What happens when you get to the top of the industry? Everyone else wants to join you or take you down. To make sure you keep the power, make sure you are implementing some of these power-salon practices into your services and business.

1 Gels

You would think that after 20 years, a service could hardly be considered a trend; but this is not thecase for gel nails. Aftertheir introduction in the ‘80s, gels failed to gain rave reviews. But as manufacturers have begun investing technology into gel systems, they’re now making large popularity gains in nail services.

Gels are more lightweight than acrylics and are odorless. They work well in spas and salons with no-odor policies, and they are often considered as more of a high-end service compared to acrylic enhancements Because of that high-end perception, techs are able to charge a higher price for a similar (or faster) service than acrylics.

2 Perishable Pedicures

Because the Farmer’s Market isn’t just the shabby chic trend of the stars anymore, perishable goods are popping up everywhere in spa-style services.

Clients will love the luxurious feeling of roses, daisies, or apple wedges tickling their toes. Other items to try include citrus I fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes.

3 Seasonal Polishes

The fashion trends change every season, and in the nail industry so do the polish trends. Many nail polish manufacturers create new polish collections for each season. The collections are often inspired by the activities and weather of the season or the fashion seen on that season’s runways.

The seasonal polish colours come in sets of about six colours, and they often have a clever name you can use in marketing your services for that season. Another marketing aid for this seasonal trend is the displays. Often the seasonal polishes come in an eye-catching display to help you retail more of the product.

4 In-Spa Parties

Pampering parties are gaining ground in nail spa businesses. Renting out your space and services works well for bachelorette parties, birthday celebrations, and office parties. Fees can either be a flat rate per person, or you can, charge per service.

5 Full-Coverage Nails

Gaining in recent popularity are full-coverage nails Prescription Nails have been around the industry for a while, but with Dashing Diva’s recent breakout in the franchise business, full-coverage nails are the latest I rage in enhancements. Magazines like In Style, Allure, and Star either feature celebrities wearing Dashing Diva’s Virtual Nails or discussing them. The full-coverage nails have come a long way from the drug-store varieties of the 1980s. Coming in a multitude of sizes and designs, the full-coverage nails allow you to give the look of acrylic nails to clients who only want a temporary style. Service time is low, as is the amount of damage to the natural nail. Soak-off time for these enhancements is about 20 minutes.

6 Stone Therapy

Include stone therapy in your manicure and pedicure services. Stones provide therapeutic benefits and can be included in luxury manicure or pedicure services.

Make sure you are aware of how best to use stones A helpful starting place is “Rock Your Clients’ Services” found in the December 2005 issue or online at www.nailsmag.com.

7 Paraffin Dip

Every piece of luxury you can offer clients puts you closer to the top. A luxurious trend in treatments is paraffin dips — for the hands or the feet. Paraffin adds one more level of moisture to your services, and it brings therapeutic benefits as well.

8 Spa-Style Pedicures

Whether you’re a nails-only salon or a full service day spa, spa-style pedicures cannot be overlooked. They have been everywhere in the news. As they’ve been gaining in popularity, more clients are looking for places to get these services.

One industry veteran calls these pedicures the “gateway drug” for the spa industry. You most likely won’t get a woman who’s never stepped foot in a spa to strip down naked for a massage with a stranger. But you will be able to get her to roll up her pant legs for a luxurious spa-style pedicure — and while she’s there, she’ll see the euphoria of other services and be more likely to try them later on. It may take a few trips, but pedicures are the gateway to other services — and profits.

9 Custom Colors

Custom-blended manicures acknowledge that all skin colours are not created equal. With custom blending, you can create acrylic nails that match clients’ skin tone.

Featured in magazines like Redbook and Modern Bride, these manicures, which last longer than polish, are one of tie industry’s newest trends, and they are making French manicures beige-and-white or tan-and-white, not just pink-and-white.

10 Website

If you don’t have a website, yet, why not? You may have to shell out a few hundred bucks to have it designed, but it’s worth it.

If you truly can’t bring yourself to pay someone to design your website, consider enlisting the help of tech-savvy friends. They can either give you a discount, or you can trade out your services for their services.

However you have it designed, make sure it is easy to get around. Your contact information should be visible, and your menu of services and hours should be available as well.

