Reader to Reader: What was the most important thing you learned in beauty school?

January 01, 2011

What was the most important thing you learned in beauty school?


I learned to act professional at all times. This includes not gossiping. (Clients don’t need to hear your problems.) Also, be happy, positive, and friendly, and listen to clients with both ears — they’ve paid for their time. Represent yourself as a true licensed professional and take pride in your work and your reputation. And sanitation is a must at all times. - SHIRLEE ANN KERR, Five Doors Down: the Salon, San Dimas, Calif.

Never refuse a tip. Just say “thank you.” (That’s probably not the most important tip I learned, but a smart one that I haven’t forgotten 20 years later.) - JENNIFER JONES, The Beauty Room, Stittsville, Ontario, Canada

In school I learned the basics and state laws and regulations. I learned how to start up a conversation, be professional, and to never take criticism personally. Learn from it and do your best. Never give up! - RACHEL KARAKAS, Divine Creations, Sparks, Nev.

1. Mouth closed when clipping toenails. 2. Never come to work late. Be at least 15 minutes early. A client should not have to wait to be pampered. 3. Know the laws in your state and follow them religiously. 4. Do not offer free services to friends and family members. It’s called work for a reason. If you are going to trade with a fellow coworker, make sure it’s a fair trade. 5. Stay positive. Don’t talk negative about coworkers, clients, or previous places of employment. The worst thing you can do in this business is burn bridges. Everybody knows everybody! - TRACY CONLEY,  Nails by Tracy, Milwaukee

I believe my 18 years of being a nail tech have gotten me where I am now. You leave school with book knowledge, but until you sit behind the chair and continue to get educated you can’t fully reach your potential. There are a few things that have stuck with me and they have made a huge difference in my reputation as a nail technician. First, never talk religion, never talk politics, and never repeat what someone has shared with you. I do not gossip and you get a feel for the people that share your same views, so sometimes you know what you can and cannot say. If I know that there is a huge difference in opinion, then I keep my mouth shut. I have great clients and I know they trust me. - KELLIE HARRIS, Corpo Bello Salon and Day Spa, Peoria, Ill.

The most important thing I learned in school was about sanitation and disinfection. We always want to keep the clients happy and safe. I also learned how to be professional both with my clients and the other people I work with in the salon. - JUDI BELL, Classic Clipper, Effingham, Ill.

I learned a lot. You don’t have to use all brand name professional products. Reynolds tin foil works just as well as the colored foils. Friends and family will always try to get discounts. And remember: location, location, location (if you are going to open a salon)! - KELLY TRAVER, Picture Perfect Salon, Willow Springs, Mo.


How can I cut costs and finally make a profit?

I’ve been doing nails for almost two years and have built a decent clientele. The only problem is, I did the math and over 50% of my income is going back into nail products. I’m using top-of-the-line brands and disposable files. How can I cut costs and finally make a profit? I know our prices are too low as well, but we are trying to stay competitive. Any advice?


As a mobile tech, how do I ensure I get paid?

I have a question about working as a mobile tech. When clients book group events or nail parties, how do you go about getting deposits and payments? Have you ever traveled to a client’s house and they were unable to pay? What did you do?


What should I do differently with male clients?

I’m starting to get more and more male clients. I am wondering how long a manicure for a man should last and how to price it? Also do you have any recommendations on what else I can do to give them an extra masculine sense of comfort?


Should I Use Punch Cards?

I recently started working at a high-end salon and I’m looking for marketing ideas. Should I do punch cards? I can’t do “refer-a-friend” because I don’t have consistent clients yet. We are already doing social media.


Should I start requiring a nonrefundable deposit for special-time appointments?

I want to start requiring a nonrefundable deposit for special-time appointments. My posted hours are 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. by appointment only. I am ridiculously flexible with my schedule, and let people book earlier and later if they can’t get in during normal hours. Recently, I had a 7:30 a.m. no-show! She was supposed to get services totaling over $100, and I forfeited holiday plans to accommodate her. She comes every two weeks, so I can’t lose her, but this is the second time she’s no-showed. What should I do? And how would I go about informing current clients of the new policy on off-hour deposits?

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