Maggie Rants [and Raves]

If Only There Was a Test

by Maggie Franklin | November 12, 2010

There's a little newspaper-style publication that gets sent out to salons in California called California Stylist. Apparently they have them in other states too, and I have a series of thoughts concerning the publication itself, but my point in bringing it up at all is that I just got mine for this month yesterday and it has an article by Jaime Shrabeck in it.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with Jaime and her seminars, I suggest you Google her up and get on her mailing list. Jaime does a series of classes focusing on business; namely, she is well-known for her "I'm Not Your Nail Girl" lectures and philosophy.

It's fair to say that Jaime and I often represent differing philosophies on the industry and how best to be a part of it. Nevertheless, she's a brilliant businesswoman with extremely relevant points of view on our business and how to be successful in it. The article she wrote for California Stylist was a great read about setting oneself apart from negative stereotypes of the average "nail girl" and gave some excellent points about how to set about doing so.

Her article fell across my line of vision at the perfect time, as just this week I have picked up three new clients who have defected from their regular nail techs of several years.

Why? Because they are unhappy with their nails. Plain and simple. And they feel that they've given her an appropriate amount of time to account for any "funk" she might have been going through — but they are still unhappy with their nails. And I got to take a good, long look at them myself and, OH MY, I'd be unhappy too! In fact, I have not seen nails this poorly done in years.

It's always difficult to sit with a new client who really wants to still be with her old tech. It's difficult to point out what it is that is technically wrong with her nails without making her feel like you are bashing the old tech on a personal level, but I think it's important to try to point out that it's not just a matter of looks — these nails were done poorly, no matter how nice the tech might be.

And it left me thinking about all the times I have heard someone blame their lack of business on "the economy," or "all the competition out there these days," or whatever they come up with that makes them feel better so they don't have to face their colleagues and say, "I'm just not that good."

But face it — not everyone is good enough at doing nails to make a living doing nails! I've said it before; sometimes people fail in this business because they lack the technical skills, sometimes it's a personality issue, sometimes it's horrifically bad business sense, but people fail in this business all the time.

Nevertheless, sometimes — like when these three new clients came in — I think someone, somewhere, ought to stand up and say to these techs, "You're just not that good!" And it amazes me that there are veteran nail techs in this business who continue to charge money to turn out such inadequate work.

And then I read Jaime's article, and I cannot agree more with her statement: "...if you do not have the aptitude and inclination to do professional-quality work, find yourself something else to do."

Thank you! Well said! Now, if there was just some sort of test we could administer to detect the "aptitude and inclination to do professional-quality work." I know they made me take a test before I was admitted to beauty school, but somehow I just don't think being asked which shape is a circle goes far enough to determine what sort of future you might have in this industry.

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