On My Mind: Nails in the Time of Covid-19
On My Mind: Nails in the Time of Covid-19

No one could have predicted the current crisis our industry has been thrust into. But one of the reasons I love learning about the past is that it can help us prepare for the future. 

During the Great Recession, I did not work in the nail industry, but NAILS of course, was around and was creating helpful content for nail professionals to grapple with the economy. At that time, I was working for a DIY publisher, and as it turns out, the recession benefitted our business because more people were making clothes and accessories rather than buying them off the rack. The lesson here is one several nail professionals have picked up on already, and that’s to start offering at-home kits, removal content, and perhaps even press-ons as ways to utilize DIY until clients can come back to the salon. 

Another past trial for NAILS was the New York Times expose that talked about exploitive conditions in NYC nail salons. The story went viral and we braced for a negative impact on salons everywhere. But the story came and went, and while New York has made strides to better conditions, the industry as a whole did not suffer as we had feared it would. 

I know many of you are panicking. Maybe you too, were not in this business during the recession, or maybe you never even heard about the NY Times article. This could be the first real force that’s rocked your business and you may feel more isolated than ever and stressed about the uncertain amount of time you will not be at your station. Know that NAILS is here for you and I am working harder than ever to gather content that will help you get through this.

Financial loss is probably top of mind for most. This video by Paola Ponce brings to light some of the opportunities where you can use your nail knowledge to make a side income. We live in a gig economy, and many of us have side hustles or perhaps already have in place another avenue for making money (YouTube) but haven’t monetized it yet. Now’s the time to sell extra product that’s unused and look into those other revenue streams that were on the back burner before. Outside of nails, there are sites like Poshmark where you can sell clothes and accessories so you can clean out your closet and make some extra cash.

If there were ever a time to take advantage of education, the time is now. Famous Names is offering complimentary online classes; brands like OPI, CND, Gelish, and Young Nails are going live with free content on their social media; Nailcare Academy is offering discounts on courses; and several of your favorite influencers are going live and continuing to teach from their own accounts, where you can ask questions, learn, and virtually socialize with fellow nail techs (@winnieisawesome is just one example). With free education on multiple platforms and many hours at home, there’s no excuse for not taking advantage of these opportunities. I applaud those in our industry who are continuing to produce great content and are taking into consideration the financial dilemmas facing our community. The sharing of information, now more than ever, shows that you care.

This will not last forever, but I know for many, the ramifications of being closed temporarily could have long-term effects. So I ask you, what are you doing to prepare for another unpredictable unavoidable event? Is it finally time to raise your prices? Will you be asking each and every client to wash their hands before a service? Do you have an emergency savings account in place? Trust me, these are the questions I am asking myself when facing uncertainty as well. Let’s not make this all for nothing, let’s take the time to be honest with ourselves and apply what we’ve learned from the present to make for a better future. 

I don’t want my message to you to be grim or sound scolding, so I’d like to end with a focus on those things that are boosting morale. I have made the decision to continue on with our NTNA competition. Our Top 8 competitors have been extremely professional, upbeat, and have given us all something to get behind that celebrates the goodness of what we do. I encourage you to head over to ntna.nailsmag.com to support Ally, April, Becca, Giselle, Helen, Kadee, Kelsey, and Stella, as they all give us something to look forward to each week. I also want to thank those who have been in communication with me, sharing their thoughts and content they’ve created to help remind us all that we are in this together. Further solidifying this message is the content that’s shared across NAILS’ sister publications, Salon Today and Modern Salon. The beauty industry as a WHOLE needs to band together to come out better.

My wish for all of you after taking the time to read this and absorb the current situation is that you grab ahold of the things that will keep you sane and healthy and loosen your grip on worry. Plan a walk or some indoor exercise time; play with your pets; cook; allow yourself more time on Instagram or Pinterest; download TikTok; watch that show that’s a guilty pleasure; read a book; sleep in; rent that movie; call that friend; do the things you always said you’d do if you didn’t have that packed schedule, commute, or were sitting at a table all day. 

We can look at this period as a crisis or as an opportunity to start anew. I look forward to when salons will open again and we can then discuss the boom in business as clients are finally able to get that fill, new set, removal, or human touch. 

In the meantime, let’s practice kindness toward one another online. While social media is not usually the place where people are on their best behavior, it would be nice to know that in these times where it’s one of the only forms of interaction, that we can count on each other to be positive, comforting, and supportive. Last Thursday, NAILS kicked off its first Virtual Happy Hour on Instagram Live, offering our followers a place to grab a drink and chat. The response to this experiment was encouraging with uplifitng words, actionable ideas, and some much needed sense of community. I invite you to join me each Thursday at 5pm PST while these closures are in place to decompress and chat with your fellow professionals. 

NAILS has seen hard times before, and I am sure we will see them again. The one constant is that we are here to gather the content that will help you the most, until we reach the other side of this. You are all on my mind.

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