Encouraging teamwork and mutual support, especially with new nail technicians, is essential to long-term salon success.
Teamwork is essential in the salon – coworkers often have to fill in for each other or take over a client. But teamwork is especially important to help new technicians learn the ropes and build their clientele. Although the new technician herself has the responsibility to promote herself and gain clients, the help she receives from her supervisor and coworkers will go a long way toward helping her get established.
New team members need to be cultivated and nurtured before their talent can truly shine through.
“Our basic philosophy is that if our nail technicians are successful, the salon is successful” says Robin George, owner of Nail Works in Akron, Ohio. “We all work with each other at the salon – it’s not this client is mine and that client is yours, she’s all of ours.”
Since some technicians can be protective of clients the minute they walk through the door, Linda Elmore, owner of Illusions Professional Nail Care in Lafayette, Ind., emphasizes to her staff that when clients walk into the salon “We’re all a group and we all work together. We help each other out if someone is running behind.” Elmore is quick to point out that everyone in the salon shares responsibility for mistakes.
Says George, “If one of my standing appointments comes in and I’m running behind, I have enough confidence in a new technician to let her begin the service until I’m ready for the client.” New technicians at George’s salon handle overflow and referrals.
The same overflow system in place at Elmore’s salon. In addition to overflow, new technicians at her salon service walk-ins. “I tell a new tech to hand out business cards wherever she goes and I also send out fliers introducing her and offering a discounted service with her to solicit new clients,” says Elmore.
At the Nail Place and Boutique in Romeo, Mich., a new technician is not left to her own devices to generate business. When she is hired she spends the first two to three weeks observing other technicians while they work and getting to know the clientele.
“As part of the training process,” says Brenda Choike, Nail Place owner,” the new tech does a number of clients’ nails at no charge, including the staff’s nails, so we can see what type of work she does and offer any suggestions.”
To keep the new technician busy between clients, Choike has her do inventory or supply work until she builds up a clientele. All of the technicians at the salon put in a good word about the new technician to clients. “There is no such thing as ‘This is my customer’ at the salon,” emphasizes Choike, who speaks from past experience. At the salon where she used to work, there was a lot of competition for new clients and Choike swore that that would never happen when she opened her salon.
Another way to bring along new technicians is to have them start out assisting the established technicians. By doing so, the new technician observes the skills of a veteran who has honed her skills after years of practice. This allows the new technician to continue to perfect her own technical skills and artistic talent. Also, by listening to the conversations the veteran technician has with clients, the assistant masters essential communication skills.
To keep everyone in the salon informed at the same level and keep morale high, Choike holds staff meetings once a month where staffers air any complaints or suggestions. If her staff can’t meet all together, she talks to them individually. “I encourage my staff to come to me if they have any problems, because if I hear it from someone else, I won’t be too happy,” she says.
Choike buys lunch for her staff once a week as a morale-builder, and if the salon has a really good week, she might also treat them to dinner after work. At Choike’s salon, the team that works together, plays together. “We socialize a lot outside of work and love to play practical jokes on each other,” she says with a grin.
George shows her appreciation for her staff by buying them expensive gifts for their birthdays and throwing an annual blow-out Christmas party, complete with limousine and presents. Her staff is so committed that in the 4½ years she has been in business, she and another technician have missed only one day each due to illness.
“I treat my staff so well that they don’t want to go somewhere else,” says George, who has had only two turnovers since she opened.
Whatever your background and experience may be, the age-old adage, “All for one and one for all,” should definitely be the motto among nail technicians for the general well-being of the salon and its clients.