11 Blog

A blog, which is short for web log (journal), isn’t just a diary to vent your frustrations. It can also be a place to put salon happenings, specials, last-minute openings, and photos.

The blog can be a site linked from your salon’s regular website or Myspace.com page, but it can also be its own entity or act as your spa’s main site.

Blogs are also incredibly easy to use. They require no sense of web design or coding. They come in standard templates, and you simply type in the text you want to appear or upload photos from your computer.

Make sure to keep it up, though — give blog readers reason to check it at least once a day or week.

And remember, if you’re using the blog to attract current and potential clients, keep it professional.

12 E-Newsletters

Let your clients read tips and advice on nail care, receive exclusive deals, and learn more about the people and products at your salon. An e-newsletter (electronic newsletter sent via e-mail) notifies clients of all this information.

The newsletters can be sent out weekly or monthly, and the content will depend on what you want your clients to know. For more information on setting up e-newsletters, read “All the News That’s Fit to E-Mail” in the March 2006 issue of NAILS or at www.nailsmag.com.

13 Online Message Boards

Chat with other nail techs online. Get some of your tricky technical questions and business- related questions answered by other nail techs when you use online message boards.

The forums at www.nailsmag.com and www.beautytech.com have message boards where you can post or answer nails-related questions.

14 A Myspace.com Site

Myspace.com has been showing up on the news every day now. Created as a networking site that allows people to communicate with friends, track down old ones, and make new friends, Myspace.com also works wonders for businesses Sense Nail Spa in Shoreline, Wash., has a Myspace.com page (www.myspaoe.com/sensenailspa) that allows clients to post rave reviews in the comments section.

One of the biggest technology trends of the last year, a free Myspace.com page will be just one more way clients can find you or see what else you have to offer.

15 V.I.P. Club

Client loyalty can be difficult to come by. To do this, and increase your bottom line, implement a V.I.P. club that members pay to join.

Depending on your salon’s size, prices, and services, membership can range from $10 to $5,000. Perks could be a specific percent off of retail items or a flat dollar amount off of services.

Service Station in Los Angeles offers V.I.P. membership at the $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000 levels. Depending on the level of membership, members receive a set amount of hours in the spa’s conference room, V.I.P. spa access, and the amount of the membership (plus more at the higher levels) in spa services.

These perks and services will keep your wishy-washy clients coming back for more — and reward your frequent customers.

16 Private Label Products

It’s all in the bottle with the private-label trend. Salons and spas everywhere are creating their own line of retail items for clients to take home.

Creating your own private label line gives your salon instant class and branded name recognition — and it helps raise your retail profits. For more information on creating your own private line read “Baby, Remember My Name” in the February 2006 issue of NAILS.

17 Serving Spirits

Celebratory drinks are becoming a fad in the industry. Salons and spas may serve alcohol either as a complement to a service (i.e. a chocolate martini with a chocolate pedicure) or as a treat for late- night guests.

18 Cucumber Water

Fresh goods aren’t just for the feet and hands, though. Plain drinking water makes a spa or salon seem plain. High-end spas and salons across the country are serving cucumber water instead.

To make this cheap-and-easy drink, simply put a few pitchers of water in your salon’s fridge at night with cucumbers sliced into them (you can also add lemon or lime slices). Filter the slices out of the drinks or let them slide into the cups for a crunchy after-drink nibble.

19 Cleanliness

Cleanliness is hardly a trend in the industry, but how you show clients your clean services is.

Showing just how clean they are, techs are displaying everything from “disinfected” signs on stations to individual nail kits for each client. This ensures that cross-contamination is limited. Make sure your clients know about your disinfecting, sanitizing, and sterilizing procedures.

20 Client Education

Offer client classes to teach your clients what they should or want to know. You can teach them everything from at-home acrylic care to at-home nail art.

Millie Haynam, owner of Natural Beauty Salon in Twinsburg, Ohio, recently hosted a foot-education class in conjunction with a local podiatrist, and Dashing Diva has recently begun offering nail art classes in its flagship New York City salon. The classes are a perfect time to help clients fix common problems or answer common questions, and they are a great retailing opportunity for you. After your demonstration, let clients know about the products for sale that you discussed.

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