With any size staff, working as a team is not only important, it is absolutely vital for continued success. No one may know that any better than Patricia Milward Preziotti owner of The Nail Salon, a 13 year-old New York City salon.
Her operation boasts a staff of 20, seven of whom are full time nail technicians, located in the heart of Long Island, a highly-competitive commercial area. In such an environment such teamwork demands become even more significant for long-term success and growth.
While quality products and a pleasant salon atmosphere are important, Patricia believes, “It all comes down to your technicians, their quality workmanship, professional demeanor and concerned way of working with customers.”
As a result, she personally hires and trains everyone working for her and pays them a salary plus commission. “That way I feel they know they are each and all part of a total team, and will work at their best.”
Started some 13 years ago, The Nail Salon, Inc, has grown steadily because of Patricia’s philosophies to a point where she was able to incorporate the nail business into Razzles Hairworks in North Bell-more, New York five years ago.
Today the two-story structure that houses her combined operation is located in a five-store strip center containing a total of 2000 square feet.... of which 150 is devoted to the nail salon.
“I’ve watched the nail industry grow here on Long Island/New York City these 13 years and it’s been amazing to see its development,” Preziotti recalled, continuously reverting back to her theme of “well-trained professional people are the ones who have succeeded in such growth everytime.”
When she graduated from high school with a hairdresser’s license, Preziotti knew this type of work was to be her long-term career, so she quickly worked to become a certified nails technician as well.
“When I started, I was working with the only nails salon in New York City at that time but it was evident even then that professional nail care was to become important to Long Island area women,” she noted.
So important that many women at that time travelled not only from the four other boroughs of New York but from Connecticut, Upstate New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
“That told me what I needed to know,” Preziotti observed, indicating it clearly showed her then that establishing a full nail salon would make her part of a growing trend.
Today, Preziotti has become recognized as owner of a quality metropolitan nail/beauty salon and is deeply involved in other aspects of the industry as well.
Her credits include serving as technical nail consultant for Adrien Arpel’s first beauty book, judging in local and international nail competitions, educating for Mona Nails and now with The New Turner Hall Corp.
For that latter firm, she also is involved in nail product research/development, as well as serving as their national training coordinator for the cosmetic division.
Although her personal accomplishments are important to Preziotti and her business, “I take great pride in the achievements of our staff members, as well,” she declared, feeling this typifies not only their professional quality but also the team spirit her firm stresses for continuing personal education coupled with a striving for greater perfection.
Preziotti cited several honors achieved by her staff members including first place, Hair Fashion Expo, 1984; third place, International Nail Competition, 1984, plus numerous nail art awards, as well.
“The real heart of our ongoing success is our acceptance by so many of our customers,” she emphasized.
Preziotti has always personally trained all of her employees through the years, demanding quality work and professional attitude as the major criteria for everyone she hires. “That’s something I’ll never compromise on either,” she added.
In addition to an ever-increasing number of customers as proof of her personal philosophy, she points to another fact as further indication that customers agree with these concepts.
“Although every technician has a following and must be responsible for those customers, nearly everyone coming into the salon will willingly have their nails done by another technician if their regular person is busy,” she reported, adding, “That’s the final proof we are achieving uniform professional quality throughout the salon and have become known for just that.”
To accommodate as many customers as possible, Prezziotti schedules five full-time nail technicians in the nail salon area, plus two manicurists in the hair salon section, providing total ease for nail work anywhere on the two floors.
Hours too are geared to accommodate as many customers as possible. The salon is open 9-6 daily, 9-9 on Friday and closed Sunday and Monday.
“When a customer has beautiful nails and hair, she feels beautiful all over and that’s our goal for everyone who comes in,” adds Preziotti.
Not surprisingly, nail biters account for a major share of the nails business, so Preziotti works very closely with these people to turn this problem around as quickly as possible.
“They are absolutely ecstatic when they can have long, decorated nails and can cope with nail biting,” she reported, noting restoring self-esteem and an interest in personal beauty are important aspects of her salon’s customer service.
This is one of the reasons she has added both a cosmetic boutique and a clothing boutique to the salon.
“If we say we are a full-service salon, then I believe that goes beyond hair and nails and includes skin, body and overall appearance,” she declared.
Salon decor was also handled with these concerns. For example, not content with the standard commercial tables and chairs available on the market, Preziotti designed her own and had the tables custom built to her specs.
“I want each station to be organized, professional but comfortable, so we eliminated the big side drawers of commercial tables,” she explained. Chairs for the operators are secretary’s chairs and customers sit on executive office furniture chairs. “The best, most comfortable we could find.”
Where lighting is concerned, Preziotti was adamant, “No fluorescents anywhere. They destroy everything we’re trying to accomplish in this salon.”
As a result, she has folding arm lamps on the tables, augmented by recessed overhead high hat lighting fixtures using natural light bulbs.
Preziotti not only takes her business seriously but the entire nails industry as well, as evidenced by her involvement in consulting and education. A firm believer that every state should have stricter licensing regulations and controls, she feels professional reciprocity should also be furthered.
In salon health, controls should also be tightened and salons regularly inspected, she feels, both for the safety of customers and employees alike.
“This industry is still a baby but it’s growing very fast, so those of us committed to it for years should be calling for the proper controls to assure a healthy growth,” Preziotti declared, adding. “And we should be setting a highly professional example as well.”
As more and more research/development comes online, Preziotti feels new nail strengthening formulas without formaldehyde will be among the new products and techniques created. “Technicians are demanding more products and techniques and so are our customers,” she declared.
Like most, Preziotti has developed her own criteria for such potential problems as too-young customers and those with illnesses.
For the former, she explained, “I’ll do a girl for a Sweet 16 party but not on a regular basis unless she is a nail biter, then we’ll help them at just about any age.”
To date, she has experienced little problems with diabetics but does cite psoriasis and those taking chemotherapy treatments or undergoing cancer surgery as major problems. “I judge each case individually, once we’ve spotted such diseases or treatments through the nails or by having the customer tell us upfront.”
Personal concern, individual treatment, coupled with sound professional techniques, are at the heart of Patricia Milward Preziotti’s business operational procedures. They are equally shared by her husband of one year, Richard Preziotti, a hairdresser in the Razzles Hairworks.
While still presently committed to refining their existing 2000 square foot beauty/nail salon, the Preziottis indicated they are giving some thought to expansion.
“Whatever we do, we expect it will come from franchising with some of our present employees,” she said, explaining. “They are ambitious and have a right to want to operate their own salon at some point, if that’s what they choose.”
Although acknowledging that competition is increasingly severe throughout the New York City area, the Preziottis point with pride to the fact that customers regularly come to the Bellmore salon from all five boroughs, as well as occasionally from outside the city itself.
“This often means over half hour ride to get here, so we know we’re doing something right,” they said, “And we intend to keep doing it right,” they concluded.