This morning the BF and I were discussing various merchants and their reasons for refusing to open locations in our area, or reasons why they no longer have locations in our area.
Here in Visa-ville we have a habit of getting snubbed by the major merchants we would really like to do business with. A shining example is Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's has been holding out on coming to Visalia. There are two locations in Fresno, and talk around the salon has focused on how much we'd like a Trader Joe's on several occasions — more often than you'd think a bunch of women would sit around talking about buying organic produce, really.
Currently there is another chain of stores in the same genre that is slated to build here, and they also want to set up a location in neighboring Tulare. One wonders if Trader Joe's will regret their decision to pass us over, as the portion of their demographic that has been driving all the way to Fresno chooses to stay closer to home and shop at the competition.
The nail biz is highly competitive. There are so many salons and individual licensees that it often amazes me that there are enough clients to go around. Maybe there aren't enough clients to go around? We spend so much time, energy, and even money trying to become more competitive in our field. Working on being better, using better products, having better education, providing better services in a better atmosphere — all to convince our target demographic that we are better than any other salon in town.
Spend any amount of time hanging out in Internet forums, chat rooms, tradeshows, and continuing education venues and you will get involved in dozens upon dozens of conversations that ultimately center on figuring out how to build a clientele, which pretty much requires filling the niche that your target market fits into.
Except, we keep not doing that. I see it over and over again — I'm even guilty of it myself! We just refuse to give our customers what they want. Then we get bent because someone else swooped in and "stole" them.
Well, maybe that tactic worked for the Soup Nazi. He got away with doing it all his way because he didn't have any competition. And maybe you do too. Maybe you are the BOMB nail tech in a 100 mile radius — or even the only nail tech — so they are lining up at your door and will put up with whatever BS you hand out. Maybe you built your clientele even though you are always running half an hour behind, or even though you smoke while you're doing nails, or even though you talk on the phone to your boyfriend and never talk to your clients, or even though you've been using the same nasty, worn-out file and buffer since the Reagan administration.
Or maybe, your clients have been continuing to come to you even though you don't do glitter tips, or even though you don't do stilettos, or flare nails, or gels, or sculpts — because they feel bad about leaving, or because no one else in town does those things either.
But what are you going to do when someone does start offering those services? How are you going to react when your clientele starts to dwindle because they just got tired of you not doing their nails the way they want their nails done?
The Internet is out there now, and your clients are seeing how many options there are in the nail world, and they want to try some of these options. And if you refuse to hook them up, they are going to go somewhere else! Believe me. I get new clients all the time who have left nail techs they have been going to for a long time because "she doesn't do nail art," "all she does are tips," "she doesn't do glitter," "all she does now is glitter." And I'm sure I lose clients because, "she doesn't work on weekends," "she doesn't let me bring my kids," "she makes me spit my gum out," etc.
We all have to set our standards and then suck it up and deal with the consequences. Frankly, if it's so important to bring their kids with them, then I am not the right nail tech for them. But ultimately, I had to rethink my position on those fugly-@$$ flare nails.