5 Things I Learned From.....

by Tim Crowley, Hannah Lee, Judy Lessin, Sree Roy | October 1, 2007

We often profile salons and nail technicians who we believe are doing great things. We choose interesting stories within the industry in order to inspire you and get your creative juices flowing. But the salon industry isn’t the only place you should be looking for inspiration and ideas.

5 Things I Learned from ...

....A Doctor

  1. Keep Calm. Nothing’s worse than going to the doctor for an embarrassing rash on your body and having the doctor look at you like you’re a freak show. The same applies for techs. Try to be discreet about some of the bizarre sights you might encounter on your clients. “Oh My God, Jen, come look at this guy’s foot” is not the way to go.
  2. School Pays Off. Doctor go to school forever after college, there’s medical school. And after medical school, there’s residency. And after t6hat. Well you get the picture. Never stop learning. Continue taking classes and learning new things It only makes you a better tech and more knowledgeable for your clients.
  3. Always Wash your Hands. When doctors scrub in it’s like they’re trying to wash the skin right off their hands. Not that we expect you to be this meticulous, but washing your hands before every service will definitely help keep germs to a minimum, and it sets a good example for your clients. No, you aren’t doing surgery, but you are coming into close contact with another human. It’s just a good habit.
  4. Get a Second Opinion. When doctors are unsure, they get a second opinion. Whether they call a colleague in to take a look right there or they refer to another office, a second opinion on a serious condition is in everyone’s best interest. If you aren’t sure if you should perform services on a client because something just doesn’t look right, don’t send her to see a dermatologist or a podiatrist for a diagnosis. Better safe than sorry.
  5. Can you Please Fill Out Your History? Doctors always take their patients’ history It gives them an idea of what they’re dealing with. You can’t expect them to know you have a history of heart disease in your family just by looking at you. Likewise, how would you know your client is diabetic or allergic to certain chemicals if you don’t ask? Have every new client fill out a client consultation card before you begin any service.. (by Tim Crowley)

...American Idol

  1. Talents Is Only Half of the Winning Formula. You also must have a great personality and engage you audience. For the American Idol contestants, this means their viewing public. For all you nail techs, this means your clients want great nails, but they also want to enjoy sitting with your salon. Yo have to keep them engaged for that hour or they might not want to come back. No matter how spot-on your French manicure is.
  2. Know Your Style and Stick With It. Idol judges like it when the contestants take a song and “make it their own” If their style is country, they usually do best when they keep it country (even when it’s Barry Manillow week). Carrie Underwood, the winner of Season 4, is a great example of this mantra. Be true to what you do best. Don’t try to “hip up” your salon just to compete with the new nail bar down the street. Know where your strengths lie, and capitalize on them.
  3. Smile and Be Polite. Anyone who has seen the show will tell you, the contestants who take it all in stride with a smile and a “Thank you,” seem more gracious than the ones who talk back and throw attitude. When a client or a fellow nail tech offers you some constructive criticism (or even a raking over the coals), smile and thank them for being it to your attention.
  4. Constructive Criticism Is Actually a really Good Thing/ “it sounded a little pitchy.” “it was too big for you.” Or even “you need to dress more your age.” These are just some of the things Idol contestants hear from the judges on a regular basis. It’s hard, but don’t you want to know if you aren’t doing something as well as you could? Simon, Randy, and Paula are professionals and between the bickering, they do offer up some good advice. The Idols who go far listen to what the judges are saying and apply it to their future performances. You can do the same with feedback from those around you.
  5. Don’t Be Afraid to Go Out on a Limb. If you feel like you have a great idea, go for it! You can’t be afraid to fail. If you are too scared to take any risks, you’ll never know how far you can get. Many of those Idol contestants are from small towns and are scared to death to go in front of the judges (and America) to sing. But if they didn’t try, they’d never have the chance of making it to the final 12! (by Hannah Lee)

