Hi Cyndy,

I’m writing about your editorial in the September issue about retailing. Here’s the problem: the nail techs I know work part-time because their husbands are the family bread-winners. They schedule their clients around their children’s schedules and they take off for every spring break and school holiday. They piddle at “doing nails” and treat it more as a hobby than a profession.

I believe that the concept of buying in bulk is out of their realm. Nail products, although small, are costly and you need a lot of them to get the job done. If nail techs spent the time shopping online or going to trade shows, it would cut into time spent with their families, so when they need something they run to their local beauty supply store and get what they need to get through the week.

Retail ties up money on products that may or may not sell. Nail techs just look at how much money stocking retail will cost them NOW, not how much they will earn down the line by selling to their clients. Not to mention, the typical retail commission is 10% to the tech. That’s not much incentive, and who needs the hassle?

A decade ago I had that same mentality and then I read an article title “The $60,000 Tech,” about techs who “made more than $60,000 a year. At first I thought it was the biggest crock! I never knew anyone in the business who made that kind of money. Then  I got a clue, got my business degree, and tried to learn from every person and every situation. After I got serious about my career, I approached $60K myself. These part-time techs will keep their same mentality until something forces them to change. – Jill Wright, Jill Wright Spa for Nails (Bowling Green, KY)

Dear Jill,

Thanks for writing. Everyone talks about the great promise of retailing, but to hear about the challenges from someone in the trenches is a reality check. You may be right about some nail techs “piddling around” in this business to earn spending cash, but I know of plenty of working moms without a husband’s support, as well as plenty of men who put bread on the table with their nail tech earnings.

My job is to be optimistic about change for the better. You are the perfect example of someone who understood the struggles but did things differently and succeeded. When you got serious about your career, your career (and your income) got serious. I’m hoping that by hearing from you directly, some readers will also “get a clue” about how to break out of the status quo.



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