Money Matters

Keep Your Delusions Alive

Although there are nail technicians who tell us business has been hurt by the sluggish economy and fears of war, most tell us that things are good.

They say the beauty business is recession-proof. The theory is that a beauty service, whether it’s a manicure or hair coloring, is a personal indulgence that a woman won’t give up even when she’s tightening her purse strings. That it’s a small price to pay for an hour all to herself, especially when she has to cut back on higher priced “non-essentials.” We’ve certainly seen a strong argument for that. In the early 1990s, when we were at war and in a recession, most salons reported good business. Although there are nail technicians who tell us business has been hurt by the sluggish economy and fears of war, most tell us that things are good. Customers still come in for their biweekly fill or weekly manicure. People are still willing to try new services. Good promotions are still getting attention. The word from manufacturers is positive as well, reporting increased business in 2002, and although cautious about the impact of war, most are still optimistic about the beauty business and their own survival.

At two recent large tradeshows, my main question for everyone I talked to was, “How’s business?” The answer: Business is good. One salon owner from Ohio, whose salon has only been open a year, says that she’s heard complaints about business from other owners in her area, but she believes the reason is their own fear and cautiousness. She says she likes to focus on making the salon a haven for clients to get away from everyday concerns. “So many people stop advertising and promoting when business is down. But what sense does that make? Advertising is a business stimulant and exactly what you need to do when business is off,” she says.

A salon owner from Pennsylvania, hard hit by layoffs and a brutal winter, says that her regular clients are still regular. “Maybe we see a few people waiting longer between fills, but we make sure when they come in their experience is as good as it can be.”

The message I got after being out in the field a few weeks was that business was good for those who held to their optimism about business, their belief in their own ability to provide a unique service for clients, and their sheer will to survive, no matter what. They weren’t grumbling or complaining. They tended to look at the bright side (and in some cases, they had to strain to find a bright side) and they focused on what was going right. Considering what’s going on in the world and the fear that seems to be permeating our lives, is having a positive outlook delusional? Nope. I say it’s the only sensible way to look at life. Keep your delusions alive. 

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