.......A Kindergarten Teacher

  1. Share With Other. Remember how your teacher made you share your Rainbow Brite doll with your classmates, and remember how they all loved you for it? Your teacher’s advice still holds true today. Share ideas and techniques with other salons. You’ll cultivate friendships that will help you professionally and personally Plus, it sure beats a trip to time out.
  2. Waiting Patiently Does Not Come Naturally. Clients, like 5-year-olds, get fidgety and cranky when required to wait too long. Stay on schedule, and if you can;t for goodness’ sake, give clients something to occupy their hands and their brains while they wait.
  3. Too Much tardiness Means a Trip to the Principal’s Office. In your salon, you’re the principal. If a client if consistently late, lay down the law. Rather than accommodating these inconsiderate folks, charge them the full amount for an abbreviated service.
  4. Sometimes We All Need a Little Extra Help. Just as a young learner may need special attention now and then, clients with fragile of bitten nails will benefit from extra TLC. Design a weekly program to strengthen and repair natural nails and educate clients about any bad habits they’ll need to change.
  5. “Show and Tell” Can Be Illuminating. If you have something special to share with clients - lie your sanitation procedures, a new retail product, or a holiday promotion - engage in show and tell. First use signs, table tents, and shelf-talkers to show them what’s going on the reinforce the message by telling them about it. (by Judy Lessin)

..... The Food Network

  1. Presentation Counts. No chef worth his salt would ever serve his culinary creations on chipped or mismatched dishes. Similarly, you should display your polishes and nail art with panache, group your pedicure ingredients in attractive containers, and keep your station blissful free of debris.
  2. Prepare a Feast for All the Senses, food must appeal to the eyes and nose as well as the taste buds. Let clients drink in a relaxing hand massage with a rich, aromatic lotion. Select the perfect music for your salon’s ambiance. Complement your pedicure services with a complementary beverage.
  3. Nothing Beats Fresh, Pure Ingredients. A chef’s success begins and ends with the quality of his ingredients. Your “ingredients” - the products you use - should be nothing less than the best. Use only top-quality products that have been stored properly.
  4. Brand your Hospitality. Whether it is Southern home cooking, Napa casual, or haute cuisine, food conjures up all sorts of associations. Be clear on the type of client experience you are trying to create and reinforce it in your decor, menu, and customer service.
  5. Love the Process. To the passionate chef, the process of cooking is an act of devotion; it’s not just about the end result. Your work will energize you if you enjoy in the moment and take the time each day to remember what you love about it. (by Judy Lessin)


  1. Create Museum-Worthy Nail Art. Japan takes nail art very seriously. Efficient, elaborate, difficult designs are popular among “nailists,” the term for Japanese nail techs. “The nails are at a much higher level in Japan,” said U.S. Nail competitor Lorena Marquez, at the first annual Japan Nail Olym Pics in 2003. Aspire to match the technical proficiency of your Japanese counterparts? A few nail art classes and competitions could move you in the right direction.
  2. Hold Your Ground. In a sumo wrestling match (considered by some to be Japan’s unofficial national sport), the first player to get pushed out of the ring or to touch the ground with a body part other than feet, loses. Though you probably wouldn’t take their diet advice (They usually weigh between 400 and 600 lbs), you can heed this. Keep your eyes open for competitors trying to throw you off balance. Keep both feet on the ground as you look for ways to topple your opponents.
  3. Hot Springs Equal Hot Business. Natural not springs are plentiful in Japan, and a popular relaxation destination for both locals and tourists. Try incorporating your own hot water treatments stateside. Consider “watsu,” an aquatic therapy that uses mineral water heated to 96 degrees, or having a Vichy shower installed at your salon.
  4. Create Zen Moments. Zen practices, like meditation, have a solid following in Japan. Zen monks will take at least 30 minutes about four times a day solely for meditation. Think about that next time you needed to take five minutes for mental time-out, it might actually make you more productive. Besides, raking that mini-Japanese Zen garden in the break room is a great way to kill time.
  5. Bridge the Gap. The fourth annual Japan Nail Olym Pics were held in Honolulu, which isn’t a new city in Japan. The JNA (Japanese Nail Association) is really trying to bridge the gap between the United States and Japan in the nail world,” said Yoshio Mizuno, 2006 chairman of the Hawaii event. “We hope we can cultivate the international nail community and further the exchange of information to help develop a stronger worldwide nail community.” Nuff said.  (by Sree Roy)

