A letter from an old friend causes me to reflect on what's changed ... and what hasn't.
Nail technician Donna Bassano wrote me an e-mail recently about dropping out of the nail business and the possibility of dropping back in. Here’s what she said:
I have been a hiatus for a few years, yet every time I read your magazine I feel the pull on my heartstrings to jump right back into it. I’ve worked behind the table, moved on to management, and traveled extensively as a manufacturers representative to all the thrills and chills of beauty shows around the world. I write you to seek out what your own personal thoughts would be on coming back to this industry after being out of it for five years? I’m out of the loop, but I know I have a lot to offer.
Donna, the business has changed in the last five years—some for the good, some for the bad. But if you once loved nails for the sake of it—for the creativity, the connections, the fun—then those things harken you back.
There are more services out there to offer your discriminating clients, who are the ones willing to pay for them. There are nifty new tools that speed the processes that were laborious five years ago. Our industry’s experts have researched the chemicals you work around and have discovered more about working safely (if you’re willing to listen!).
You’ll notice some changes in your choices of beauty distributors. For one, there are fewer of them, and they carry fewer nail items. These last few years have seen the survival only of the fittest manufacturers and most necessary products.
Your clients have gotten used to being able to stop by a salon at any hour and get a fill, usually for a bargain price. They might have a little attitude about nail salons because they don’t want to catch some disgusting disease when they come in (the news has been warning them that they risk life and limb by stepping into a nail salon).
You’ll never believe how much information is available on the Internet for nail techs! You left when Beauty Tech’s Nailtech list was just budding. Now you can pop in there and chat with anyone from anywhere in the world on any subject.
Anyhow, what do I say to someone who invested 12 years of her life in the nail business and took a break? Come back. We need you. You have experience, knowledge, a sense of the business’s history, and—from what I can tell in your letter—real passion. Come back and help the next generation of nail techs.