Editor's note: Start Retailing and Give Yourself a Raise

At a recent industry conference I listened to manufacturer after manufacturer, distributor after distributor, talk about the fact that nail technicians are not retailing. Despite survey figures showing that more nail technicians are retailing and that retail income is rising, salon suppliers say that nail salons are not truly realizing the potential of retail. We have done article after article on every facet of how to retail (how to choose a product line, how to display products, how to price them), yet I thought it might be a good time for a personal pitch on the value of retailing.

Even if you are a solidly booked nail technician who gets top dollar for her services and you work six days a week, there is still a limited number of services you can do — which means there is a limited amount of money you can earn. Retailing is an opportunity to remove the limits on your earning power.

Look at some numbers: If you can add a simple bottle of polish (which is the hottest selling retail item) to just half the tickets you write in a day, you earn an extra $115 a month (based on the average nail technician workweek and a $1.50 bottle of polish sold for $3). Don’t balk at that: What else can you do, starting tomorrow, that will get you a raise of $115 a month? Let’s say you took a few minutes during your clients hand massage and told her why you choose the hand lotion you are using on her. Let s say again that she is impressed and purchases a bottle. If your markup on an $8 bottle of hand lotion is $4 and you entice just a quarter of your clients to try a bottle, you’ve just gotten a $150 a month raise. Are you interested in earning a little more money?

The key to understanding retail and feeling comfortable with it is understanding that when you offer a customer a product for purchase it’s part of the service you are providing her. You are a professional she trusts and you are making a professional recommendation. You are not trying to dupe her or “make money off her.” You are simply doing what all service professionals are supposed to do: providing service. Providing a take-home or a maintenance product is an extension of the service your client came to the salon for in the first place. She expects that you will recommend products and services.


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