My Dog

  1. Be a People Person. Your dog always wants tobe in the room with you (and, when you’re not at home, any other warm-blooded human will do). The second you open the door, he’s standing on the other side, still panting from his mad rush to greet you. Greet salon clients with a dash to the door, a tail wag (hearty handshake or hug), and a minute of undivided attention.
  2. Teach them the Basics. In your salon, it;s probably not “roll over,” “heel,” and “play dead” that are learned in training sessions (we hope), but fluffy’s unfailing memory for such commands can teach you tons about how you and your staff should be trained in common salon procedures. Make sure your nail techs know what it means to “greet,” “sanitize,” and “smile.” Then tell them they’re doing great job. Here’s a doggie biscuit, er, cupcake.
  3. Playtime Is a Good-Given Right. Fluffy accepts no excuses when it come to his daily exercise. His regular game of fetch and his twice-a-day walk a pretty much his reason for living. Do the same for yourself by making time every day for some fun time - whether it’s playing with your kids, going to the movies, or cozying up with a book.
  4. Feel Their Pain (and happiness). When you’re sad, Fluffy looks morose and licks your face to make you feel better. When you’re happy, he’s a ball of furry energy ready to go out and play. As part-nail tech, part-unofficial-counselor to your clients, take a lesson in empathy from your dog. If a client’s having a bad day and doesn’t want to talk, let her relax during her quiet service ad offer her some tea. If she’s excited about her new boy-friend, let her rave about him while you tend to her nails. A little empathy can go along way in retaining clients.
  5. Understand There Are Different Personalities. You understood your dog’s personality from Day 1. Know your staff as well as you know your dog. Take into account how well a potential new tech “fits” into the salon family before hiring her and, once your team is assembled, understand that personality differences can determine how employees handle conflict. Fluffy would be proud.  (by Sree Roy)

.....Tiger Woods

  1. Practice Makes Perfect. If you saw the commercial of Tiger bouncing that little golf balls up and down on his club like a puppet on a string, then you know what I’m talking about. He didn’t just get that good overnight. He’s obviously spent countless hours working on it, and how he can make it look easy. Practice,practice, practice.
  2. Even If you’re the Best, You Still Lose Sometimes. OK, Tiger has won a lot of majors, more than most people, but he doesn’t win them all. He still has his days - or someone else just happens to have an even better day, but you know what? He keeps on going. So even if you drop the pedicure tub on the floor or spill a little paraffin on your client, it’s just a bad. We all have them. Tomorrow will be better I promise.
  3. You can Show Confidence through Humility. Tiger is not that athlete who goes around telling everyone how great he is, but don’t think he doesn’t know it. Tiger is the king of golf, but he shows respect for other players. Though they may appear to be mortals next to Tiger, he has never made a bad statement publicly about any golfer, and he has said that he is better than any other golfer (past or present). He just shows it on the course and lets the world decide. Let your great service and awesome attitude guide you through the day and clients will keep coming back for more.
  4. Self Control. Tiger must have more self control than any other person on the planet. He takes the same perfect swing over and over again, and in a golf swing, the slightest wobble can cause the ball to fly in a completely different direction. He also is able to minimize his reaction on the rare occasions when this happens. But he probably fantasizes all the time about pulling a Happy Gilmore on the course. So next time your client (who is running late, again) insists you still spend an hour on her service, take a deep breathe and channel Tiger;s self control.
  5. Family Is Important. Family means everything to Tiger. We saw it every time he finished a round and his dad was there to hug him. Now that his father is no longer with him, he’s made it clear that his wife and new baby come first. He said he would miss a major if it was going to interfere with the birth of his first child. You can love what you do, but don’t let it run your life. Make time for family and loved ones.  (by Tim Crowley)


