It was hard to be homesick when I got to reunite with so many nail friends.

It was hard to be homesick when I got to reunite with so many nail friends.

I recently returned from what I’m calling my Salon Fanatic Tour. I visit salons regularly as part of my job, and I genuinely love the experience — I am fanatical about the people, the service, the design, and the business.

Sitting at a desk can only teach me so much about the nail industry. The beauty of this tour is that it was eight days, 18 salons, and 2,730 miles worth of pure engagement. I wanted to meet our readers and potential readers and do something bold in the process. Here are a few of the things I learned based on the six states I visited:
> Gel-polish manicures are the most in-demand service
> Finding time to post to social networks (and understanding them) is a big challenge
> Yelp, word-of-mouth, and geo-tagging attract most clients
> More education (particularly regarding foot care) is highly sought after
> Nail techs still read print magazines (yay!)
> A lot of what I see at trade shows doesn’t necessarily reflect the trends in a salon
> Nail professionals and salon owners are very choosy when it comes to what collections they buy (there’s a lot of diversity in what is purchased depending on the type of salon)
> Filling a book is not always a struggle. Two of the salons I saw were expanding because business was so good, and the others seemed to run smoothly with minimal marketing or walk-in traffic.
> Signature services are what sets one salon apart from others on the same block. Fun, eye-catching experiences like a Patron Pedicure,
a champagne paraffin dip, or a pop-up art exhibit can lure clients in and keep them talking (and posting) about it.
> When it comes to retail, anything goes, including clothing
and photography, but handmade items from local businesses are a perennial favorite

While some of the salons I observed may be representative of that region, others may just be exceptions to the rule. It’s the passion we all have for nails that ultimately unites us. My sincerest thanks to those who opened their doors, books, and homes to me so that I could experience your hometown. You are why I am fanatical about this industry.

Do you want me to visit your salon? Email me at so that next time a NAILS editor is on the road, we’ll try and stop by.

You can read more about the tour here.

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