Business Management

Silence Is Golden (And Other Rules Nail Techs Live By)

Like any other profession, the nail industry has its share of unwritten rules. We talked to 10 nail techs and got their opinions on everything from stealing to gossiping.

We all know the Ten Commandments, or at least some of them: Do not lie, do not steal, honor your parents, Regardless of your spiritual bent, these are still some pretty good rules to live by. The nail industry is no exception when it comes to following an informal code of ethics. In fact, there are just some things that nail technicians wouldn’t dream of doing. We talked to 10 techs from across the U.S. and Canada and got their views on everything from gossiping in the salon to dealing with manufacturers and distributors.

Coveting Another Nail Tech’s Work

All of the nail techs we spoke to were adamant about acknowledging someone else’s work. “We all have our strengths and weaknesses in our work,” says Della Accardo of The Nail Palace in Clovis, Calif. Accardo says that she once worked with a tech whose flower nail art was extraordinary. Although Accardo was great at airbrushing, her nail art was not up to par. Her fellow nail tech patiently worked with her until Accardo finally mastered the technique. “It took a long time but when I finally mastered flowers, I was able to take credit and acknowledge her help,” she says.

Michelle Palmer of Nail Depot II in Camdenton, Mo., works with two other nail technicians, and they all respect each other’s differences. “We have a saying in the shop: ‘It takes three to make a whole.’ We are different in many ways and I believe that in our salon we appreciate and thrive on each other’s talents as we all differ in many areas,” Palmer says. Among them, she says, there is simply no room for jealousy or envy. “We work together for the same goal: to make a living in an industry we love and want to help grow,” she says.

Some think nail techs are just plain jealous of others and wouldn’t even dream of handing out a compliment. Sue Fabian of Nails by Sue in Clinton Township, Mich., once worked with a nail tech who had a hard time praising others. “I think it was almost a jealousy thing, even though she did some nice nail art herself,” Fabian says.

No Stealing, Borrowing, Or Snooping

Stealing. Yes it’s wrong, but sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. Typical scenario: You’re busy with a client and suddenly realize you’ve run out of base coat. What’s a tech to do? You can’t run out and buy a new bottle, so is the next best thing to grab your coworker’s brand new bottle and pray she doesn’t remember she had one in the first place? “Stealing equipment and supplies makes for a very unhappy work environment,” says Della Diver of Heart’s Desire in Indianapolis. Constantly borrowing products is also not high on anyone’s list of virtues.

“If you’re in dire need of something, then it’s OK to borrow this time, but don’t do it again tomorrow. Our equipment is like our personal property; it’s like borrowing someone else’s glasses,” says Andrea Randolph of Nail De Andrea’s in Port Jervis, N.Y. Randolph also has strong opinions about nail techs snooping through a coworker’s manicure table. “I don’t like anyone at my desk,” she says. “I have things right where I want them and I know where they are with my eyes closed. I know in a second when someone’s been there.”

Jean Titus, owner of Finger Paints Nail Care Salon in New City, N.J., makes sure that all of the stations at her salon are equipped with the same products. “If one station is vacant for the day, another tech can accommodate a quick repair without forcing her clients to play musical chairs,” she says. Titus requires each of her nail techs to purchase her own nippers, clippers, acrylic brushes, and art brushes. If a tech repeatedly forgets her required supplies, she will not be able to perform certain services and Titus will dock her wages or send her home without pay.

To Work Or Not To Work

At one time or another, most nail techs have dealt with rude clients. Some forgive and forget, others make sure to never service them again. But what happens when a client arrives for her appointment with extensive damage on her nails, yet still insists on having a service done? “There are times when it is not in the best interest of the client to service her, no matter how agitated she may become,” Diver says. “I believe this is the most important commandment because we protect the client from further nail damage.”

Diver says that new clients who have not been educated are the ones who usually come in

Keywords:   professionalism     team-building  

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