Welcome to the Nail Hub Podcast powered by NAILS Magazine, where you'll find all the business advice, motivation, and nail industry information you need to be a successful nail professional. I'm Elizabeth Morris, and thank you for joining me today.   I had a great time teaching at the Best Little Nail Show in Vegas, and very honored to have some individuals fly from out of town to be there at my class. So that was really cool. For those of you that weren't aware or weren't in attendance, I taught a business class in Vegas for the show and one of my biggest things that I'm gonna focus on for next year is really helping salon owners and individual nail techs to understand how to be profitable. I have touched on this a couple of times but one of my biggest concerns in our industry right now is just the fact that so many people are doing nails and thinking that they're making money. But at the end of every month, they have no money left over and they have to have friends, or family members, or their spouse chip in for supplies at the end of the month or they feel like they have to use their savings to run their business. And any of those things really is a sign of, you know, illness in your business. I mean, really, a business should be able to not only cover all the expenses to run the business but also have some profit left over so that you're able to put money aside, save it for a rainy day, and invest in your business and look forward to different things.   

And also one of the biggest topics that I talked about in my class was the fact that the expenses that your business pays for includes paying yourself. And this is something that I find happens a lot. I actually asked some questions during the class and one of them was, you know, "How many of you consider your tips as part of the way that you make ends meet at your business every single month?" And a lot of people raised their hands and I was very not shocked to see that because I know that's a big problem, but it's just a big reminder to all of us that if we're relying on our gratuity to run our business, I think there's a big problem. So I'm gonna be teaching a lot about this and I've got some stuff coming. So I'm gonna be sending out some cool tips and tricks on my email list and some, you know, Excel sheets and things that you guys can use that are pre-built to calculate how much you should be charging, the different things that go into the pricing. But to me, this is one of the biggest issues in our industry right now because if you guys aren't operating profitably, then how are you supposed to continue to be nail technicians, right?    And that has a big impact on everything. It has a big impact on manufacturers, it has a big impact on trade shows — your ownership and your ability to continue to do nails for your clientele, your health and happiness, and just the whole cycle of what the nail industry is. And so that's gonna be my biggest thing for next year. Obviously, right now, holidays are coming up. I cannot believe it's gonna be Thanksgiving soon. We've got Christmas right around the corner and all of the other lovely holidays that I know you all probably celebrate. Hanukkah for example, we've got New Year's coming, holy moly, I cannot believe how fast this year is coming along. So with that being said, things are gonna be slowing down here for the holidays, just across the board not for me necessarily, but I think in the industry, in general, things just tend to slow down a little bit when it comes to the activities that happen in the industry. Obviously, you guys with your clients are gonna be very busy doing all kinds of holiday wonderful nails for your clients. But this is also a time if you're to think about, are you prepping for next year?   

One of the tips I talked about in my class was using holiday time frames to boost your pricing and include, you know, simple things. And I actually just wrote an article about this in NAILS Magazine as well. So if you guys pick up your recent copy of NAILS Magazine for November, you'll see an article that I wrote in there about how to take advantage of holidays and how to add some extra income without adding a whole bunch of extra stuff to what you already have to do. But these are very important factors to think about which is we're gonna probably be raising prices during holiday time frames, we're gonna be adding a little bit of accouterment to our normal services. So maybe you offer hot cider, or hot chocolate, or warm neck wraps, or scented manicures and pedicures that have to go with the holiday season, and maybe you charge a premium for those.   

Well, why not take that and build upon that which is keep your pricing at that higher dollar amount and walk into 2018 being able to better cover a lot of your expenses. But the key to it all is really understanding what your expenses are first and I just recently... I've been working with a salon on this very topic. I consult with a lot of salons, but the salon, in particular, has been struggling so much with even getting me the numbers of what they spend. And they're sitting there going, "Hey Liz, you're asking us for all of this, you know, the money that we spend in these different categories. We have no idea how much we spend in each of these categories." And I'm thinking, "How could you not know?" I mean, but I think a lot of people are in this position which is maybe you're just working, you're so busy booked, you know, fully booked every single day, working moment to moment and you're barely able to wipe the spread of sweat off your brow, and 9:00 rolls around and you're peeling yourself out of your manicure chair and trying to go home.   