  1. If You Aren’t Dealt a Good Hand, Bluff. If one of your techs just left you short-staffed before a busy weekend, show your poker face and push on. Don’t let clients know that anything is wrong.
  2. Don’t Discount the Little Guy. A few years ago named Chris Money-makers (yes, that’s his real name) qualified for the World Series of Poker by playing in satellite events online. He went on to win the $2.5 million pot; it was his first-ever live poker tournament. Nobody expected this accountant from Tennessee to win. What does this mean for you? Well if you’re the little guy, know that anything is possible. Start small and, if you play your cards right, you w ill end up the winner.
  3. Go All in. When poker players have a great hand )and sometimes what they don’t) they push all their chips onto the table with a bet of “all in.” If you’re confident about what you’re doing, by all means, go all in. Do you have the winning formula and you’re sure of it? Go for it, Of course it’s always a gamble, but that’s what makes it fun, right?
  4. In the Short Run, Luck Is More important Than Skill. But In the Long Run, Skill Is More Important Than Luck. That basically says it all. Don’t get too cocky if you’re doing well at the beginning. Remember in order to sustain you positive situation, you need to have solid skills.
  5. Know When to Hold “Em, When to Fold ‘Em. I think Kenny Rogers said it best in “The Gambler.” If you’re struggling, you need to step back and take a good look at your business. Being able to know when to push on or when to cut your losses is an important part of being a salon owner. You don’t want to give up too soon if you can take a solid go at it, but also don’t want to dig yourself into a hole that is so deep you just can’t get out of it. (by Hannah Lee)


  1. Keep It Consistent. (Keep It Consistent, Keep It Consistent.) No matter which Starbucks employee makes your Tall Soy Milk Iced Caffe Mocha with whip, it tastes exactly the same. You’re asked the same questions before it’s made, the employee makes it a point to write your name on the plastic Starbucks cu0p, then you wait pretty much the same amount of time for your drink. So should it be with your salon services. No matter the tech, certain procedures should stay consistent - hands must be washed, the standard salon welcome used as a greeting, and drinks, if you offer them, offered consistently. Create a sense of place for your salon, the same was Starbucks strives to be “the third place” where people go when they’re not at home or work.
  2. Stay True To Your Core. Remember why you got into the beauty business? No, really, take a minute to think back. Was it the part about making people happy that attracted you? Was it the excitement of seasonal promotions and developing new services? Now comeback to today: Has something been lost from your original motives and ambitions? In a now well-publicized memo that was leaked to the press earlier this year, Starbucks chairman Howard Schutz laments to CEO Jim Donald, “We have had to make a series decisions that... Have led to the watering down of the Starbucks experience.” He names decisions like installing automatic espresso machines and streaming store design. He then says, “Our success is not an entitlement and now it’s providing to be reality...Let’s get back to the core. Push for innovation and do the things necessary to once again differentiates you from your competition. Oh yeah, and do your best to keep confidential memos to yourself.
  3. What’s in a Name? (Everything.) It’s time to give coining your own terms a shot. Starbucks popularized the term “barista” and basically owns the terms in the minds of most Americans. In your salon, you can start by calling clients Starbucks does). Ask clients how they enjoyed their spa “experience,” not their “appointment.” And give your treatments memorable catchphrases that clients will ask for by name.
  4. Love and Be Loved. (By Your Employees, that Is.) Your salon may never be large enough to be noticed by Fortune Magazine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from its annual list of “100 Best Companies To Work For.” As usual, Starbucks appears on the list (as No. 16 in 2007). “The java king steamed ahead in 2006, adding 28,000 jobs globally. Though 85% of ‘partner’ are part-timers, they ‘re still eligible for full benefits if they work 240 hours a quarter,” Fortune says. Keeping your techs happy is key to reducing turnover, which lets you bask in the glow of experienced nail techs with loyal, standing clients. (Plus, you don’t have to use up valuable time recruiting new techs, which we all know is a huge challenge.) For its list, Fortune takes into account attitudes towards management, job satisfaction, camaraderie, pay and benefits programs, culture, and other mostly intangible attributes. Keep these characteristics in mind as you run your salon.
  5. Switch It Up, Seasonally. Green tea lattes are so last season. Flavor is all about pumpkin spice now. Take a page from Starbucks’ menu and offer seasonal specials. A candy cane pedicure in winter (using mint-scented products) or a tropics manicure in the summer (with a grated coconut scrub) keep clients coming back for more. Plus, it’s a great news item for your e-newsletter. (Starbucks is always sending out promotional e-mails about its latest drinks.) And, it creates a sense of urgency in your clients to hurry up and make an appointment so they don’t miss a limited-time-only nail service. (by Sree Roy)

