests. Just wait--- before long, clients will head for your display as soon as they walk into the salon to see what’s new.

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