The prom is one of the most exciting events in a young woman’s life. It is a day for her to glam it up; for her to do her hair and nails, get a pedicure, and wear a fancy, beautiful dress. Prom also provides an excellent opportunity for nail professionals, with our expertise in the care and artistry of nails, to increase our bottom lines — not only in the immediate future, but for years to come.

During prom season, you have a chance to make additional money by focusing on the teenagers who will be attending their junior and senior proms. By providing prom nail services, you are creating an entrée for them to have a long-standing relationship with you and your salon. For high school seniors, the prom creates two additional opportunities for your nail salon. You will be able to prepare their nails for prom, possibly for the luncheon that usually follows, and of course, for graduation!

Parents have planned and budgeted for all of these events and the ladies have been saving their allowances and working part-time to get the things that Mom and Dad won’t pay for.

Don’t discount the importance of prom girls, as I did during my first years in business. At the time, I did not want to waste my time with teenage girls and their no-shows and nail art. However, I learned their nail art could expand my business, and there were creative ways to help young ladies become stable clients who would be guests of mine for years (and even for a lifetime).

My first young guest, DJ, came to me for her prom in 1989. Surprisingly, all she wanted was a short extension with a French manicure. However, DJ returned to me for all of the important events during her senior year, and then she became a regular client. I continued to do her nails, as I watched her blossom into an incredible woman. I even provided services for her wedding party about 11 years later. Not only did I gain her as a loyal client, but her mother and aunt became regular clients too. Fast forward to 2012, and the only thing that separates us is the distance between Chicago and Atlanta, where DJ now resides. She is just one of my many prom success stories. She is an example of how you can fill your book and build your business for the future. First, you have to know that young ladies are valuable clients with whom you can establish lasting relationships. Then you need to set a goal, know what you are trying to accomplish, and decide what you want as your end result.


Start Reaching Out

One simple way to build your nail business is through referrals from your current database and your own personal sphere of influence. We all know there is no better compliment than a referral. You should develop and put in place a prom program and then share it with your clients and with everyone you know who is not a client.

Another way to build your business is to cross-market with other businesses, for example, dressmakers, formalwear stores, and even bridal stores that offer prom wear. As a part of this cross-marketing, create an offer for their clients, i.e., a certificate that gives a dollar amount off for your nail services. The offer creates a win-win situation for both businesses. It gives an added value to the customers of the other business and creates an opportunity for you to gain new business to build on after prom.

You may also offer to do the nails of the staff of the other business at a discount, and offer complimentary service for the first visit of the business ownership/management. When you provide discount and/or complimentary services for the business, they become your mouthpiece, your walking billboard, your advertisement, your referral. Cross-marketing with other businesses also provides an opportunity for you to display your many service offerings, since each person will want something different — from classic French manicure to bling to spa pedicure and everything in between. Remember the key to your success is getting them into your salon.

To get started, create a marketing package that includes a letter of introduction and a brief bio that highlights your services and accolades. Tell them what you’re offering and explain why it’s a win-win for their business as well. Keep it brief and to the point. Let them know you will follow-up with a call within a few days.

Once your package is complete, begin your online search to locate businesses that will be a good match for your salon. Keep your search within about a 30-mile radius. Focus on the immediate area around you, within one to five miles.

The final step in creating a package is to build it in a way to ensure the return of new clients after their initial service with you. For example, you can offer a Senior Grad Package. It could include three nail services and a pedicure service, which is valid for an eight-week period during the celebratory season. Another option would be to create a Mother-Daughter Package, which brings them in the salon together and may increase your adult clientele. By the end of prom season, you will have given the young ladies great nail care, additional confidence, and an education in personal grooming beyond waxing and hairstyling.


The owner of Nails Naturally Hand and Foot Spa in Chicago, LaShaun Brown-Glenn is an award-winning nail tech,  educator, and author. She offers business strategies, tips, and in-salon trainings through her consulting company, Speaking On Point (

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