Department stores and retail boutiques are getting $15 and up for a bottle of nail polish. Never before has nail color been as popular as it is now; never before has brand-name recognition in nail products been as high as now, with Chanel’s Vamp still going strong and Hard Candy’s edible-looking dark colors all the rage with Den Xers (not to mention the fashion-defying Urban Decay colors). So why is it, then, that nail salons are not selling record-breaking amounts of nail polish themselves?

Because they’re not trying.

Too few nail salons have been able to turn the heightened interest in nail color into a retail boon for themselves. The reasons are many: They do not see the opportunity for what it is; they simply do not have the marketing understanding to make use of the demand for color; they do understand what’s going on, but they aren’t offering customers the right products; they are offering products, but they don’t know how to display or price them to move.

It’s a simple concept, retailing is, but it isn’t so simple to do successfully. The opportunity that exists is to be the primary source of new polish colors for the clients. You are the nail professional, after all; you need to turn your clients on to the latest colors (not the other way around!). Just about every polish maker in the professional business has a lone of metallics and pastels. Keep in stock current products in fashionable colors. Display them in such a way that they actually invite customers to try and buy. Don’t be afraid to look to department store retail counters for ideas on moving products. Have everyone in the salon wear the colors so clients see how they look on (aren’t all the salespeople at The Gap wearing denim and chinos?).

The next color season will shortly be upon us. Get ready to take full advantage of the retail possibilities.

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