I often get requests for referrals in far away places — places that far outreach my ability to refer myself.
I know a lot of other nail techs all over the world. I know a lot of them and I know of a lot of them. I know who’s good at gels. Who’s good at gel manicures. Who’s good at acrylics — duckfoot, stiletto, edge, pipe, and standard lengths and shapes. Who rocks polish, who rocks rockstar. Who rocks 3-D and who rocks hand-painted awesomeness.
If someone happens to need a referral in one of the areas where any of these gurus of amazingness happen to practice their craft, I will happily point them to the one who best matches their needs.
But despite the number of techs I know, in all the places where they work, I don’t have a referral for every person who needs a good tech in every location.
The Internet is filled with referral sites and systems of every sort imaginable now, and yet people still appear from out of the woodwork to ask me — little ol’ me — where they should go in order to get quality nail care. And I don’t always know what to say to them.
I can look up a salon on Yelp or Facebook or even various industry-specific referral sites. But so can they. They ask me because they trust my recommendation.
So I take making those recommendations pretty seriously. Which means that I have a hard time making them, because I need to know more about a fellow pro than just seeing a portfolio of great looking nails.
I need to know that that pro is disinfecting implements. Is following the rules and regs for the state she practices in. I need to know that that tech has a working understanding of product chemistry and can turn out nails that last from fill to fill — without relying on aggressive filing or MMA. I need to know that the tech I’m referring can address the issues that the client is experiencing.
But nobody’s Yelp reviews tell me — or anyone else — these things.
The industry needs a referral site that addresses more technical issues than just “I do great nails and I’m clean about it.”
We could start by putting these things on our Facebook pages. Mention our advanced education certificates on our websites and stuff. We tend to write our bios for clients, trying not to overwhelm people with details they might not care about or understand. But, it turns out, clients aren’t always the only people looking us up online.
It would be great if someone, somewhere, created a really trustworthy referral site. But until then, we could help each other out by making our credentials more accessible.