........An EMT

  1. Stay Calm in a Crisis. These workers tackle very stressful situation on a daily basis, it’s their job so its really important for them to train themselves to stay calm under pressure. Remembering to take a step back and keep a level head when things get crazy can give you better insight into the best action to take when faced with an obstacle - no mater how big or how small.
  2. Stay in Shape. EMT and other rescue workers keep their bodies in top shape so they can help rescue others who are in danger. In order to take care of others, you must first take care of yourself if you’re not healthy you won’t be able to do your job.
  3. Be prepared for the Unexpected. Rescue workers have their usual calls, like putting out kitchen fires and saving cats from trees, but they also have to be prepared for the more bizarre. Whether it’s the pet alligator that needs to be saved from a burning structure of the bathrobe man who stops by every day to wash his imaginary elephant with fire hoses, rescue workers have to handle it all in stride. Be prepared for any situation with an emergency plant, MSDS sheets, a first aid kit, and the humor to laugh at the crazies.
  4. Learn from the Details. Rescue workers have to pay attention to the details because it could very well be a matter of life and death. If they are responding to a call, they have to immediately gather as much as information as they can about the situation. What was the person doing? What ever they eating? Do they have any allergies? Are they on any medication? They get all of the details first so they can immediately asses the situation and then get quickly to work on the proper course of action. While it certainly isn’t a life or death situation when a client comes into your salon, getting all the information up front is still a good idea.
  5. Don’t Use a Defibrillator to Reheat a Pot Pie. I knew a guy who tried this once and it just made a mess.  (by Tim Crowley)

......The Sopranos

  1. Loose Lips Sink Crime Families and Others. You may not have the Feds listening at keyholes, but is still pays to keep mum about your clients’ personally lives or any negative feelings you may be harboring against them. Let the code of silence prevail.
  2. Don’t Double-cross the Boos. The penalties for disrespecting the boss may not be quiet as severe in the salon world, but the moral is the same. Play fair and give “the capo” the respect and loyalty that come with the position.
  3. Take a tough Love tip From Dr. Melfi. If you have a sociopathic client (OK, maybe she doesn’t actually whack people), let her know you’re no longer available to provide service for her.
  4. Don’t Place you Financial Future in Someone Else’s Hands. They say the mob takes care of its own, but Carmella knew better, if you can’t steal your husband’s cash from the pool house, you might instead bank a portion of your salary regularly and make sure you’re adequately insured in case something happens.
  5. Consul a Consigliere. Like the loyal and level-headed Silvio, a wise counselor is a precious resource. Salon consultants and personal coaches can make the difference between success ad failure, as can your CPA. (by Judy Lessin)

... My Little Girl

  1. We’re All Princess on the Inside. We’re born thinking we’re the fairest in the land and expecting to be waited on hand and foot. Done right, the salon experience gets clients in touch with their own “inner prices” - at least for an hour.
  2. Sugar and Spice Are really Quite Nice. For the kid in all of us, offer temptingly sweet treatments like sugar scrubs, chocolate foot baths, or honey-kissed hand masks. Don’t forget those cinnamon and spice smells that evoke memories of home-baked cookies and holiday treats.
  3. Squishy Is Good. Kids are unabashedly tactile. If it is squishy, fluffy, goopy, creamy, bubbly or slippery, it’s fun. Fill this need with frothy toot baths, Moor mud, mouse mask, She butter, and rich balms. Include marbles to play with in hand and foot soaks.
  4. It’s more Fun with a Friend. Anyone who’s ever seen two girls play dress up knows the rewards of beautifying with a buddy. Encourage female bonding with bring-a-friend promotions and seating and services designed for two.
  5. Did you Bring Me Anything? A gift, no matter how small, is the key to a child’s affection. Remember that when it comes to passing out product sample and holiday or birthday gifts. Consider punch cards that give a free service after a certain number of visits and other perks for loyal customers. (by Judy Lessin)

