There seems to be a perception that clients have two choices of where to get their nails done: the quicky, no-appointment-needed option or the wait-two-weeks-to-get-in-with-someone-you-know-and-trust. Turns out, a lot of important nuances broaden the playing field. Let’s listen:


“I will choose a salon because they don’t rush on the foot massage part. I’m not talking about rubbing my shins raw. They actually massage with good technique!"
Veronica Hawbaker, Nashville, Tenn.


“I want strong hands during the massage, a salon that doesn’t charge extra for French, and someone who polishes with a technique that makes my French last longer. I have a salon like this, but do you want to know what I wish were different? I wish it was a more serene experience. I wish the atmosphere was nicer. I wish there was no acrylic smell. I’d like to get my natural manicures and pedicures in an environment that is spa-like, clean, and peaceful. I would pay more for the experience, but I’ve gone to spas for my services. The atmosphere is better, but not the manicure. It was a pleasant hour, but I’ve been known to leave the spa and go home to fix the manicure because the nail tech was so lackadaisical about how she shaped, cleaned, and polished my nails. I can do it better myself.”
Vicki Giarratano-Wan, Binghamton, N.Y.


“I have gel nails, so the biggest keeper for me is if they clean the underside of my nails with the tool. So many salons do not clean the underside! It drives me nuts. Plus, I want the gel to be neat around the cuticle area; I hate it when it ‘clumps’ on the side. Finally, I am a traditionalist, and my nails grow fast, so I get a French each and every time. The width of the white is huge for me. I want it thin and natural.”
O’Nealya Gronstal, Avon, Ind.


“I want consistency in service and results. I want to know I can count on the manicure to take the same amount of time and give me the same results every time. This is very important to me, because I’m in front of my own clients all the time. They see my nails, and I want them to always look amazing. Plus, I’m on a schedule. I need to know how much time I need to allot for my nails so I’m not late to my own appointments. However, for the hour I’m there, it’s about the experience! I love being able to sit, relax, and chat with my manicurist about everything from the Yankees to personal family crises, knowing she is truly invested in our unique relationship. There was almost a two-year stretch of time I was bouncing around from salon to salon trying to find a replacement for my gal who left the salon to pursue other interests. I was thrilled when I found a nail tech and a salon experience that was similar.”
Diane Depue, Brackney, Pa.


“I want to know my nail tech takes her time with my nails each and every time as if I were a new client. In every other respect, I chose my salon because I found a nail tech who I like as a person. Now during my appointment, I’m spending an hour with someone who has become one of my oldest and dearest friends.”
Paula Weingartner, Johnson City, N.Y.

“I chose my salon because my nail tech gives a fantastic massage and the conversation is always terrific, but what I really love is how long the polish lasts without chipping. I will need to trim my nails before needing to touch up any polish. She also knows what fragrances I love in a lotion. Plus, her studio is clean and serene.”
Tricia Socash, Vestal, N.Y.


“I chose my salon because the techs are meticulous about details. They look back over my nails to be sure they did not miss a piece of skin or overlook an area of the nail that didn’t get polished. I want the French manicure to be perfect. Finally, I like when they use a scrub and massage the legs as well as the toes and feet.”
Carolyn Bouley, Mattapoisett, Mass.


“A salon’s reputation is important to me. I want to know it’s clean. Also, I choose my salon because the atmosphere is relaxing and the space is esthetically beautiful. I like walking in and feeling like everything is lovely.”
Emma Smith, Sarasota, Fla.


“I choose my salon based on many factors. Probably one of the most important is my level of comfort in the environment. Getting my nails done is a luxury to me, so I choose to spend my money on a salon that is welcoming, warm, friendly, clean, and where the service is premier. Sarasota offers a lot of choices for salon services; I chose my place because I get great service in a pampering environment. I feel special when I am there and more than satisfied with my services when I leave.”
Denise Aberle, Sarasota, Fla.


“I just go to our neighborhood salon to get my pedicure. They let me enjoy that 30-minute pampering without bothering me. I like the salon because they are clean, good at what they do, and very welcoming. They don’t try to sell me everything in the salon, and they remember little details, such as I like my toenails really short.”
Mersiha Perkins, Jacksonville, Fla.


“The first reason I chose my salon is because of how long the polish lasts on my nails after the appointment. Some salons, my polish starts to come off on the edges in three days; where I go, it lasts almost two weeks.
 Second: cleanliness! I look at baseboards, bathrooms, etc. Third, staff friendliness and the overall atmosphere of the salon. Finally, price. If I could get same experience for a lower price, I’d go there.”
Ana Isabel, Gloucester, Va.


“I avoid a salon where the overall atmosphere is rushed. When I walk into a salon that is so busy, I pick up on the pace of the salon, and it makes me feel rushed instead of relaxed. I want the atmosphere to be soothing. Next, I look for quality of work. I want the polish to be done with precision. I want the French to be perfectly applied, and I want to get a great foot and leg massage.” 
Tiffany Carter, Sarasota, Fla.


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