Money Matters

On the Other Hand ... Are Things Looking Better or Worse?

Which is it? Is the industry up or on the decline?

Depending on whom you talk to, the nail business is either terrific or flat lining. A few manufacturers are reporting record business in 2001 and unexpectedly good first quarter business in 2002. Others, however, are biting their nails about their ability to sustain their businesses at all. I’ve talked to salon owners who say clients haven’t missed an appointment and are trying all sorts of new services. You ask others, and you hear that being a nail tech just isn’t what it used to be and the money isn’t coming back.

Well, that’s like the blind men trying to describe the elephant isn’t it? There do seem to be some contradictions going on in the business.

On the one hand, most manufacturers report that their domestic business is stagnant. On the other hand, their international business is booming and is reminiscent of the early days of the nail business in the United States.

On the one hand, salons say that clients simply won’t pay for high-end nail services anymore, especially with the glut of discount salons. On the other hand, we’ve noticed that even traditional discount salons are boosting their prices, charging for add-ons, and putting a premium on personal service.

On the one hand, industry watchers say the day spa industry is overestimated—its size is exaggerated. On the other hand, salons adding simple spa services to their menus and upgrading their salon atmospheres are seeing a business revival.

On the one hand, it looks like the professional beauty industry is not drawing high-quality, professional new practitioners. On the other hand, the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS) reports that enrollments in cosmetology school are up, citing some schools up as high as 25% over 2001.

On the one hand, there haven’t been many new genuine product break-throughs or innovations in nails. On the other hand, nail techs can still get excited by things like the new salt scrub products that can be incorporated into a service or be made a profitable add-on.

On the one hand, you can look at the negative, focus on what’s wrong with business, and fret about your future. But on the other hand, you can seek the good, accentuate the positive, and pass along that attitude to anyone who needs it.

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