As a therapist, owner, and manager who is working full-time in my spa, I wanted to share with my fellow nail professionals how we survive during this hard time by not limiting ourselves to one area of marketing. At Maisie Dunbar Spa Lounge, we don’t believe in overexposure. We expose our business in the following ways:

1. Radio advertisement: We work with one of the leading black radio stations in the Washington, D.C., area — Howard University’s WHUR — promoting our treatments or specials. For example, on Father’s Day, they have a promo called Frantic Friday. We donated an introductory offer for massages/skin care for a investment of $68 to give away on the radio.

2. In-salon events or outside exhibits: When you host in-salon events, it’s a great way for your guests to invite their friends and family who they have been trying to bring to your salon. Create a theme around your event, make it fun, but don’t forget you have a message you are trying to get out. We also exhibit at some churches, girls’ night outs, and conventions in D.C., Maryland, Philadelphia, and Virginia to help get the salon name out. (I never thought after working trade shows all those years that I would be doing them for myself. But thanks to many years as an educator for CND and Seche, I have definitely learned that trade shows aren’t bad! They’re a great way to get your name out there.

3. Media advertisement: We participate in a nationwide Spa Week through Spa Week Media. In addition, we advertise the same treatment through our e-mail blast as well as using social networking as a source to list them. If we are fully booked we continue to honor the Spa Week specials through the next week. It’s good business and it gets new clients in your door.

4. Partnerships: We partner with companies that refer business to us as experts who are using their products (CND, Minx Nails, etc.). It’s smart to position yourself with companies that will support your growth. You can also partner with hair salons in your area that don’t offer nail services. You can refer hair clients to them and in return they can send you new nail clients.

5. Build your business from within: Build a very strong referral system. Celebrate the people who love you and send their friends and family to you. Be gracious. Offer them rewards for helping you grow your business. In the end, word-of-mouth is inexpensive and very effective.

6. Social networking: Everyone is talking about social networking and yes, it does work. Using Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc., to let your guests know what you are doing spreads the word like wild fire. I work 18 hours a day, and I make the time to keep up with the following social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, I See Color, ListServe, Cafe L.I.B., and Model Mayhem. I use them to communicate my latest and greatest, my YouTube videos, my specials, and tips for consumers to be aware of.

As a business woman in the nail industry I need nail professionals to understand that this is the best career in the world. All of your dreams can and will come true in spite of the economy. I changed careers 16 years ago and did not realize I was changing my life. Now I have a successful spa lounge, make-up line, skin care line, and a salon coaching business. I partner with the best because I desire to be the best.

My fellow professionals: Be the talk of your town, develop the spirit of excellence, dare to be great, find a mentor, share your knowledge, be who you are and no one else, and lastly honor the license you hold. I invite you to visit my YouTube videos. Just type Maisie Dunbar in the search field. You can also visit me at or Thank you !

For information on building your business, you can contact me at (301) 675-5491. Stay tuned for classes next year.

— Maisie Dunbar

Coming Next Week: Pay It Forward: Win $5,000 for a Friend in Need

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