“Don’t change, grow,” is the most valuable piece of advice J Nails salon owner Janice Scott can give to this industry. “Grow your business in love and grace.”
With more than 25 years of experience working with nails, Scott believes all nail professionals should remember their first client and be just as appreciative and caring as they were with her with all their clients, even if they’ve been doing nails for years. “Clients put their trust in you so you should never feel like you are at a level where you are untouchable,” Scott says.
MAXIMIZING BUSINESS FROM CHALLENGES
Located in a shopping center in Memphis, Tenn., J Nails opened in 1996. It is a full-service salon offering a variety of nail services from acrylics and nail art to specialty nail treatments. While nails are at the forefront of business, other services include brow contouring, facials, waxing, and massages.
Business has been wonderful for the salon in recent years and Scott says the only issue affecting the salon in the past has been the economy. “Back when the economy was bad, I prayed,” she says. “I fi gured out that to keep the salon’s name out there, we had to invest in marketing and advertising.”
Scott reached out to people she knew in those fields to guide her to a solid future for the salon. “For a long time, we gave away a lot of gift certificates and prizes to keep our name out there,” she explains. By the time the market came up, people already knew about the salon because of all the previous advertising she had done.
One challenge in managing the salon in a shopping center is parking issues. Located next door to J Nails is a cupcake place called Muddy’s Bake Shop that attracts customers non-stop. “The line for Muddy’s is often out the door and the parking lot is full of visitors just for Muddy’s,” Scott says. “It’s difficult because my clients will comment on having a hard time finding parking.” Though it poses a tough situation for the salon, Scott still enjoys having Muddy’s next door because their treats are delicious and customers become of aware of the salon as they wait in line.
CARING FOR CLIENTS
In terms of decor, Scott says the main goal is to make the salon comfortable for clients. The walls are decorated with pictures that exemplify the work of the nail techs, as well as other pieces of art. A couple of clients help with the decor and update Scott with what she needs to renew or change throughout the salon. “Our theme is to take care of the clientele and treat them with love, care, and respect,” Scott says. J Nails clients range from professional women, school teachers and counselors, attorneys, and doctors to stay-at-home mothers. The salon also attracts a young crowd of clients due to the younger staff. About 30% of the clientele are male clients who have been returning for pedicures for as long as the salon has been open.
“We take care of our clients in whatever capacity they need,” Scott says. “We give them the right care, professional products, and time for each service.”
It’s important to the salon that everyone stays true to their word. Nails techs don’t rush services and when they say
“treatment,” they mean it. “It’s not just about feet washing and polish here,” Scott says. The salon provides each client with product referrals, advice, and education on their beauty regimen. If clients come in with special needs or problem areas, the staff works with them to figure out why they have the problem and offers suggestions tailored to the issue to fix it.
“If they aren’t here on a weekly basis, we give them products they can use on their own,” Scott says. “The biggest problem we see is dehydrated nails so we advise clients to use natural oils like grapeseed, sunfl ower, or olive oil to penetrate the skin better.”
Respect plays a large role in the interaction between the staff and clients at J Nails. Clients tell Scott that what sets her salon apart from others is the way they are treated. “Clients looks to you for many things; don’t think that you’re the king or queen of the place, and stay humble,” she says.
Scott also believes that expectation works both ways for her employees and clients. “Let your clients know what you expect and ask them to give notice when they can’t make it to an appointment,” Scott says. In turn, the staff at J Nails does what they can to exceed the client’s expectations and follow up with them after appointments.
“NOT A BOSS, JUST A MAJOR BILL-PAYER”
Scott promotes a family atmosphere amongst her employees. She steers away from having a “big boss” mentality by working alongside her nail techs. “The only difference between me and my staff is that I’m just the major bill-payer,” Scott says.
Nail techs like the camaraderie and appreciate the extra concern Scott shows for her staff. “Once someone needed to bring her child into work so we all helped out to keep the child monitored and entertained,” Scott says. “I don’t want anyone to feel like they are a bother.”
Whenever Scott sees a nail tech struggling or needing extra help, she is quick to jump in and sharpen her skills with one-on-one training. She constantly works to keep everyone in the salon up to date on trends and expertise in the industry.
In fact, Scott provides up to two weeks of free rent for techs pursuing or continuing their education in the industry. Salaried techs are required to attend training sessions or trade shows twice a year. “I need to see their educational plan to stay continuously motivated about their career,” she says. The salon also helps financially for education opportunities.
“I am a motivator and an educator,” Scott says. “I’m really big on education and I love learning new things.” Scott plans to expand the salon with more in-depth treatments for the feet and hands, as well as laser treatments for skin problems. Eventually Scott also wants to move the salon to a larger space.
Each treatment at J Nails is given the right amount of time and care.
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