For techs who live and work in populations under 55,000, the challenges of finding and retaining a full clientele can be balanced by the personal relationships formed and small-town kindness shown by area residents.
“If I had a nickel for every time I scheduled an appointment at the bank, I’d be a rich woman,” says Erika Terzani, a nail tech in Fort Morgan, Colo., population 11,000. “Being in a small town, you run into clients all the time, which can be beneficial from a business standpoint because you get to remind them to make an appointment, but on the flip side it becomes difficult to actually get away from work.” Such is a common sentiment among small-town techs across the U.S. From coal-mining towns in the West to antebellum-origin streets in the South, it’s likely that a fully active nail technician is out there somewhere, working away on a happy-handed clientele. She’s there with her own marketing plans, her own way of keeping her menu fresh while adhering to the comforting classic desires of her clients, and her own way of educating herself and keeping her skills tight and sharp.
In a way, these techs are the “everyday” nail technician. The nail tech next door. The nail tech in every town who has chosen to make her living behind a manicuring table so she can support her family and her community — and be proud of it.
In its heyday, more than 500 million tons of coal were shoveled out of Walsenburg before its quarries closed. The town encompasses no more than two-and-a-half square miles near the entrance to Lathrop State Park and its lakes of prudent fish, but on the corner of Albert Avenue and 7th Street, Darla Henninger-Haught’s BloomingNails has the customers biting. “The first thing I did when I opened my salon was join the Chamber of Commerce,” says Haught. “I do gift certificates, fliers, and of course word of mouth, which has been a great way to spread the news about my pedicures, which rock.” Since turning onto the Young Nails brand, Haught has been doing acrylic sets and even getting clients to try out glitters and colored French looks.
Currently Haught hasn’t had to compete much for business and she’s had great success with her moderate pricing and above-par leg massages. “I really wish I could find someone to booth-rent from me,” says Haught. “I have to turn people away quite often.”
And as her community supports her, Haught also helps support her community. In her first year open, Haught gave $5 off any service if customers brought in a toy, which resulted in more than 75 kids in Huerfano County getting gifts that year.