I know there's a lot of people that do this and you are fully booked and you are busy but what's the point of working that hard if you're not actually making any money doing it, right? Like, what? You're just working to work? I mean, yes, I know that we get basically punched in the head with that message all the time which is hard work, hard work. Well, yeah, hard work, great, but smart work is also really important and if you're not making any money off of each service, then you're not making any money off of all the services that you do every single month and the problem just gets bigger and bigger. So I wanted you guys to think about that. It is a balance for me as well which is when I have people to come pay for these types of classes and they make the effort to travel and do all that stuff, it's very difficult because I can't just turn around and give that same information away for free.   

But I am gonna be doing some online classes and some different things that you guys can get involved in from home and that way, I'm not basically giving something away for free that somebody else has paid good money for. And that's really important to me to hold that up because I don't want people feeling like they paid for it and then someone else doesn't have to. So anyway, fair is fair on that. So teaching that course was a big eye opener and I think it helped quite a few people. I actually had one salon owner come all the way from Colorado which I was like, "Wow, I cannot believe you flew in just for my class." It was amazing and the trade show itself was cool. There were a lot of different things there but I think the class aspect was really fun.  

I also have been working on a lot of ideas for the podcast and I hope you guys enjoyed my interview with Beth Livesay last time. That was really cool to talk about her Fanatic Tour. But one thing that got me thinking on top of this pricing issue which is a big hot topic for me is again, like I'm starting to see like this weird cultural shift across all businesses that I seem to go to. And I don't know if it's just me or maybe you guys feel the same way. But, for example, my husband and I went out to dinner last night, as kind of like a date night, and we went to a new sushi restaurant that we wanted to try. And I don't know about you, but I work a lot and I'm sure you guys too. You know, we all work, work, work and I don't even know how you guys do it to have kids because I work my butt off but I don't have kids. So it's like if I did, I don't even know how I would make time for that either. It's just nuts. I do have pets, but I mean, pets are not kids. So props to all of you who work and have kids.   

But anyway, we went out on this date night and I am always looking for kind of like a nice, relaxing evening, and like good food, and good ambience and I really look forward to eating out because to me, eating out is kind of, you know, it's something that is special. I mean I eat at home quite a bit, I'm working all the time, so it's like I live on basically Coca-Cola and coffee. Let's call it what it is. But when I do go out, I like to have a nice time and oh my gosh! I've noticed this, not just particular with this restaurant that we went to last night but most of the places that I visited recently, you walk in and you're immediately bombarded with noise. It's like not even like noise that makes sense. It's like there's crazy music playing over the speakers, there's, you know, no way to filter through the noise of the music that's coming over the speakers versus the people talking versus the outside noise.   

And this particular restaurant, it was like a trifecta. It was really busy so, of course, you have all the hustle and bustle of people being at the restaurant and, you know, the waiters and all that. But then you have the traffic driving outside on this nice patio area. So the patio was gorgeous, had these really cool lights and really, really nice atmosphere and we live in Arizona. So it's literally gorgeous at nighttime right now. Definitely warmer than it probably should be, but it's been beautiful. So we're looking after we're sitting on the patio with these gorgeous lights, nice ambience, really nice place, with nice food, very clean, everything. But I'm sitting here going, "Oh my gosh." Like this is crazy. I feel like I'm getting bombarded by all this noise in this restaurant that is supposed to be really nice, and is nice, is kind of rubbing me the wrong way because I'm not able to relax. I'm not able to enjoy myself. I can't hear anything. I can't hear my husband across the table from me. And I started thinking about the effect that this has also on our salons.  