....Harry Potter

  1. You Are not Alone. Even though he didn’t really want to involve anyone else in his constant turmoil, Harry came to realize he couldn’t do everything himself. Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger lessened some of his burden throughout the entire tale. If even a wizard (and one who defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named at that) can’t do everything himself, then certainly you should realize you should realize you shouldn’t be expected to either. Whether it’s running your salon or tending to your clients, take a little help where it’s needed - especially when it’s been offered. Teamwork can accomplish more than you can alone.
  2. Keep your friends Close and your Enemies Closer. The connection between Harry and Voldemort’s minds gave Harry unique insight that eventually helped hi vanquish the dark wizards. His friends Ron and Hermione helped him do it. Though you probably shouldn’t ne thinking of competitor salons as “enemies,” you shouldn’t be scouting them out and learning as much as you possibly can about them - like who either clientele is and what their specialties and price points are - so you can figure out how best to compete. And, when it comes to employees in your own salon or owner of salons who don’t directly compete with you (if you focus on male clients and they focus on female. Or they’re in a different part of the country), try to cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship where you can learn from your industry friends.
  3. Believe in yourself. In the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry faces great opposition and ridicule by announcing that Voldemort has returned. Despite being ostracized, he continues his stance, determined to warn wizards of the crisis - eventually winning out by the end of the book. In the salon, don’t get peer pressured into doing something you know isn’t right, whether it’s reusing one-time-use implements, eating at your workstation, or using Credo blades. Better yet, find an appropriate way to educate the other nail techs at the salon about why they shouldn’t be doing those things either.
  4. Life Goes On. Despite originally being classified as a “children’s book,” the Harry Potter series turned dark early on. (Spolier Alert) harry witnesses the deaths of his godfather Sirius Black, classmate Cedric Diggory, professor Snape, friend Fred Weasley, and many others. But, despite his heartbreak, he moves forward with his mission. You can take a lesson home (and to the salon) about the teenager’s trials. When you a setback at the salon or a bad day at home, take the time you need but don’t forget that you’re still alive and have an internal mission to keep you going strong.
  5. Practice Acts of Kindness. The protection harry’s mom gave him by dying for him cast a powerful protective spell of love around Harry for 17 years. (Spoiler Alert) In the end, it was Harry’s willingness to die for the sake of good wizards everywhere that allowed him to to live. Have your salon do something good for the community. It’ll pay off in the short run with inner satisfaction and possible press, and there’s no telling how well it’ll pay off in the long run. (by Sree Roy)

... George Lucas

  1. You Must Unlearn What you Have Learned. One of my favorite quotes of all time. The wise Yodas said this to Luke when he went into training during “the Empire Strikes Back.” these sage words remind us we do not know everything, and there are some circumstances where we have to change the things we once held as true in order to grow. Remember not to get too set in your ways and to have an open get too set in your ways and to have an open mind to learn new tricks. There is always a different way to go about every situation.
  2. Let Your imagination Run Wild. If you stop and think about it, the worlds that Georges Lucas has been able to create are incredible. The Star Wars series has so much depth and detail that there are websites, conventions, and societies out there completely devoted to it. Let your imagination go where it wants, and who knows what might come of it. Regular brainstorming sessions with your team are a great way to let people think outside of the box.
  3. Every hero Needs the Right tool. Where would Indiana Jones be without his trusty whip? Probably crushed by a boulder somewhere in a foreign jungle. And Luke Skywalker without his lightstaber? Well, he probably would have never even made it out of Tatooine (Yes, I’m a dork.) becoming proficient with a tool, whether it’s an electric file or a cuticle nipper, will make you a hero in the eyes of your clients.
  4. Take Your Time. It took George Lucas 28 years!But he always knew that he would eventually get to them, and he knew that he wanted them done right. He didn’t rush into them and cut corners just to get them done. Sometimes to get things done right, you really have to patient. Don’t rush to add all that new skin care equipment until you are truly ready for the next step.
  5. May the Force Be With You. Listed by the American Film Institute as one of the all-time best lines in American Cinema history, this line from the Star Wars series has come to symbolize a farewell saying meaning “good luck on your coming journey.” So to you we say, “May the force be with you.” (by Tim Crowley)


