When it comes to gift giving, many nail techs would rather not think about it. For one, giving clients a little something, whether it is during the holidays or for their birthday, can get expensive. You don’t want to go so overboard with gifts that you exceed your budget. Then there’s the trying-to-be original ordeal. It can get boring if you hand out the same thing each year. And don’t forget the time constraints. With a nail tech’s busy schedule, when is there time to go out and purchase gifts?

The nail techs we talked to all make it a point to show clients their appreciation by giving them gifts that come from the heart. They show that it doesn’t take a lot of cash to come up with creative gift ideas. All it takes is a little thinking, creativity, and dedication.

While the truly adventurous can create their own gifts, for the rest of us, a distributor can also be the answer for off-the-shelf items that clients will be more than happy to receive — and may keep them coming back to buy refills in the future.

Gina’s Chocolate Spoons

Gina Marsilli of Perfect 10 Salon in Wilmington, Del, lover to make edible goodies for her clients. She’s made everything from chocolate-covered cookies to chocolate-dipped spoons (the recipe is feature here).

Marsilli says the got the idea few years ago after walking to several gift shops and noticing them on their shelves. She made about 300 of them a few years ago and handed them out to clients during the holidays.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Plastic spoons
  • Dipping chocolate
  • Plastic wrap
  • Colored wire

Heat the chocolate for a few minutes in a microwave, safe dish until it melts. Then, dip the spoon into the chocolate a few times. Place on wax paper allow to cool then wrap the spoon in plastic and tie with colored wire.

Kathy’s Glycerin-Based Soap

Kathy Lynn of Off Broadway Salon in Orangeville, Ontario, likes to give her clients sweet-smelling presents that they can use over and over. She makes gift bags containing three soaps, a lip balm, and a nail file or three-way buffer for her preferred clients.

Lynn who buys the soap ingredients and molds from a local supplier, says she once spent a whole Sunday making them. “They harden so quickly.” She says. “By the time you finish one batch and fill your molds and get the next batch ready, you can pop them out and put in the second batch.”

She’s made soaps in a variety of scents, including baby powder, cranberry, honey oatrneal, and tangerine lime.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Glycerin base (clear or white)
  • Fragrance and color (either liquid or powder foam)
  • Soap molds

Cut the glycerine (visit. www.soapscope.com for information on purchasing the soap ingredients) into soap-size pieces. Add a tablespoon of water and place in the microwave until the concoction has melted.

Add your preferred scent and color to the concoction right after taking it out of the microwave. Add one tablespoon of fragrance for every pound of soap base and a few drops of coloring legs if you are mixing more than one color together Then, pour into molds and allow the soap to set. You can also place the molds in the refrigerator for faster cooling.

Clients love getting homemade soap, courtesy of Kathy Lynn of Off Broadway Salon on in Orangeville, Ontario She’s made a variety of scented soaps through out the years, including tangerine line and baby power.

Nichole’s Sachets

A bridal shower has proved to be a blessing for Nichole Patrick of the Upscale Nail by Nichole in Lincoln Park, Mich. When her bridesmaids had trouble coming up with a gift idea for shower attendees. Patrick thought of making sachets in the colors of her wedding gown. The goodly-filled sachets proved such a hit that she decided to make them for her clients as well.

“I don’t celebrate the holidays, but since most of my clients do. I make them as year-end gifts or I give them to clients on their anniversaries,” she says. Normally, she says she hands out 30 sachets throughout the year.

The sachets are made out of lace or any other fabric. She turns down the fabric at the top and stitches a small pocket for a ribbon to go through to tie the sachet shut. In them, she includes everything from cuticle oil, a small nail file, and some lotion to a mini-pedicure kit.” What makes the gifts special, though are the sachets,” she says.

Nichole Patrick of The Upscale Nail by Nichole in Lincoln Park, Mich., not only makes sachets for her clients, she also the cuticle oils and salt glows she places inside.

Yvette’s Biscochito Cookies

Each year during the holidays. Yvette Nevarez of Lem Manicure Nail Salon in Albuquerque, N. M. whips out an old recipe her next-door neighbour gave her for making biscochitos or “small biscuits” The Mexican cookies are just as popular as the tamales and posole (spicy beef stew) she makes

Here’s what you’ll need

  • I small and I large bowl
  • Any shape cookie cutter
  • Foiled cookie sheet
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of anise seed or extract
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 5 cups of flour
  • 1 pound of shortening

(Mix all these ingredients in the small bowl and put aside)

Soften the shortening with one cup of cold water, Nevarez likes to put the shortening and cold water into a big bowl so she can add the flour to the mixture. Remove the water from the shortening.