Because I find that, I don't know, I mean I haven't really delved into research on this yet. This is just kind of a thought that I wanted to share with you guys. But part of me almost wonders like are we so tapped in all the time, or like are we...do we need to be distracted all the time? What's the real issue? So like we're constantly on our phones, if we're not on our phones, we're on a computer. For those of us that are nail techs, I mean we're constantly looking down at people's hands. And we even deal with a lot of noise, the beep our lamp, our e-file, all of that stuff. But it started me thinking like what's the point of putting a client in a chair immediately bombarding them with all of these noises, right? The clinking of tools and the e-file and the dust back that you use, and the lamp beeping, and all of that stuff. Plus, you add to that loud music.   

And whatever music you play, hopefully, it's relaxing. I don't know. I know some salons, they play like all kinds of different types of music. But I have to say, it's kind of this environment where I feel like clients, especially because I think most people these days work a lot, right? I mean it seems like everybody these days has to work a lot to make ends meet and to make the money that they wanna make and live the lifestyle they wanna live. And so wouldn't they be looking forward to kind of an escape? And are we really providing that escape? And the reason why I started thinking about this is because I was looking forward to an escape last night and instead, I got this really noisy, agitating experience out of it that even though the food was good and the place was really nice, I walked out of there going, "Oh my God, I just wanna go home. I'm so tired of being out."  

And so I was thinking about that from a client perspective like do your clients, you know, are they agitated by the noise level? Are you providing a nice experience for them? And again, it does depend on the type of business you run because if your business is known for being a specific thing, like maybe you're known for like urban style nails and you've got neon signage everywhere. Maybe for you, it's cool to have loud hip hop playing through the speakers and that's the type of clients that you attract. But I started thinking about like how I think most nail techs, you know, they want to attract these kind of upper echelon clients and that doesn't... there's really no linear thing between what type of music someone likes to listen to and like what socio-economic background they're from. I mean I love all music. Literally, I love all music and I think most people do but if you're looking for kind of those more calm clients, the...you know, I've always talked about how my favorite clients are older ladies because they're just so loyal to their appointments and they have money to spend and they're great at conversation. I never got along with the whole 19-year-old client because they couldn't keep their appointments. They were flaky. It just made life very difficult.   

Now, if you've figured out a way to do that, more power to you. But again, going back to this whole thing which is the type of experience that usually in a salon we provide is one of relaxation. I mean that's kind of the idea behind any salon is you're wanting to pamper the client, you're wanting to make them feel comfortable. You want to really make them feel relaxed and are we really providing that environment? I started thinking about that and I was like, "I don't know. I don't know if we are." And even down to the sheer amount of TV. So again, in Arizona, for example, it's a big sports place. I mean literally, everyone lives by the sports schedule on TV. And I'm sure there's lots of other states throughout the country that you guys live in that this is very similar. So any restaurant you go to, there's like 50 TVs. It's like everywhere you go, even like really nice places you go, and there's TVs everywhere. And I'm sitting there going like, "Gosh! It's so much." We're supposed to be enjoying conversation, we're supposed to be kind of escaping from our reality and having a nice meal and being able to talk and hang out and here we are bombarded by all these TVs.  

Add to that, the music, the people, the traffic, just the ambient noise. And I know a lot of salons, they like throw in a whole bunch of TVs and they throw in music and it's like you can barely even have a thought in your head. You're barely even able to concentrate or relax or have a conversation. So I guess I don't really know where I'm going with this because I don't really have an answer for you. But I wanted to bring this up because it really made me think like are we providing the environment that our clients are looking for? And are your clients looking for an escape? Are you providing that escape to them? Are you providing too much distraction? Do you have way too much going on? Do you have too much noise, too many TVs, too many things, too much stimulus? And I think our society, in general, is impacted by too much stimulus. We go from, you know, our clients, for example, most of our clients aren't working with their hands all day. They're probably behind a computer so they go from being behind a computer screen all day to just more screens, more TVs, more loud music, more distraction.  

