When NAILS asked me to write this month’s As I See It about something I feel strongly about in the industry, the first thing that came to mind was the state of our ever-evolving education. I believe that our problem is two-fold: the majority of nail technicians are not getting enough advanced education and they in turn, aren’t sharing their expanded knowledge with their clients. As an overachiever in the realm of education, I wonder how many techs feel the same way I do.

Here’s the thing, as new technologies are developed the products we use are constantly being improved upon. The education behind these products and the new techniques required to use them are always a few steps behind. It’s the trickle-down effect. It all begins when the manufacturer introduces a new product. They’ve been working with the product in testing situations, tweaking and perfecting it for some time. Once it’s ready to be released, it’s then taught to the manufacturer’s education team, who in turn teaches it to the “masses.”

But are we really reaching the masses? No. It’s usually a small number of techs who are die-hard trade show goers that end up reaping the benefits of this advanced level of education. What about the everyday tech who attends a show once every four or five years? Yes, manufacturers offer classes outside of shows but the attendee numbers are small and often distributors will cancel the classes if enough people don’t sign up. What happens to these techs? I urge more people in our industry to seek out advanced education. Without it, you won’t be able to offer the newest and the greatest to your clients. Which gets me to my second point: We need to educate our clients.

The best tool for maintaining a solid clientele — in addition to quality workmanship — is our ability to educate our clients. Why educate the client? If she doesn’t know the difference between, say, a rock and a diamond she might pick the rock. Properly educated, the client will pick the diamond every time! Does the client know the difference between a quality nail and quickie nail? Not unless you, her nail tech, teach her. When I started educating my clients about the products, application techniques, and proper nail structure, they began to understand why I took the time to produce quality nails. This attention to detail and to my clients’ insight into our industry has helped me build a solid clientele, some of whom have been around for more than 10 years. It’s easy to get a client, but it’s a lot of hard work and continued education to keep her.

— MaeLing Parrish

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