“Of paramount importance: quality and the ability, the creative ability to look at new products and to judge their viability.”
As a manufacturer of nail products, Nail Mate is in the business of providing the new and more efficient. Mel’s attitude, however, is that it is his responsibility to “put something back into the industry,” to help continue its forward evolution. It is not a responsibility he jumps into lightly, or quickly. Jokingly he admits that he may even be late in marketing a product. The delay in any final decision is based, partly on maintaining Nail Mate’s credibility.
“When we look at something different, we look at it from the attitude that it must have real viability. If it has multi-year stick-to-itiveness, we are interested. And once we have decided that and it does have creditability, does have longevity, is functional and that there is a place for it within the existing market, then we ask, ‘How can we improve on this product or concept.’
Usually, Mel adds, if you are objective enough there are ways to improve in terms of “what the product does, its efficiency, or by making it more accessible to the professional manicurist or nail artist.
As an example, Mel offered the background behind Nail Mate’s current move into a nail dip product offering.
“When we see something new coming along, like dipping for example, we ask ourselves, ‘Does dipping work?’ Absolutely. So then the next barrage of questions begin … can we improve on its format, can we make it simpler, easier, improve its educational format and potential, all without confusing the professional?
“The point is that we don’t go out and duplicate something just because it is selling … we wait, and wait, and wait, until the product or application can prove to be viable. Then we take the step of adding the Nail Mate touch.”
Clearly then, it was the style and commitment to the basics of market and product research that enabled Nail Mate to develop strength of products and market penetration. By fully understanding product, the needs of professionals, and understanding manufacturing techniques, Nail Mate made its mark first with their abrasives, through the highly successful gold emery board (the Gold Standard) and secondly through the offering of their nail brush line. It was marketing at its best and resulted in a recognition and success the firm was expecting.
“Yes, we feel that we have set industry standards, particularly in the abrasives,” said Mel, slowly, with a reflective tone that suggested a certain modesty. “The Gold Standard specifically. We did take the time, which was months by the way, before that product became a reality. But now because of our manufacturing methods and standards, we feel that the gold board has definitely become the standard for the acrylic industry.
“It is a superior, long lasting, ultra sharp surface that has proven to be the finest for acrylics. And its popularity attests to its long term credibility,” he added.
The nail brush was another area that generated early Nail Mate attention and one that developed into an extensive product offering, marketing and display commitment.
“Well, initially I was a little disappointed with the acrylic business to see how little emphasis was placed on the nail brush … and at the lack of understanding that all brushes are certainly not the same. It was an area that needed help, so we went after it.
“After doing our homework, we realized that there are basically two modes of application: One is the flat brush patting method and the other is the round brush rolling method. Almost every brand of acrylic has different conceptual ideas as to where to start on the nail or the nail form, but it is our feeling that while we don’t promote any one method we do insist they use a quality brush.” emphasized Mel.
Consequently, Nail Mate offers nail art brushes, a basic flat brush as well as three different round tipped brushes.
“We know the characteristics of bristling and the subtitles of different brushes and brush material, and have elected to use sable. It has the greatest resiliency to springing back and won’t hold product. It will pick it up and hold it, but with a slight bit of maneuvering will release it. These brushes provide the manicurist and nail artist with a quality, fundamental tool with which to refine their skills,” explained Mel.
The success of the brushes indicated by industry acceptance, provided Nail Mate with an opening to pursue their new sculptured nail product … a move that illustrates, Mel’s comments about his company: Why acrylics now … isn’t it a bit late?
“We feel that there is a place in the acrylics and powders market for us,” explained Mel, a very viable place. We also feel that the market has never been more receptive to it as a product, and fully realize the dramatic growth that is yet to come. Yes, we waited for the right conditions for our move, as well as the right quality of materials. We feel that we have them both, and look for long term success with our sculptured product.”
As the interview was wrapping up, Mel voiced a closing thought in regards to what he felt was the best way of describing his company:
“Sitting here where the buck stops, when we put out name on it, that pretty much means that to me, I have endorsed it. It means that I am saying that this product works and works better than any other like it out there now … otherwise I am not going to put my name on it.”
And what qualities should such products exhibit?
“Longevity in terms of durability, ease of use. They should also be somewhat exciting, that create a little stir in people,” added Mel.
But the important aspect of his firm and his style is that Nail Mate likes to think that they are “doing the right thing and doing it right.”
“Beyond that we are just a bunch of desks, telephones and people. People doing what they know to be right with a product that is right at the right time,” concluded Mel.