And I think there's something to be said for providing our clientele in this day and age with an escape. And I think the salons, and this is, again, this is my opinion, but the salons that I have seen and this is something that I experience personally as well which is the salons I have seen that do provide that relaxation I think do much better on the client retention aspect than salons that don't. Because the salons that don't, you might get someone who tries it once. Just like this restaurant, I tried it once. The food was great but the ambience was horrible. And so even though the food is good, I mean I might order takeout but I don't think I would go back there again. And that's the whole point that I started to think about with the salon environment which is you may get people who want to come try you out because they hear about the hype and they hear about, "Oh, this place is so cool. It's so hip, whatever." But are they gonna come back because are you providing that type of experience that really stands the test of time? Are you too trendy? And I think this is something that we've seen also in our industry which is this trendiness tends to wear off real fast when it comes down to the nail art, the different things that come into style.   

You know, yes, trends are awesome, but do they really stand the test of time? I don't think so. And salons, we need to stand the test of time whether you're a salon of 50 people or you're an individual nail tech working from home or in a salon suite. I mean the goal is that you stand the test of time and I think we need to refocus on the type of activities and the type of ambience that we create that provide that type of longevity for our clientele. And I think the key to that is providing that relaxation and that escape because our clients don't have many places they can escape to. They go from their job to their house and they probably have kids and husbands or wives or whatever. And although we all love our families, I mean, if you really think about having what I call bubble time, which is you get to go and do something for yourself, maybe it's a bubble bath, maybe it's a spa visit, maybe it's getting your nails done. For me, I love getting my hair done, I love getting a scalp massage and my hair shampooed, and my hair cut and colored, and played with and blown out like to me, I could sit there all damn day and do it because it's just so relaxing.  

But there are salons that I can't go back to because they play this ridiculously loud music, and I'm sitting there like, "You're ruining my scalp massage with your crazy like rock and roll music, or whatever it is." And again, I like all kinds of music but there's also a time and a place for it which is if I want to crank rock and roll music while I'm cleaning my house and vacuuming, more power to me. But if I'm looking for a place to go escape and relax, do I want that same kind of music? I don't think so. And if I've been amped up all day working, I don't think I want more music that's going to amp me up further. I want something that's going to tone it down and really help me disconnect. So that's my food for thought for you guys is, are you allowing your clients to disconnect? Are you giving them the type of environment that fosters that type of relaxation? And I think that is something that's really important because if we're not giving our clients that solace, then they're going to look for it somewhere else. And I think if we can make ourselves kind of that one stop shop which is they get pampered, they get beautified, they get massaged, and they are able to actually relax and actually have a conversation for once and be able to hear the person across the table from them, I think that speaks volumes about what we can provide because in this day and age, it doesn't happen very often.   

And I think if we can be the provider of not only the nail service but of the relaxation service as well, then I think we're gonna be much better off as we continue to move forward. So think about that. I'd love to hear your thoughts. I will be uploading this on YouTube as per usual as well as iTunes, Google Play, so you guys can download it on your mobile device or you can listen to it on YouTube. And I also love posting these episodes on YouTube because it allows you guys to comment below my podcast and give me feedback and I really look forward to hearing what your opinion is on this ambience discussion because I think it is such a hot point right now, I think that we're...you know, as a society, we're constantly plugged in. We constantly have headphones on, we're constantly plugged in to technology and what better way to be something that stands out than to provide an actual antithesis to that which is, providing that relaxation and that comfort and that pampering and that connection in a world of disconnection. So I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below my YouTube if you would like to. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy listening to me on your Apple device or even your Android device, and I will be in touch again next week with another episode. All right. Hope all is well guys. Bye.   

This is Elizabeth Morris signing off from The Nail Hub. This podcast is sponsored by NAILS Magazine, the professional nail industry's leading publication. Have a suggestion, question, or concern send me an email at liz@thenailhub.com and don't forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at The Nail Hub and check out The Nail Hub YouTube channel for more episodes and tutorials. Want customized business consulting, access to classes, amazing products and more, visit thenailhub.com and check out all the wonderful things we provide. Our goal is to help you reach your ultimate potential. Thanks for listening and I'll catch you in the next episode.

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