I recently had a chance to visit with two of my BFFs — I'm allowed to have more than one BFF, aren't I?
I've known BFF Amber since 1987, and BFF Stacy since 1998. I think that's plenty of time for them to have developed a keen grasp of what I do. Unfortunately, both my BFF's don't actually live in the same zip code as I do and, as it turns out, even though they know what I do — they apparently don't really know what I do.
They think I do nails.
I hadn't seen BFF Amber in two years. She's been busy living far away and raising kids and working her butt off as a respiratory therapist, which means she does not get to have her nails done. Since the last time we had a chance to visit in person, I have re-opened my own salon on the fourth floor of an office building.
She grew up in the same town I currently live in. She knows what building I'm talking about. So she sort of wrinkled up her forehead and cocked her head to one side and said, "Do you get a lot of walk-ins in that building?"
Which made me wrinkle up my forehead and cock my head to one side and say, "huh?"
And, a few days later, when I was visiting with BFF Stacy, we had a similar conversation.
Which is when it occurred to me that they don't really spend much quality time with me talking about my career. They are both proud of my accomplishments and glad that I'm doing well, but they don't really understand the way I run my business.
They're familiar with the nail industry from street level. They see discount nail shops and day spas; they don't realize that there are nail techs like me all over the world, holed up in tiny office suites blissfully conducting our business one client at a pre-booked appointment time.
The don’t realize that I not only don't rely on walk-in clients to support my business, but I don't encourage walk-ins. I cultivate client loyalty. There are plenty of people out there that prefer the walk-in salon routine, and there are plenty of salons out there to accommodate them. But there are also many people out there who prefer a set schedule with the same nail tech — service after service, year after year. And I can accommodate about 60 of them. Everyone else will have to find their own secreted-away nail tech.
Anyway. I know it seemed to be news to BFF Amber that I don't want walk-in business. And it was news to me that she didn't realize that not all salons rely on casual passers-by for their bread and butter.
Sorry. This revelation didn't really materialize into any sort of plan to change the world. I just found it interesting to see my own job through the eyes of the uninitiated for a change.
I wonder if we all are surrounded by non-industry friends and relatives who don't really get who we are?