One of the first companies to specialize in nail jewelry, this Southern California firm is the focus of Nails Magazine's June Cover.
In a light, entertaining interview, Karen Ozcan recalls the "early days" and explains the trends that have shaped her company and product.
This lack of communication within the salon field in general, with her profession as a licensed manicurist and with the latest in products, equipment, techniques in particular, have proved an ongoing frustration from the outset.
Despite all these obstacles, Rudisill finally was able to open The Emery Board in Charlotte, North Carolina, in July, 1981, as a licensed manicurist and today employs two full-time licensed manicurists, is cramped for space, has a steady flow of customers, yet still finds she must maintain a constant personal search for information about her field.
The shop is located in a small commercial building in the southeast section of the City of Charlotte, on one of that city's busiest through streets. She is adjacent to a beauty salon, yet has the autonomy of her own space, and shares the front/ rear parking lots the building affords with all other tenants.
"I simply can't totally understand why it still is so hard to get into the mainstream of this industry," she declared. "I know its birthplace and still the strength at its core centers around the West but that still doesn't make sense when you figure our Charlotte market area numbers over 400,000 people."
Rightly, Rudisill contends a potential customer base of that magnitude in a section of the South recognized nationally as one of the fastest growing on a mid to high demographic level certainly should be pedicures pretty much seasonal here thus far."
While pleased with the two licensed employees she presently has. Rudisill admitted both came directly from beauty school, freshly licensed and with little experience.
"I hope with any future people I hire I don't have to go this same route, for the o-j-t is costly, time-consuming and very difficult in a small, busy shop like mine," she explained. Reflecting, "But when you consider the chance of finding someone who is experienced are pretty slim around here, I really can't expect things to change very much in the future."
Her employees work on straight commission and use brands Rudisill selects. "We talked brands over when they first came and compromised on what we'd all use," she explained. "I just didn't want to get into trying to keep each of our brands separate, so I've made all the buying decisions for all of us from the day I opened,"
A firm believer in continuing education, Rudisill urged industry leaders to strive for more widespread ongoing education programs "that would be made available to those of us already licensed with established businesses regardless of where we're located."
She feels the combination of this and more stringent, enforced control and regulation of qualifications for salon operations can make the industry remain healthy and grow nationwide.
"Without these, it will die," she concluded.