Money Matters

Aspiring Thomas Edisons

If you could invent something for the nail industry, what would it be? From nail art accessories to client-friendly table add-ons, your peers tell us some of their great ideas.

Working on nails can be done in a number of different ways, and each nail tech has her own favorite tools and methods. But inevitably, techs run into problems when they don’t have the right tools for a specific job. Clever and creative thinking pulls them through in such times. But NAILS thought it would be interesting to know what new inventions techs would love to see.

“If I could invent something, it would be a detachable headrest on my table for clients that fall asleep while I am doing their nails. Something similar to the headrests used on massage tables and chairs would be perfect because I have several clients that tend to nod off during treatments because of their stressful jobs.

Another invention I could use is something to protect my nails from having the corners filed off when I work on my clients. After putting a fresh set of nails on myself on Saturday. I always dread going in to work on Tuesday because I know by the end of the day my nails will already look like they are weeks old.’’

 Patti Dersch, EZ Flow Educator, St. Charles, Mo.

“My invention idea is a page turner for clients reading magazines while they are soaking their nails off in acetone. There would be two floor pedals, one to turn forward and one to turn back. I’ve been talking about this for years to clients and they wonder when I’m going to make it happen.”

Heather Hall, Digits Professional Nail Care, Rockford, Ill

“I would invent something to hold acrylic paint for nail art. It would be approximately 12 small pots that are easy to open and contained in a small area so it doesn’t take up much room. These pots would be airtight so the paints stay fresh. For five years I have searched for something like this and there isn’t anything to be found. I would love to invent it, but have no clue how to start.”

Rhonda Kibuk, The Purple Pinkie Nail Salon, Ford City, Pa.

“In 1985 I purchased an Electrocorp Nail Vent Tabletop air Cleaner (no longer in production), and I have since reworked it to vent to the outside. It works wonderfully. It is the best nail vent I’ve ever worked with and now that it vents outside it is perfect. If I had a salon full of nail techs I’d make one for each table. It pulls the dust and fumes right from the source and sends it all outside. There is definitely no odor problem in my little private salon.”

Linda Cusimano Clemmons, My Place for Nails, Tulsa, Okla.

“It would be great if the video effects crew from “CSI” could shoot a video about nail enhancements so I can show it to my clients. It would show a super-zoom view of the nail enhancement and then the “camera” would go inside the enhancement to show all the little crosslinked polymers-like giant tinkertoys all linked together. Then it would show a woman tapping her nails against a countertop, with a zoom shot to show how all the little tinkertoys get bounced around when that happens. Then it would go back to the woman as she uses her nail to scrub off the label on a bottle before moving back again to the interior of the enhancement. Back and forth it would go until you can see the little tinkertoys start to break down and then –snap-you see the lady break her nail.

All of this done in that cool “CSI” style video of course, so I could make my clients understand why I keep telling them not to chew on their nails, or tap them on things, or use them as tools. The video could help them understand how all these little things don’t necessarily break the nail, it just breaks down the polymers from inside the nail until one day-ping, there goes the nail. Then they won’t be able to come in to me with a broken nail and say, ‘It just propped off!

Maggie Franklin, Attitudes Salon, Visalia, Calif.

“I would like to invent a branding or stamping tool that makes interesting nail designs in acrylics. So far, all we can do on our own is find cool earnings and stick them in the back of pencil erasers. We put a layer of acrylic down on a nail tip, let it dry just a little, then stamp the earring’s design into the acrylic and pull it out. This works, but it is not very professional looking. I would like to invent a professional-looking tool that allows me to apply a wide range of art designs onto nails.”

Olivia Gordon, New Waves Salon, Lancaster, Calif.

“I’ve been thinking about this for years, and I think making a disposable one-time use nail repair glue tube would work great. As small as a toothpick, just turn the tab on one end to open and use one time, then throw it away when you’re done. Because it’s so small you could carry it in your purse. It would take up no room.”

Theresa Lawrence, The Ultimate Spa Salon, Madison, Wis.

“The nail industry badly needs a product to soak off gel nails that are cured under UV lights. At the present time the product requires hand filing every bit of the product off the natural nail. This takes an incredible amount of time and can be painful for the client.”

Becky Bence, Austin, Texas

“If I could invent something for the nail industry, it would be: A spring loaded brush for polish. You could still reach the bottom of the bottle but when you screw in the cap, a spring in the cap-end of the brush would compress and prevent the bristles from being bent on the bottom of the bottle.

A squeeze pen for polish. Squeeze a little and the polish flows down the bristles to apply more quickly.

Wendy Updegrave, First Class Nails,  East Lyme, Conn.


So what do you do if you have an idea for a great product? Many of today’s successful products first started out as ideas from everyday nail techs, who then worked hard to make their ideas become a reality. The most important things to remember while bringing an invention to life are, to believe in yourself, and to get a little background knowledge on the invention game. Here are some things to consider if you like to take your idea to the next step.

Be wary of the invention promotion industry. More than one invention promotion firm will register your idea and then give you the false impression that the invention is protected.

Do your own patent research. This can be done online or at several depository libraries across the country. There are several different kinds of patents, each with subtle differences.

Get a third party evaluation. Make a detailed drawing and a thorough written description and have the document witnessed by someone who understands the technology disclosed. Family members and investors are not recommended witnesses.

Think about creative financing. It takes a lot of money to go through the patenting process. Past inventors have obtained it in varying ways. Some save and then use personal finances, some obtain loans. While others seek out venture capital. Research these to find out which would best suit you.

If patenting is too expensive, consider licensing. Some do not want to deal with patent process, and opt to instead license their idea to another company. A license legally permits an inventor to have their product manufactured under the brand of a different company for a limited number of products. It is up to the two parties to formulate and agree to terms.

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