Q&A

Reader to Reader: Is it wise to create a social, stay-and-chat type of environment for clients in the salon?

Q.

Is it wise to create a social, stay-and-chat type of environment for clients in the salon?

A.

Creating a comfortable environment for guests encourages retail sales as they linger. Also, a new guest will assume the salon must have regulars and is a quality service provider. We chose a nail bar — a communal table — at 10Ten as a way for clients to chat with their friends. We’ve hosted book clubs, bridesmaid parties, honeymooners, staff meetings and celebrations, and family reunions. – CICI COFFEE, 10Ten Nail Spa, Atlanta

I’ve found a social salon atmosphere to be a trade off. You can quickly lose the serenity of a spa environment when you add “chat” to it. Plus, it’s often difficult to monitor the appropriateness of a client’s conversation. And, space is expensive, so guests who linger are taking up space I could put another paying guest in or display more retail in. However, I feel if your client enjoys your environment enough to want to stick around, then that’s a great compliment! There’s not a “one size fits all” answer. – JESSICA MAHLER, Painted Red Nails, Osterville, Mass.

I think it’s important for the success of your business to create an environment where clients feel they can hang out. Getting your nails done shouldn’t be a chore, rather something you enjoy doing. When a client feels like it’s a “stay-and-chat” atmosphere, they’re more likely to bring friends along, which means more income for the salon. One very important thing to keep in mind is you must always create a good balance, whether you’re going for a more quiet space or a more social, chatty space. – REHAM BASTAWROS, Nail Garden, Studio City, Calif.

Women today are in need of places to socialize, so I think it’s wise to create this space in your salon. We have a sitting area up front where clients can hang out; plus our manicure, pedicure, and drying stations are all in the same area to accommodate friends who want to sit together (even if they’re getting different services). When clients book the salon for a party, we charge a facilities charge, which is billed by the hour, so in that sense, there’s an additional charge when people linger during parties. – JANE PARK, Julep Nail Parlor, Seattle

I think you should chat with your clients while you’re performing their service, but not have them stay too long after they’re done. It can create a hectic environment in your shop if you have a lot of people sitting around chatting, and it also takes away from the attention you need to give your other clients. – D.J. BEAL, Sassy Nail Salon, Gettysburg, Pa.

Over the years many of our standing clients have become friends and look forward to hanging out and talking. The regulars always pull new clients into the mix and make them feel more comfortable. We are the women’s version of getting a beer with the guys! – MICHELLE CLINE, All About Nails, Virginia Beach, Va.

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