Business Management

Crowdsourcing: What was the biggest obstacle in opening your salon and how did you overcome it?

This month we asked nail techs: What was the biggest obstacle in opening your salon and how did you overcome it?

I am now about eight years into my salon business, but I had a few obstacles to overcome when I first decided to open my salon. The first problem was location; wherever I looked there was always another salon close by. I also had a problem finding good, reliable licensed nail technicians. Now I get all my nail technicians from a local nail school and train them myself.

Nausil Zaheer, Karma Organic Spa, Ridgewood, N.J.

My biggest obstacle in opening my nail spa was not knowing anyone in this small town. I had to build a clientele and I was a booth renter in a hair salon. One day, I overheard a conversation my co-worker was having with a woman about marketing methods. Turns out, the woman was a professional muse (a mentor, if you will). We managed to work out a professional trade for her services (since I was a start-up on a tight budget) and her first suggestion was to become part of two local networking groups. These groups meet weekly and share business referrals, help members develop their “elevator speech,” and provide education on networking. She also guided me in creating my Facebook fan page and helped me with guerrilla marketing — getting out there, making contacts, and introducing myself to businesses within the downtown area where I now have my nail spa.

Debbie Escamilla, Hand to Toe Nail Services, Merced, Calif.

My biggest obstacle in opening my new salon was confusion with the state board. I scheduled a date for the state board inspector to come view the new location and sign off on it. When the inspector arrived, I was working on a client in my old salon, so I gave her the keys to walk next door to see the new salon. She told me I was supposed to have already moved everything next door and had my new salon set up for business! I was told it would take weeks to schedule another inspection, but I didn’t have weeks. I had to be out of my old salon by that weekend due to a new tenant moving in. I got them to agree to have an inspector back on Monday. It took about five minutes to look at the space and sign my paperwork. It was a horrendous experience for my husband and me to move my entire salon over a weekend with the added stress of the state board fiasco!

Jill Wright, Jill’s — A Place for Nails, , Bowling Green, Ky.

My biggest obstacle was finances. I didn’t come from a wealthy family, but I also didn’t let that stop me. Everything that I have came from working late hours — 1 or 2 a.m. and early mornings, 6 a.m. sometimes — getting the education I needed so that I could reach my goals. The main thing to help me overcome was prayer. I knew I wanted a salon in North Raleigh because I had already done research on the area. I opened my salon a year or so after that prayer and it was in the exact location I wanted. This September will be our 10th anniversary. So don’t think because you’re not born with money you can’t have a salon — you can! There are plenty of people just like you and me who have done it. I had no loan, just money saved. You just have to work a little harder to make it happen. Salon ownership is not for the weak. It requires working smart, and having strategies, marketing plans, and goals that you must work at to achieve.

Michelle Brown, Rejuv’e SalonSpa, Raleigh, N.C.

Next question:

How do you wear your own nails? Do you prefer to do them yourself or have another tech do them for you? Why? [Answers will be printed in the July 2015 issue.] Share your opinion on the topic by e-mailing your response by April 15 to [email protected] Please include your name, salon, city and state, and a high-resolution headshot with your response.

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