Nail services are being heralded as the “hot” growth area in the corning months and years by a large number of people, an attitude that was evident in the excitement and optimism at the annual International Beauty Show in New York City in mid-March.
The show drew record crowds, filling the aisles and exhibitor booths, as well as seminars, educational sessions and events.
This year’s nail competition, with entries in four categories, drew a large crowd of enthusiastic and imaginative competitors.
A quasi over-the-counter buying show, this year’s show found numerous attendees spending a lot of money and time looking at not only familiar products, but many new product lines as well.
What emerged most clearly overall, however, was the mounting impact nail services are having on salons, manufacturers and service-oriented companies. Many nail-oriented products exhibited at the show were “new” items to conventional beauty shop owners and managers who were looking to expand into the nail field.
A complete beauty show, there were dozens of exhibitors displaying all kinds of nail care products, equipment and salon furniture, plus specialized management, educational, professional and business services. Uniforms, apparel and even gifts were also featured.
Several attendees and exhibitors took time out to discuss the latest colors, fashions and finishing trends for nails. The directions were far from unanimous, reflecting yet again the unique personal and regional directions governing the nail industry.
“We can suggest the newest polish colors or jeweled looks, but the customer ultimately calls the shots for most occasions, an operator from Upper Montclair, New Jersey, noted in a comment echoed repeatedly during the show.
On the same point she observed, “Whether the regular customer does or doesn’t end up with a high fashion color or nail styling, she still expects us to have it available and offered to her.”
Because of this, most nail professionals were searching the show for just about everything connected with nails, as well as getting a total overview of hair styling and skin care directions.
Where hair styling is concerned, many felt temporary hair color (expected to increase its market share more than 300 percent in the coming year) might prove to be an important element in the direction nail care takes.
“I can see many customers wanting to match their nails to a new hair color they’ve just had done for a special party or event,” a Fairfield, Connecticut, technician indicated. “Because of that, I should know as much as possible about what the hair color companies plan to promote, plus the skin care people, or I’ll lose customers, and my credibility as an upscale salon will really get clobbered,” she added.
In essence, comments indicated that nail services and customer preferences will be closely tied to several other industries, including hair, skin and apparel, in the coming seasons.
Also of growing importance to nail salons is the increasing potential for add-on profits and higher margins possible from expanding salon operations to include gifts and retailing nail-related products. (See related seminar story.)
Of more than 50 nail care exhibitors at the show, approximately half introduced new products or concepts. The remainder zeroed in on educating attendees to their products and services, clearly showing a strong realization that specifically manufactured products and equipment for nail care services are the key to continued success for salons and technicians in the industry.
All agreed that the haphazard approach to any aspect of this business, whether in salon operation, techniques, products, merchandise mix, etc., is the certain road to bankruptcy. Janet Greenberg, president of Charni Cosmetics, Inc., is typical of those emphasizing that success comes best from a policy centering around a long-range plan with an overview to the entire business.
In two booth areas on separate floors, her staff kept busy showing 105 shades of new lipsticks matching her nail enamels and offering the operator an opportunity to be both a technician and a profitable retailer.
Geared specifically to the traveler are Charni’s new ¼-ounce nail enamels and strengtheners, offered in 24 seasonal shades. “Not only is this great for the traveler, but it also serves as a beautiful giveaway or promotional gift for the salon operator,” Greenberg explained.
“We’re constantly developing new products, creating lots of promotional and display ideas. That’s vital, since we do not want to be just a supply company; we want to be specialists,” Greenberg said in explaining her philosophy for the nail business. Greenberg likened such corporate philosophy to what she terms “the sophisticated salon ... one that zeroes in on everything cogent to nails to achieve status as a specialty services salon.”
Lynn Dohr of H&H Ltd. took much the same approach in her booth, saying she believes that “a nail salon cannot expect to sell what it doesn’t display and what operators don’t wear themselves.”
For her, gold nails and nail guards were moving extremely well, both with current accounts and new customers. “Manicurists are realizing a good return on investment with gold today by showing their customers how expensive the look is without heavy costs,” she said.
Like several, Dohr reported natural and medium looks are coming on strong with customers today as opposed to the extra-long looks. A Manhattan salon operator noted, “Daily wearing of extra-long nails are strictly a younger girl’s choice. Working and professional girls request them now strictly for a special event or really major moment in their lives, but not for regular wear.”
The new patented Gem Exotica line was a winner for Sashiba Nail Products. Robert House, vice president, said, “We were 65 percent sold out at the close of the first day of this show, so that tells us this hotter, glitzy, showy look is something East Coast salons have been seeking.”
At Jumpeer Nails, Robert Fadil reported air brushing was drawing crowds who wanted to learn about this concept. “Once they understand its speed and practicality, salons want to get into it, so we find taking the time to explain it is well worthwhile.”
Like most, he lauded the show, noting that although the aisles were packed much of the time, the overall organization made things move more smoothly than in the past.