Attend a class. Whether in the salon or at a beauty show, classes offer a fun way to familiarize ourselves with new products and techniques. Classes are also a great way to refresh our skills and brush up on techniques we haven’t quite perfected. For a list of trade shows, go to NAILS' online resources page.
Be a mentor. Go to the forums at beautytech.com to offer up your services as a mentor online. Contact a local cosmetology program to mentor in your area. If you are new to the industry or just looking to network, the BeautyTech website is a great place to start.
Create a new salon service. What about a pedicure of the month? Chocolate pedicures for February, Hot Buttered Rum pedicures for November, and Peppermint pedicures for December. Create a signature service for the salon. Have fun developing sensory driven descriptions that are sure to lure clients.
Develop a new nail art design. Experiment with a new texture or medium. Try mixing embellishments and color, embedding flowers in acrylic or gel, or creating freehand art for the season. Practice on nail tips that can double as a display for clients. Rotate the display to keep clients interested. Take pictures as you complete the designs on clients; they will look great on your website.
Experiment with new music in the salon. Tired of hearing the same old tunes? Find new selections that fit your style and clientele. You can also sell music in your retail area. Visit hipstermusic.com/retail.
Fight the urge to gossip and instead share useful information with a purpose. Brush up on the features and benefits of products in the salon. Share the info with clients as you recommend the items they should be using at home.
Get some fresh air. Take a short break and step outside. A change of scenery can break up a busy day. Tuck a few business cards in your pocket; you never know who you will run into.
Have a word of the day and weave it into conversation. Product ingredients are a great place to start. Explain to your clients the benefits or jojoba or lycopene, for example.
Inspect the salon. Self-inspection is a great way to find areas for improvement. Develop a list of areas to monitor. “The nail area of the salon gets dusty very quickly. I like to re-arrange the retail area during downtime. It keeps the clients interested,” says Shannon Chomanczuk of A Polished Image, in Windsor, N.Y. Small cleaning tasks can be accomplished when you finish early or a client is running late.
Journal ideas for your perfect dream salon. Everyone dreams of building a better salon. What would you change if money was no object? What would your perfect employees look and act like? Jotting these things down is a productive way to cultivate a vision and keep track of fleeting ideas.
Keep up with fashion and style trends by flipping through magazines and style books. Popular culture is captured in the fashion magazines. Your clients look to you for advice on what is trendy. Check out NAILS' online Style channel for the latest in trends and styles. It’s not only fun — it’s research!
Laugh a little. Research shows that laughing can actually keep us healthier. So, go ahead, enjoy a big, belly laugh. According to helpguide.org, “People who laugh heartily on a regular basis have lower standing blood pressure than the average person. When people have a good laugh, initially the blood pressure increases, but then it decreases to levels below normal. Breathing then becomes deeper, which sends oxygen enriched blood and nutrients throughout the body."
Move around. Walk, stretch, and get your blood flowing. Strike a quick yoga pose between patrons.
Nurture your inner author and create a salon blog. Share your experience, expertise, and talent with the world. Keep it uplifting and positive. For free options to start an easy blog, check out livejournal.com or blogger.com.
Organize your work area or nail table. Aminta Favela of Decoupage Salon and Spa in Slidell, La., “passes unexpected breaks by sprucing up her nail area and cleaning the polish bottles.” Ditch those products that are out of date and no longer used. Tuck a picture of the kids or your significant other in an unexpected place like a file drawer or inside a cabinet. Every time you pull it open, it will give you a smile.
Peruse professional magazines for trends in the nail industry. Check out what is working in other areas by going through our website. Write to your favorite magazine (we hope that’s us) and let them know what your salon is up to.
Quick makeover time. Rearrange the retail area, throw out old magazines, or update accessories. Ponder new paint colors. Change the retail display in the window or create a new one in your boutique. Maisie Dunbar of M&M Wellness, in Silver Spring, Md., creates a quick change by “painting accent walls and changing out pillows.”
Relax. Take some time to enjoy the same pampering you slather on your clients.
Send a thank you note to a new client or reacquaint yourself with someone you haven’t seen in a while.
Try out a new technique. It could be something you have read in a magazine or learned in a class. Practice until you feel comfortable enough to offer the service to clients.
Update your web page, salon menu, address book, or anything else that may be a little (or a lot) outdated. While you are up dating info, remember to store a back-up off premises in case of emergency.
Volunteer in the community. Pick a charity — any charity — and get involved. The options are limitless and you can make a difference.
Write an article for your salon newsletter. Let your creative juices flow. Update clients on home-care, fashion, or nail shape trends.
Xtra extra, read all about it. Start pre-planning the next year of topics for your salon newsletter. With a little planning, the salon can coordinate specials and informative pieces that will encourage clients to keep reading. Start networking with other businesses and trade space in each other’s newsletters.
Yearn to Learn! Whether it's a new position in the salon or just cross-licensing to make better use of your time, invest in your education. Renee Borowy of VIP Salon and Spa in Riverview, Mich., actively encourages apprentices and staff members to engage in cross-licensure to ensure long-term career stability.
Zeal! You have it, now what are you going to do with it? We have given you some ideas to get you started; now, it’s up to you to build on those.