Business Management

On My Mind: Are Nail Services Endangered Treatments?

Nail salon techs need to be flexible and stay positive in order to survive in today's economic climate.

I don’t want to keep bringing up the obvious, but we’re now in the throes of a full-blown economic crisis and I’m certain many of you are wondering how it’s all going to work out in the long run. I know I’ve touched on it lightly on this page several times over the last few months, and we’ve been adding more stories on how you can survive in this climate of instability, but what is really happening to our industry? Are we in danger? Are we, as we’ve always believed, recession-proof?

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times put manicures and pedicures (along with bikini waxes and many hair services) on the “endangered treatments list.” The author noted that many women are opting for at-home treatments and stretching the time between in-salon services.

Are nails and other salon services going to go back to being a just for- the-wealthy or special-occasion service like they were many years ago? What can salons do to keep customers coming in for services when the economic prognosis looks so bleak?

I maintain that nails are an “inexpensive luxury” and clients will continue to come in for manicures and pedicures because they can still feel pampered without spending too much money. (A $50 spa-style pedicure is much easier on the wallet than, say, a $150 facial or massage.) But I can see the author’s point that a manicure is much easier to do oneself than say, highlighting your own hair.

I heard from salon owner and frequent NAILS contributor Maisie Dunbar after the article came out and she told me that she simply isn’t letting the current situation affect her. She wrote in an e-mail, “I am one nail tech that this recession is not going to stop. Tell all my fellow nail techs out there to ‘Stop waiting for things to happen and to make them happen now.’”

I believe nail technicians and salons that can make a personal connection with their clients and have the flexibility to adjust their game plans will make it out on the other side of this situation. Readjust your goals, hunker down, and offer the best possible service you can.

We’ve got a great story on page 116 of this issue called “Boosting Morale in a Sagging Economy.” Contributing writer Michelle Pratt talked to salon consultant Neil Ducoff about how maintaining your psyche and your systems are two tools salon owners and techs should use in this time of economic uncertainty.

In the coming months, we’ll certainly be hitting this topic hard in order to help all of you figure out how to stay afloat — and even thrive. Stay positive; do what you do best and don’t scrimp on customer service. It’s all cyclical and we’ll eventually come out on the other side.

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