Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, executive vice president and artistic director of OPI Products, worked in the fashion industry for 10 years in manufacturing, design, and style. This month, she has asked to respond to some common questions she hears in her frequent travels to nail salons across the country.

DEAR SUZI: I try to keep on top of nail trends so I can get a jump on the latest colours to retail to my clients. Can you tell me what to expect for fall 1996?

SUZI: Colour is very much alive for the fall/winter season: Black has been replaced with an exciting palette of colours with a heavy emphasis on shades of purple, eggplant, and plum. Lush fabrics, such as velvet, add elegance and glamour. Expect to see OPI Nail Lacquers in a rich array of shimmer and matte shades, and look for shades of gold and pewter for the holidays.

DEAR SUZI: I have clients that insist on extremely long nails. In your opinion, what is the best nail length and shape?

SUZI: Nail length and shape is subjective and depends on your client’s lifestyle and fashion preferences. This season, OPI recommends the practical but beautiful “squoval” shape in medium to shorter lengths. The style blends best with the coming season’s elegant look.

DEAR SUZI: It seems that I have been working harder than ever and not making as much as I used to. What can I do to keep my business up with the cost of living?

SUZI: Doing more clients per day would increase your income, but working longer hours is not the answer. Work smarter instead of harder! One of the best ways to do this is through salon retailing.

Have product displays strategically placed throughout your salon to spark interest. Change the displays often and feature products with a proven retail track record. For example, nail salons are reporting tremendous success with OPI’s Nail Envy Natural Nail Strengthener. When you talk about the products to clients, focus your conversation on her needs and her nails. Share with her the benefits of the products you use on her during her service. And, practice what you preach. If you want to sell the latest products and colors, wear them!

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