We have a rule of thumb around here that I’m not supposed to use this page to write about what’s in this issue. I’m supposed to take a stand on an industry issue, challenge your assumptions about the status quo, or forecast trends I see on the horizon. I’m not supposed to simply say, “We’ve got a great issue this month.” But, this month, this issue takes a stand, challenges your assumptions, and forecasts trends … everything I’m supposed to do on this page.

For business trends, we look at two fresh approaches to salon ownership. Hannah Lee’s article on “boutique nail salons” belies the notion that the mid-level salon is a goner. She shares a glimpse of a business model, which she’s calling boutique nail salons, that combines a great looking salon with services priced for the masses. Springing up in the discount salon heartland of California, these salons (and their owners) are refreshing in their excitement about nail care and the salon experience. An-other piece that will intrigue you is our On the Road visit to Q Salon Studios, a salon that’s really 19 little independently owned salons in one. Hannah and I visited recently and were immensely impressed by the professionalism of the nail technicians, the personalized salon environments created in a small space, and an overall concept that just might breathe new life into the idea of small salon owner-ship.

For style trends, the nails coming out of Russia are going to boggle your mind. I’m not sure these styles will catch on, but they are so intricate and so imaginatively created that it will take you a minute to realize these are actual nails. They’re almost optical illusions. The artistry of the Russian nail professionals who created the nails in our feature will astound and inspire you.

And finally, we’ve got more numbers for you to crunch on with our acrylics users survey. At NAILS, we look at the nail industry not just from a technical and style point of view, but from a practical business advantage, by putting this kind of statistical data together. We talked to nail technicians about their own acrylic use (We wondered how many of you defy manufacturer’s instructions and mix and match, for example.) and your real attitudes about competition powders (not all of you are that impressed by them). Again, it’s an ongoing effort to provide you with information available nowhere else in the nail business.

So I broke our rule about this page, but it’s only to share with you the stories of some other rule-breakers. Enjoy.

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