Everyone seems to have an opinion about what it takes to succeed in the nail industry these days.  At any opportunity, there is someone willing to come forth with a statement on what single issue is the greatest challenge facing nail technicians today—the issue that will determine nail technicians’ success and future.

Professionalism is a big topic, especially among nail technicians themselves.  Nail technicians are constantly being reminded that their ultimate success rests in their self-esteem and their ability to view themselves as true professionals.

Sanitation is probably one of the most oft-cited make-or-break issues.  I’m not discounting the importance of good sanitation, but everybody seems to believe that unless nail salons live up to higher sanitation standards they will not survive.

There are those who believe that technicians cannot survive long term unless they focus on their business skills and learn to understand profitability, taxes, etc. Ask any group of salon owners what their biggest concern is and they’ll probably say getting and keeping good techs.  Ask a group of manufacturers the same question and they’re likely to be concerned about the lack of qualified people entering the cosmetology arts.

But what I think is getting ignored in all these debates about big industry issues is that what it takes to survive in the nail industry is superior skills.  Although the client enjoys the “salon experience” and the pampering ritual, her number-one reason for coming into the salon is to have her hands transformed.  You have to create beautiful nails to stay in business.

Look through the pages of this magazine and you’ll see lots of images of gorgeous hands and nails, flawless nails that look not only natural but supernatural.  There are not enough nail technicians in this country living up to the promise of today’s products!  It’s probably sacrilege to say that all these other issues are becoming side issues if we are ignoring skills, but if you can’t do nails, it really doesn’t matter how you view yourself, how high your sanitation standards are, or if you know how to create a business plan.

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