  1. Think Different. The award-winning ad campaign for the counterculture computer company that ran in the late ‘90s urged consumers (ungrammatically) to “think different.” Images of great minds like Albert Einstein, John Lennon, Martin Luther king Jr. Amelia Earhart, and Mahatma Gandhi ran with the Apple logo and the simple tagline. The idea, of course, was that great things can come from the “crazy” people who think differently from the majority. How can you bring this idea into your salon? Create an environment where everyone is encourage to share their ideas - no matter how out there they might be. Nurture creativity; invite it in. You never know when someone might just “think different” enough to revolutionize thing.
  2. Cultivate Followers. Any Apple devotee will tell you that there’s a certain “je ne sais qoui” about their love for the hip brand Offer something their love for the hip[ brand. Offer something so unique that clients can’t help but fall in love and keep coming back for more. Brand yourself. Brand your salon. Brand your service. Become your brand and make your clients love everything about the experience.
  3. Make It Aesthetically Pleasing, but Back It Up With results. One of the beautiful things (literally) about Apple products is the design. The products are sleek, simple, and, yeah, i said it cute Consumers are down drawn to Apple products because of the look, but they stay because of the performance. Draw clients in with an interesting design, great promotional pieces, and fun service ideas. Keep the there with superior customer
  4. Emphasize the User Experience. Apple has a long tradition of emphasizing the user experience rather than the specific technology behind that experience. Don’t bore clients with the finite details of creating cross-linked polymer (acrylic) nails. Instead wow them with your amazing service and awesome salon environment.
  5. When in Doubt, Add an “i”. iMac, iPod, iPhone. I mean, come on, it’s a winning formula. Want to bring in the masses? Why not call your salon iNails? Or maybe iSalon? I kid, I kid. (Well, sort of.) (by Hannah Lee)


  1. Branch Out. Mickey Mouse’s white-gloved hands appear in many different pots. The Walt Disney Company runs theme park, movies, retail stores, and several television networks, just to name a few of the company’s successful ventures. In your salon, this means branching out beyond just nail services. Add other avenues like retail, custom (maybe even salon-branded) products and a strong media presence. Like the famous mouse, you could be on your way to fame and fortune.
  2. Branding Can Be Universal. Mickey Mouse is one of the most recognizable brand icons in the world. Children, practically from birth, can identify the famous black circular ears and elongated eyes of the animated mouse. Your salon brand may not be known worldwide (although mouse-like world domination would be nice), but, within your region, you can make your salon a household name. Make sure memorable logo is on all your salon’s promotional materials, like your website, advertisements, salon events (like pens or candy). Pitch your salon’s story to the local media to increase your exposure. Maybe you could even go dressed as a giant polished fingernail. (Or maybe not.)
  3. Some Place Are Fun for the Whole Family. Ever notice how even though you’d think Disney World is strictly for kids, there are a ton of adults there? And it’s not just the kid’s parents either, there are honeymooning couples, partying twenty-somethings, and teenagers on class trips. Welcoming different client segments could also be profitable for your salon. You could do a special promotion to target men, baby boomers, or high schoolers preparing for prom.
  4. Create an Experience to Remember. A kid’s first visit to Disney World is huge. It’s larger than the already larger-than-lifesize Mickey Mouse. It’s not a “visit,” but an experience, a blast, an adventure, a time of her life, a well, you get the picture. A client’s first visit to your salon should evoke some of these same emotions. An experience to look forward, and in the case of your day-long spa packages, maybe even a reward to save up for. For nail services, make them an hour-long getaway from the real world - sort of a magic kingdom of beauty.
  5. Free Stuff Sells. Reward cards are usually a good idea for start-ups to help them gain customer loyalty, but even legendary Disney implements a few rewards programs to stay in touch with its fans. Take the Disney Movie Reward Card: users sign up for the free program, then earn points for specific DVD purchases (Disney movies, of course), taking timely surveys (Disney gains free marketing info), and occasionally answering trivia questions (a solid ego boost). Once a member earns a certain number of points, she redeems them for prizes ranging from stickers to magazines to a collectible replica of Cinderella’s glass slipper (which help promote the brand), try instituting a similar rewards card in your salon. Points can be earned for salon services, retail purchases, referrals, and taking your marketing surveys. Prizes can range from a grab of salon promo items to a free add-on like nail art (great publicity for your salon) to a free retail product. After all, the mouse knows best. (by Sree Roy) 

