Reader to Reader: What’s been your best salon theme party to date?

December 31, 2010

What’s been your best salon theme party to date?


Our studio did a couples’ party. The 12 couples had a candlelight dinner prepared by a chef, and we set up a spa suite for couples’ manis, pedis, and massages. The host put together a CD of each couple’s favorite song and we placed it in a goodie bag for each couple to take home with them. - RONIEKA PAGE-HOWELL, Abstract Nails & Wellness Studio, Carmel, Ind.

I have several clients who are sales representatives who are always asking me to be a hostess. Instead, I will allow them to leave a catalog in the waiting area — for make-up, jewelry, etc. — or hold their own parties in the salon on the days we’re closed. I either offer nail services during the party or the sales rep will buy gift certificates from the salon to give away for the door prize. It works great because I get out of being a hostess and all their invitees (whether they attend the party or not) are given directions to my salon. My favorite one was a scrapbook party. The ladies did their scrapbooking in between their manicures and pedicures. I used UV top coat to avoid smudge problems. - NANCY DONATONE MCCOY, McCoy Nail Salon, Walnut, Miss.

My business is a mobile full-service nail salon, and I had a cruise party. It was a lot of fun and the girls had many drinks. They were so entertaining. - SHANNON PARKER, Tips and Toes To Go, Pekin, Ill.

We offer “Princess” birthday parties at which each girl, including the birthday girl, gets her hair, fingernails, and toenails done, then goes home with a small goodie bag. - JEAN NICHOLS, Nichols Nails by Jean at Hair Decisions, Milan, Ind.

My favorite was not at my own salon, but I was the focus. When I was pregnant a local salon did a baby shower with pedicures and leg massages for everybody who was pregnant. We got gift baskets of pedicure stuff for after the baby. It was fun with all of the decor and baby shower games. - CLAUDIA IACOVETTO, C-C My Nails, Newcastle, Wyo.

It was St Patrick’s Day 2004. I knew a guy who did a fabulous Irish brogue, so we had him dress up in a kilt and serve Bailey’s all day! What a hit! - MAGGIE FRANKLIN, Art of Nailz, Visalia, Calif.

Every year we all dress up for Halloween. We don’t do a regular schedule of paying clients. The staff pitches in and buys goodies (popcorn balls, candy apples, and candy) and packs them into bags that are always too small. We do everything from glitter to rhinestones to far-out eyelashes. We play scary music in the background, and the place is decorated to the hilt. We use professional face paint, and we start a list in early October of whom and how they will be painted. If the participant needs a hairstyle to match his or her outfit, it’s done (including color hair spray and of course more glitter). I get excited planning our yearly Halloween face and hair adventure. - LUCIA ETCHAMENDY, Lucia’s Hair and Nail Salon, Hesperia, Calif.

Illustration by Ajay Peckham


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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