Nails is a business based on personal relationships. Your clients count on you to be there for them when they need you to be. So taking an extended break — like a maternity leave — can be unsettling to both tech and client. We asked nail techs to tell us how they handled taking maternity leave. For many, it was the generosity of fellow technicians that made a potentially difficult situation work with ease.

April Franks, Digits Professional Nailcare, Rockford, Ill.: I recently had a maternity leave and it went very smoothly. As a salon owner, I am self-employed. I intended to take six weeks off, but instead only took four. I adjusted my schedule before my leave to be able to care for my baby after. I arranged to work just two and a half (very full) days. My clients only had to see someone else once or twice while I was out. My salon has seven other techs, some still building a clientele, so I was able to put full days every other week in their schedule. They were very happy to have the extra money! Most of my clients have been with me for 11 years. They love the work I do and I am happy to say I only lost two clients because of my new schedule. They still come to the salon and are very happy with their new technicians and that is all that matters to me.

Carolyn Fritz, Nail Designs, Ashland, Mass.: I have never had to deal with maternity leave in my own salon, but I have had to cover for some new moms and I always have maintained them just as the other tech has specified. I always “return” the client to the tech. It has never been a problem. We try to maintain good relations with the surrounding salons and are always willing to give a helping hand. I was soon to ask a favor in return when I was out for knee surgery. Good relations and lots of networking along with strong relationships with local supply houses have been a key factor for us all.

Alisha M. Chmiel, Arti’ Beauty Spa, Kettering, Ohio: For my first child, I took six weeks off. I was new to my career, so I did not need to arrange much. For my second child, who was born almost seven years later, I had a fairly full book of mostly standing appointments. I only took four weeks off, so my clients only missed two fills with me. About two months ahead of time, I started rescheduling people with the other nail techs. I worked all the way till the end — literally. My labor started halfway through my last work day. I finished up my day, went home, got my husband and my son, and went to the hospital!

GraceAnn Horstman, GraceAnne’s Nail Shoppe, Brodheadsville, Pa.: I am pregnant now and luckily just found someone out of school to work with me, so now the tasks begin of getting another desk and getting her trained to be a “mini me.” It’s funny, because when I finished school my first job was to come into a salon where the other tech was two months along, and she trained me to take over her customers. Well that was the best thing that ever happened. She was a great nail tech and showed me everything because there was no jealousy involved. She wanted me to be as good as she was so her customers would be happy. Coming out of school you really don’t know how to do acrylics and I would not have made it without her.  

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