I've just finished my fourth week in the new studio, and it’s been going better than I ever expected! I've been so busy taking care of clients, learning new software, and handling retail that I haven’t even been out doing the marketing I planned. Despite that, the walk-in business has been pretty good, the retail has been phenomenal, and my existing clientele has really been raving about the new location.
It seems like I heard somewhere that for retail sales we want to aim at 25% of our service base as a benchmark. For the past year as a booth renter, I generally hit about 12%, with the occasional low month at 5 to 6%, and a high in December of 23%. Granted, all I was able to retail as a booth renter were nail care products and lotions. So far in the new studio, I’ve added a purse line, candles, and Yoga Sandals. In my first four weeks, my retail sales were 62% of my service base! It’s definitely time to bring in the next few lines! I also offered a few service packages, so between those and the retail sales, my ticket average for the first month is $65.88 – up from my prior one year average of $43.90. I expect that might level out at a somewhat lower number but am very pleased with the great start.
With so many changes (no receptionist, walk-ins, retail, shop care), I wasn’t really sure how my service times would suffer. I hate to be late, so I decided to buffer my service times on the schedule. Previously, I always added about 15 minutes to the actual service time to allow for clean-up, set up, and a quick stretch. To start, I added another 15 minutes to each service slot to allow for returning phone calls and any interruptions.
This system has worked beautifully, and in four weeks, I’ve only had one time where I started a few minutes late. Talk about being relaxed and enjoying my work! Then this week, it hit me – why on earth do we, as nail techs, feel like we have to work at breakneck speeds and schedule back-to-back-to-back appointments with no breaks? The classes we take encourage it – a fill for $40, 1 per hour, 10 per day, equals $400 per day, equals $2,000 per week, equals $100,000 per year… we’ve all heard or read similar scenarios. But how realistic is that? How many days, weeks, months, and years on end can we work like that? It occurred to me, in most industries, you don’t expect that of yourself, and certainly could never ask an employee to work like that!
I realized that as booth renters, our rent is generally based on how many days a week we work, and therefore if we schedule tight and work longer days, our overhead per service is lower. Also, as booth renters, we often lack the space and ability to expand our retail or other income avenues. My focus this first year will be to not only fill my service books, but to learn more about managing the retail side of the business so I can leverage my time and space more effectively.
— Candice, Panache Nail Studio, Stanwood, Wash.