Add five cups of flour and mix together. Slowly add the mixture from the small bowl to the flour until the mixture is thick. If the dough is too sticky, add another cup of flour.

Cut the dough in half and roll it out on a floured surface. The dough should be about 1/2” thick. Use the cookie cutter to cut dough into shapes. Place on foiled cookie sheets and take at 350°F or until golden brown.

Allow the cookies to cool, then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over them. Makes about for dozen cookies.

Gift Baskets and Goodie Bags

Who doesn’t love getting a goodie bag or gift basket filled with products? For many nail techs putting together such a set guarantees success.

Beth Van Blancom of Love Those Nails in Westboro, Mass., handed out champagne glasses filled with mini sizes of products to celebrate the new millennium. The great thing about the gift was that after clients used the products, they could use the glass as well.

Terri Lancaster of Nails by Design in Kent, Wash, likes to custom-made gift baskets for clients on special occasions. “If clients are getting married they’re moving away, or there’s another special occasion, Ill make they are moving away, or there’s another special occasion, I’ll make them a gift basket,” she says. She usually fills it with products from one manufacturer because she doesn’t like to look, like a hodge podge, she says.

Deb Blowars of Artistic Trends Salon in Perkasie, Pa., gets small sizes of hair, skin, and nail products and places them in a clear holiday-decorated cellophane bag tied with a ribbon. “We do this for Christmas as well as for thank you gifts for people who send us referrals” Blowars says.

The bags are handed out several weeks before the holiday season begins. “Throughout the year we watch for special savings through distributors for gift items.” She says.

Deb Blowars of Artistic Trends Salon in Perkasie, Pa., likes to make kits containing mini sizes of products. She places them in decoration holiday bags.

Sheryl’s Bath Bombs

Sheryl Goldberg of Bearj Antonio Salon & Spa in Buffalo Grove, IL, loves to conjure up sweet-smelling gifts. In the past, she’s handed out cuticle oil, bath salts, and bath bombs – and all have been made with her own hands. She’s also prone to collecting mini sizes of products all year long and placing them in goodie bags for clients. “I collect mini top coats, base coats, lotions, and other items,” she says. “It makes it less expensive when the holidays come around, I try to take care of the clients who take good care of me.” Creating her bath bombs was easy, she says.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Dry Ingredients

  • 3 cups of baking soda
  • 2 cups of citric acid

Liquid Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of sweet almond or safflower oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon of scented oil
  • 8 drops of food color
  • Also
  • Flor sifter
  • Mold (an ice cream or melon ball scooper is fine)
  • Witch hazel

Sift the dry ingredients together in a floor sifter. Max the liquid ingredients together and add to one cup of dry ingredients. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix with hands.

Press the mixture into a mold, gently turn over and release it from the mold Lightly spary the bombs with witch hazel to help them set.

Allow the bombs to dry for 24 hours or in a food dehydrator for six hours. The amount of bath bombs made depends on the size they are made and the mold that is used.

Glenda’s Christmas Ornaments

Although Glenda Stephenson of Hair Magic in Winter Haven, Fla., hand out her handmade ornaments during the holidays she’s hard at work on them months before the end of the year “I make them whenever there’s spare time,” she says Stephenson has been making ornaments for her clients since 1983, after getting the idea from craft shows and books.

Instead of sticking to one design, she makes several different ornaments, ranging from small grapevine wreaths to sand dollar designs. Besides that she also makes fudge, cookies gingerbread house, and other edible gifts.

Stephenson picked up the seashells at the beach but you can get them from a craft store if you don’t live near the ocean.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sand dollars and assorted small shells
  • Glue
  • Spray paint
  • Gold elastic

Glue small shells all around the sand dollar. In the middle of the sand dollar, glue larger-size shells in a flower formation. Add a small shell for the flower center.

Then spray gold paint lightly across the sand dollar and reddish paint over the shell in the center of the “flower” Glue the gold elastic tie to the back of the sand dollar. Add small green leaves to the flower if desired.

Glenda Stephenson of Hair Magic in Winter Haven, Fla., starts making ornaments for her clients months before the holiday season.

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