While you don’t see a lot of little kids coming into the salon for a fill or a pedicure and a glass of wine, tending to the younger generation’s nail needs can be a source of both income and enjoyment. Many of our readers report taking a great deal of pleasure in giving a little girl her first manicure, or helping to prepare her for a special occasion. Cathy Marrone, a 12-year veteran of the nail business, says that she’s had a good deal of success catering to young clients.

Nail technician Elizabeth Zarzecki also finds that giving a client’s daughter a special day has great rewards. She recalls one young client who came in shy and apprehensive, barely able to speak. “She watched my every move,” says Zarzecki. “Throughout the manicure, I talked to her and told her everything I was doing and why. I wiped her little hands with alcohol on a cotton pad. Then, using the finest grit file available. I gently evened out little rough spots on the free edge. When I was done with her left hand, I left it to soak.

“I had prepared a conditioning, antibacterial soak with a little strawberry essence foam in the warm water,” continues Zarzecki. “After I took each hand out of the soak, I gently pushed back her cuticles with the towel as I dried her hands. Then to make it very official looking. I very lightly evened her cuticle with a plastic pusher. I massaged lotion on her hands from a tube with child’s cartoon theme. Then I applied a base coat and one coat of pink polish.” Zarzecki painted tiny daisies on three nails and, at the girl’s request, placed a diamond in the center of each flower and added “some sparkly stuff.”

To commemorate the special event, Zarzecki took the child’s photo and later placed it in a 4x6-inch cardboard photo holder with a plastic cover. On a label he types “My First Manicure” and the date. When the mom came for her next appointment, she gave her photo. “The little girl’s friends’ mom have been have been calling for appointments for their daughters, and three of them made appointments for themselves.” Zarzecki reports.