Nail technicians used to be treated like second-class salon citizens—being relegated to the back of the salon, not getting their due in the consumer press, and generally having a bad reputation for salon sanitation procedures. But now more than ever, we’re seeing nails as the focus in the consumer press, at fashion shows, and in the salon environment. Three beauty industry professionals, a salon owner, a manufacturer, and a distributor—tell us what they think about the power nails have within our great industry. 

Patricia Yankee, Pattie’s Place, North Babylon, N.Y.:  I do think that nail techs have gained more strength in the beauty industry. Many of the major product companies have worked very hard to help nail techs gain more respect and improve upon their positive image in the industry. With the credentials and awards behind many of these prominent company’s owners and educators, the nail industry as a whole is being presented in a much more influential manner.

I also believe that with the poor image many discount salons have presented and with their lack of proper hygiene measures being made public that consumers are seeking out qualified technicians.

As each year passes, I see positive changes happening in the nail industry. I find that in my area clients are seeking out beautiful “works of art” for their nails. They are beginning to notice that there is a difference in services and quality of workmanship. I personally view this as a welcome and positive step in continuing to improve and strengthen the power of nail technicians across the country.

Doug Smith, Director of Education, Creative Nail Design, Vista, Calif.: I think nail professionals have the potential of much more power today based on the limitless opportunities of custom client servicing. Products have become much more sophisticated in recent years and allowed nail professionals to offer more customized services. There are also several take-home products available that allow the nail professional to make recommendations that will extend the benefits of their salon services between appointments (making each customer’s hand and foot beauty goals easy to attain).

I also think nail professionals are taking the time to educate themselves in business-building practices and promotional planning.

I’ve seen nails come out of the back corner of the hair salon and move up to the front, close to the reception area. Hand and foot beauty regimens are feel-good services that consumers are excited to receive. All of these attributes lead to great careers and business power that is real and easy to obtain.

Didi Merriman, Peel’s Salon Services, Omaha, Neb.: At a training I attended a couple of years ago, the guest speaker said, “When an industry flattens out, it is the birth of innovation.” I have witnessed, first-hand, the remarkable growth that the nail industry experienced in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s. In the mid-‘90’s, the nail industry was shaken up by the proliferation of discount salons. Then at the turn of the century, we opened up the floodgates for natural nail care. So here we are in 2006, and the industry is “mature.” I believe this is when the real challenges—and the real opportunities—begin.

I believe if you are a nail technician who truly wants to gain more power and strength in this industry, you have to be determined to be the best! Attend advanced education to sharpen your technical skills. Make sure your salon has scrupulous sanitation systems and that your clients are aware of this. Listen intently to what your clients are saying. Utilize your resources to improve other critical areas of your business. It is completely up to you how much power and strength you choose to have in this industry!

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