Maggie Rants [and Raves]

Bradford, Pennsylvania

by Maggie Franklin | February 2, 2009

That's where the BF's family is from. (How am I supposed to say that? Any way I form that sentence to NOT end in a preposition, it sounds stupid!) It's an itty bitty town on the northern edge of Pennsylvania and, occasionally, the BF talks about moving there.


I, for the record, love moving. Not the tedious part where you have to pack all your worldly possessions into boxes and cart them around, but the part where you get to travel to a new place and start all over. I like redecorating a new space, I like learning the layout of a new town, I like finding a new favorite grocery store and new favorite restaurants ... I just like to change things up now and then.


My mom says I get this from my father (whom I have never lived with). Back in his day he was also quite nomadic.


Of course, it's tough to find a BF who wants to live in an Airstream trailer and never stay in one spot more than a couple of months, and it's even tougher to build a business doing nails if this is your lifestyle. Let's face it, something has to give. I chose nails and BF over Airstream.


Still, if the BF decides to move back to his parents' hometown, I've looked into it and I think I can make it work.


Which brings me round to my day's pondering: The BF's dad recently treated us to a short, but discouraging, accounting of how he sees the economy and our jobs and our chances of making a living outside the state of California. This included an admonishment that no one wants their nails done in Bradford, Pa. … or Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.


There are places all over these United States — and the rest of the world — where there might not be enough business to support a nail tech, let alone several, but those places are increasingly coming to my attention as being very few. Most towns with even a couple of thousand people can support at least one salon, especially a savvy nail tech who is willing to market her services and prices in accordance with the population.


What the BF's parents don't understand about what I do is how universally appealing my services are and that my earning potential doesn't diminish if I move to an area with less competition — it improves. Last time I looked, there were at least four salons operating in the town of Bradford. That suggests to me that someone there wants their nails done.


Thing is, there are a lot of people who don't understand what I do, or why I'm able to make a living doing it. A lot of people see nails as a frivolous waste of money and they have a hard time believing there's enough business to go around. Or they have a really hard time understanding that I can build a clientele and stay employed when I'm up against 20 discount salons that charge half what I do and don't require appointments.


These people are often the same people who refuse to step foot in a Wal-Mart because they prefer to buy "quality" products. Hmmm.  Just because you don't want to spend your money on something, doesn't mean there's not enough other people who want it to keep someone who does it in business.

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