DiDi Merriman (right) of Peel’s Salon Services brought Jan Oates’ Nails or Not Salon in Omaha, Neb., to my attention. I was in town for the Peel’s Fall Show. LaCinda Headings (center) met us for dinner.
OMAHA, Neb. – Cyndy Drummey, editor/publisher – Omaha is famous for several things: steaks that melt in your mouth, its insurance and financial industries, and Jan Oates’ manicure at Nails or Not Salon. The Jan Oates deluxe manicure starts with an at-your-car greeting from her home-based salon and doesn’t conclude until one hour later. A former home economics teacher, Jan converted a room in the front of her house, and not only does nails there, but she also has a thriving – in fact, award-winning – retail business. Against an entire wall of the room is one of the most impressive and professionally displayed retail “sections” you could hope to find in any nail salon – home-based or chain. And sitting opposite the retail area is the Highest Average Retail Ticket award Jan won from Peel’s Salon Services.
“What’s your retail philosophy?” I asked her, for clearly she had a program that worked because it was based in belief as much as business. She explained: “I spend at least 15 minutes of every service talking about product. No matter what service I’m doing or how long that client has been coming, I talk about product.” Jan’s procedure is brilliant in the way it uses such a variety of products: it enhances the sensation for the client, it allows the nail technician to show her product knowledge, and it opens up the opportunity to retail.
She starts with an analysis of the hands, nails, and cuticles, then start the cuticle softening step, using two different products. I’m sure that in the client’s mind the results are achieved by the combination of the two products. She does solid hand and arm massage with a heavy cream, followed by plastic wrap and heated hand mitts. Her polish process starts with a dehydration step, then one brand of product as a base, another brand of polish (which she chooses from near the retail area, keeping the client’s eyes on the product), and finishes with a top coat and a polish drying accelerator. The entire process concludes with a lathering of a high-end hand cream, also displayed on her table (with a price tag). Jan also shared how she rubs cuticle cream on her nails during her son’s baseball games, and usually ends up taking order for it from other spectators.
Jan’s husband Jerry also operates a home-based business, but their schedules and priorities rarely allow them to dine together midday or even to see each other. They’ve carved out a professional yet homey atmosphere that allows them to work at jobs they love and be near home and family at the same time. You don’t get the sense you’re in someone’s home (except when their daughter comes home from school and bounds in to greet her mom).