A Bartender

  1. Be Good to Your Loyal Customer. Nothing feels better than to be at a crowded bar and have a bartender who remembers what you’re drinking. Scratch that. Nothing feels better than to be a crowded bar and have a bartender who remembers what you’re drinking AND gives you a free shot. I’m not saying you need to give all of your regular clients free services all the time, but a little freebie will go a long way. Throw in some free nail art or a complimentary paraffin treatment every once in a while. It makes her feel special and it’s not much money out of your pocket. I guarantee it will benefit you’re in the long run. (I always over-tip the bartenders who know what I’m drinking and give me the hook-up now and then.)
  2. People Like to Share Their Feelings. Every good bartender knows there is more to the job than just slinging drinks. Many a drunk saddles up to the bar and pours his heart out to the guy behind the bar. Sure, these talks are often long-winded, one-sided, and not always coherent, but a nod of understanding is usually all the customer is looking for. Take a page from the book of bartending and listen when your clients need to get something off their chest. Just try to bite your tongue and not pass judgment.
  3. Get Your System Down. Watching a crack bartending crew is like watching a NASCAR pit team fan out around a stock car. Each one has their own task to do, and they know how to do it well. Bar backs wash glasses, food runners bring out food, and the bartenders serve up the drinks. The faster they can get drinks to patrons, the more drinks they can sell. The same applies for nail techs. Let the receptionist, assistance, cleaning crew, and other team members do their part. A solid routine and specific jobs will help you work more efficiently while servicing more clients.
  4. Having a Specialty Is Worth the Effort. Good bartenders get creative with cool names and ingredients to create their own signature concoctions. If you can’t get that drink anywhere else, you’re going to keep going back to the one bar that serves it. It’s the same with services. If a client can only get that Pomegranate Mojito Pedicure at your salon, she’s going to remember how cool and special it is and she’s going to keep coming back for your signature service.
  5. Never Order a Texas Slap. Trust me. No. Never No question. Just trust me. (by Tim Crowley)


  1. Offer Style at Any Price Point. By offering designer lines from the likes of Isaac Mizrahi and Michael Graves. Target manages to snag consumers who are both price- and style-conscious. Regardless of how much you charge, make sure each service has a special zing.
  2. Get In, Get Out. Nothing makes the Saturday afternoon target shopper happier than the manageable lines at the express check out. Consider streamlining your own check out procedures (could you keep your client’s credit card numbers on file?) to speed their visit along.
  3. Familiar Breeds Contentment. Shopping is stress-free when you already know where everything is. Be sure to give new clients a lour salon so they are aware of all your offerings and can make the place their own.
  4. Shop Early, Shop Often. Target is open and ready to take your money Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. When there’s little competition for shoppers’ dollars. Accommodate time-pressed clients with early morning or evening hours a few days a week.
  5. Name Brands Make Shoppers Feel Safe. Shoppers who want to make certain they’re getting quality goods are put at ease by name brands. Take advantage of the name recognition and reputation for quality enjoyed bu our industry’s professional brands. (by Judy Lessin)

Beach Boys Melodies

  1. Good Vibration. Clients keep coming back because of the way they feel from the moment they walk in the door. Surround your clients with good vibes - from the warm greeting they receive when they walk in the door, to the delicious smells, the extra luxurious hand massage, and the prompt and thoughtful treatment they receive at check out.
  2. Help Me, Rhonda (or Whatever your Name Is). Let your clients know that you’re there to solve their problems, not just to polish their toes. Begin each session with a mini-consultation. Ask clients to share any concerns they’re having with the health or appearance of their hands and feet. Be prepared to recommend a product, treatment, or medical professional.
  3. Be True to your School. Having a hard time staffing the salon? Need a replacement for your old nail school - maybe even offering classes or salon tours to students - can pay dividends. It’s a great way to connect with new nail techs seeking work.
  4. I Get Around. If your book isn’t as full as you would like it to be, the solution is to get around with your business cards, your referral programs, your advertisements, your website. Put it out there and those clients will surely come.
  5. Wouldn’t It Be Nice. Don’t accept the status qou; instead do a little daydreaming about pedi throne, an extension that never lifts, or a shorter work week? Figuring out what you want is the first step to getting it.  (by Judy Lessin)
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