Nails 101: A Student Blog

Week 6: Thankful for Family (and Frustrated with Business)

by NAILS Magazine | November 29, 2010

The absolute best part of this week was that I got a much-needed five days off. I literally only had one client between Thursday and Sunday and was so happy to get time to clean my house, do laundry and take care of myself. Oh, and I also managed to celebrate Thanksgiving twice in one day and put up my Christmas tree.


School was two very busy days of appointments. I was booked very steadily with friends and family, which was very nice. I am officially halfway done with school and between the two days I was there I was able to stay busy enough to complete the remainder of half the operations I have as well. When I start this seventh week of school I am truly halfway done and very excited.


My 30th birthday is looming over my head and my wonderful mother has told me that she will chip in to helping me acquire some of the items I need to start this new side of my business. That’s a great birthday gift as far as I am concerned. I don’t really need anything otherwise. Since I got married about six months ago, there is little that I or my husband actually do need. I think we literally own every small appliance known to mankind.


I have been propositioned with the prospect to move my business out of the salon and into a private office. I am highly considering doing this. I do not use a receptionist to book or confirm my clients, for the last four years that has been part of my job. The pavement pounding and hunting down of new clients has also been something that I do for myself. I can’t count on others to sell me or to get clients for me. I have always relied on myself and rewarded my current clientele for referring their friends to me. I love working in the salon, but being the esthetician/CMT that emerges from her darkened cave once every hour to clean up and take the next client doesn’t do much to help me become a part of the rest of the salon. I also spend a lot of evenings locked into the salon by myself.


I do understand that with gaining my manicuring license it will allow me to be in the salon during more normal hours and allow me to establish better working relationships with the other women I work with. I am, however, uncertain that I will actually gain very much as far as clients from this. In some of the instances where I have talked to the clients in the salon they are grateful that I will be there to offer full nail services, but their enthusiasm quickly wanes when I tell them that I will be charging more for pedicures then the little nails-only place down the street. When I mention that I am going to be using high-quality products, I only receive blank stares. I work in a hair salon that charges women over $100 for a cut and color. I charge $70 for a facial that lasts between 60-75 minutes depending on the service performed. Is it truly unreasonable to charge $35-$45 for a pedicure, especially as an independent contractor?


It is very disheartening. Working in a private office I can cultivate the clients that respect my business and value that they are getting the best service for their money. Not cheap products and a half-assed leg and foot massage. Sorry for my straightforward bluntness, but this is an issue for me. I do understand that we are in a recession, but there are still people out there that value good service and are willing to pay for quality. My current clientele would think I lost my mind if I charged $20 for a pedicure, which by the way is what the school charges! I can’t charge student prices as a working professional!


I know that I talk a lot about my current clients and taking care of them, but I am always looking for ways to attract new clients. I do plan on offering discounted introductory nail services for all perspective nail clients. I plan to give incentives off the bat to get them to re-book and become regulars. I think that I may have just come to a point in my career where working in a small office where I have the ability to truly be the owner of my destiny is where I am in terms of my business.


I understand that this week my blog has almost nothing to do with school, but this is the challenge that I am facing as a current professional in this industry that is adding new skills to her bag of tricks.


The enclosed photo this week is of my family: my parents, husband, my brother and his wife. I am so thankful for all of their love and support. My life and my business would not be what it is without them.


— Karyn

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