Veteran nail techs have seen significant changes in the nail industry, and they may fear the best years are over. However, growth is still possible when you stretch yourself and your business to meet the demands of the new customer. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself.
One strength of the nail industry is that there is room for everyone. The number of different ways to change yourself and your business are as numerous as the number of techs. Whether you decide to meet the new demand by expanding your menu or your entire salon will depend on what goals you have for your career. But don’t let the changes scare you. Think back to when you first got into nails. Do you remember people thinking you would never make money doing nails? I guess you showed them.
Do it again.
The New Customer
Who are these new customers, and what do they want? Depending on the demographics of your town, you may be able to tap into one or all of these potential “new” markets. Think creatively. It’s likely that many clients will fit more than one of these profiles. Once you’ve decided who you’re going to target, get the word out through clients, social networking, and other local businesses to let potential clients know that your salon has a service that will meet their needs.
This client likes her nails to announce she has a fun and flamboyant side. She might love stiletto nails, she might like glitter or mylar, or she might like hand-drawn art. You don’t need to have natural drawing ability to attract this client. Many resources are available to help the tech satisfy the client who wants to use her nails as a canvas.
An “all-natural” client may be one who wants -certified organic products, or it could be someone who simply wants a beautiful manicure on natural nails. It may even be a client who is willing to have enhancement product applied to her nails as long as her nails still -appear completely natural. To -attract this client, techs can expand their natural nail services. One service may include manicure and pedicure services that use -organic products, another might be a mani-pedi -combo, a third could be a service intended to help -clients grow their natural nails after enhancements. Soak-off gel nails or Minx nails may also appeal to this client.
Out With a Friend
This client, like the spontaneous client, thinks of booking the nail -appointment because it seems like a good idea at the time. Often booked as a natural-nail service, the appointment is used as much to feel pretty as for a time to catch up with a girlfriend. This client chooses the salon over (or in addition to) a cup of coffee or lunch with a friend. The benefit to the tech is that this client focuses on her friend, not on you. An idea to accommodate this customer is to expand the pedicure area to include multiple booths and offer a variety of price points for services. Since this client isn’t in a rush to get out of the salon and needs little interaction, a talented tech could work on both clients at the same time.’’
Just the Girls
This client wants the nail salon to be a destination for herself and her girlfriends. It could be a girls’ night out, -complete with drinks and snacks, or it could be an event for teenagers where the music is turned up to make the salon feel like a party. Another “just girls” market is the young diva birthday party. Ideas to attract this client would be to promote times when the shop can be booked after hours; for example, on Sunday afternoons or Friday evenings. To get things started, book an after-hours party to promote your -retail products or as a way to thank loyal -customers with an -“invitation-only” event.
This client doesn’t want to map out her life weeks in advance to commit to an appointment time. If she’s having a hard day, she wants to walk into the salon and relax with an -impromptu mani or pedi. To accommodate this client, -develop an atmosphere that welcomes walk-ins. This might include having techs “on-call” for certain hours so they can be at the salon within 15 minutes, or it might help to offer walk-in specials at certain times of the day, for example from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. or 3 p.m.-6 p.m.