How to Sell Gold Nails With Anything Goes

In any game, the good players, the winners, approach their moves with concentration, strategy, daring. The luck of the draw, the throw of the die, the turn of a card all become choices rather than events.

In any game, the good players, the winners, approach their moves with concentration, strategy, daring. The luck of the draw, the throw of the die, the turn of a card all become choices rather than events.

In the game of nails, you also win with a strategy, a level of skill…by monopolizing (in your client's mind) reputation and services, by moving to counter competition, by taking advantage of every move possible.

According to one manufacturer, every possible move includes the structured and effective retailing of nail accessories, such as gold nails, nail jewelry and nail art, in the salon.

This was the central point repeatedly emphasized during a recent interview with Richard Gross, the creative, energetic force behind his gold nail manufacturing firm, Anything Goes.

It is his contention that in this business game of nails, gold nails and related items increase income for the salon and technician and can strengthen the salons marketing position by setting it apart from others. If handled correctly.

"There is a difference between the salon or technician that displays the product, encourages its use and presents it properly, and the individual who treats it as a specialty one-time sale," explained Richard, "A big difference ... a difference in income, in potential profits. To treat gold nails and nail jewelry as fad items is to ignore their proven track record as fashionable, exciting and profitable jewelry items. This popularity has proven that these items belong in your client's jewelry case, next to their earrings, anklets and bracelets. And that is the way they should be handled in the salon."

Drawing from his years of experience in the nail industry manufacturing and mar­keting 14kt solid gold nails to the salons and technicians, Richard knows how these items sell best, understands the profit potential for the salon and is keenly aware of how the consumer views such products. He is also very aware of the products growth in popularity ... a fact graphi­cally illustrated by the growth in his own firm. For what started in 1 981 as a small variety of plain gold nails has grown to include well over 40 differ­ent styles of plain gold, gem en­crusted, pave' nails ... as well as a variety of finishes, colors, toenails and thumbnails.

The growth of Anything Goes into a major manufacturer is indicative of several factors: The quality and service his firm offers, and also a growing demand for gold nails on a national basis. It is from this experience and product expertise that he offered specific suggestions for profiting from a nail jewelry offering in the salon.

How Much Can Be Made?

Before delving into the specifics of what to buy and how to sell, Richard first explained just what he means by profit potential.

Let's assume that the gold nails available in starter kits range in salon cost from $16.95 to $1 00 for a variety that includes a plain gold nail to a diamond/gold combination, and that the average mark-up to the customer is 40 percent. Let's also assume that a nail technician has a client base of 25.

Now taking an average cost of $40 per nail, dividing that by .6 to' arriveatthe40 percent mark-up, the retail price becomes $66.67 . . . creating a profit of $26.67 per nail. If that nail technician sells only 20 percent of her clients (25 x 20 percent) she has sold five customers an accessory that has made her $133.35 (5 x $26.67).

That added Income was earned by doing much less work and time than a manicure, and if maintained as a weekly sales goal, can generate an additional S533.40 a month, an extra $6,400 a year... just by selling gold nail jewelry.

"Once you understand how profit­able these items can be, and how little time it actually takes to make the sale, you begin to see the poten­tial for the salon," said Richard. "You can literally make a sale in two seconds versus one hour for a manicure and get paid just about the same amount."

Your First Step: What's Needed

In order to take advantage of gold nails and nail jewelry in the salon, a minimum variety is recommended…a variety that can be displayed to customers and one that will help generate interest.

"Minimum stock, for our particular line, involves 6 different pieces of merchandise," said Richard. "We find, and suggest, that within each style, two are the most popular. So for simplicity, a starter kit should include six styles, two sizes each (one to show and one to go)."

Such a beginning would cost the salon approximately $92, plus $16 for a nail sizer, a gauging tool neces­sary for proper fit of nails. Total investment: $108.

"From this approach the salon or technician can show a strong variety. Within this package they can offer four nails in the lower end price, which would be the basic plain gold nail, also one with a different texture, color, and one with ornamentation, such as diamonds or other gems."

From this investment, added Rich­ard, "Look for a return of at least $180, based on a minimum 40 per­cent mark-up."

One critical aspect of retailing gold nails, and one that can deter­mine success or failure, is what Richard describes as a belief in the product. It is not enough to purchase the starter kit and then wait for the sales. Once you have the nails, the next step is to sell them. And that means that you need "to have faith."

"The biggest problem for the salon owner or nail technician to overcome in beginning such a pro­gram is that they need to have faith in the product, to believe that it is not a fad, but a viable accessory," he said. The point: that the technician and salon owner must exploit the credibility they have with their clientele.

"Exploit may not be the best choice of words," stated Richard, "but to successfully sell accessories, the technician and salon owner must take advantage of their credi­bility, of the fact that their customer look to them for guidance, sugges­tions and information regarding nails.

"Gold nails are a beautiful piece of jewelry that are extensions of beauti­ful nails, and all that they stand for. They are a compliment to the mani­cure, one that won't get lost (after proper application by a professional) or overlooked.

"So the technician and owner must play off all these things in the salon in order to successfully retail gold nails. They must take advantage of the fact that they are professionals and that their clients respect their views."

Marketing The Gold Nail

Now that you have decided you want to earn that potential $6,400, and your starter kit has arrived, your next step is to set up a plan to market the nails to your customers.

In-salon marketing can be achieved in a variety of ways, from setting up a nail bar where nail jewelry and decorative accessories are sold, to counter displays at the table or register. The key is to draw' attention to the product, to its use, its look. Some companies, as Anything Goes, offer a variety of material that enhances the product's visibility and sales.

"For example," described Richard, "we offer color point-of -purchase, large posters, four-color brochures on our total line, a point-of-purchase Lucite display box and a variety of advertising slicks that can be used to effectively advertise gold nails."

In addition, Anything Goes has available to select salons, a fast-paced, traffic-stopping, color video­tape that boasts a musical format for marketing gold nails. This four-minute tape, available in BETA or VHS, entertains, educates and sells.

"The important aspect is that you have to show the product," empha­sized Richard, "in bright, colorful ways. Use counter top displays to show the stock in a minimum space and then back that up by wearing the product in the salon. The client's curiosity will force them to ask ques­tions, and that's where you close the sale."

One approach is to physically place the product on the nail, allow­ing the customer to see, touch and feel the product.

"At that point, you can close by asking, 'May I apply the nail as we finish the other hand?'

"It is your belief in the product, your genuine appreciation, your comments that the nail adds to the beauty of the client's hands ... all prepare the client for the sale," he said.

As a salon owner, consider offer­ing commission to the nail technician selling the product. Request that they wear gold nails and are familiar with the product's quality, price and style. To generate interest in the community, use ad slicks to an­nounce the fact that you now carry an "exclusive" line of gold nails. Consider a listing in the local Yellow Pages under jewelry. Or contact the fashion editor of the local paper to generate editorial coverage of gold nails and your salon.

"Announce the fact that you now carry the beautiful, fashionable, affordable Anything Goes nails in newspapers, flyers, business cards. Anything that helps spread the word," suggested Richard.

Another approach: Men.

"This is an excellent retail item to the men who come into the salon," added Richard. "He will see it as an exciting, different gift for his lady. Gift certificates to him for the woman to '"get the nail of her choice is an excellent way to market this product."

The idea with gold nails is to create the market, to generate the interest. Gold nails and related accessories can be impulse items, but you have to create that impulse by showing the product, by generat­ing interest.

"In business," added Richard, "salon and technicians have to be entrepreneurial, have to show crea­tivity in the marketing of their ser­vices and salon. They need to exploit' their differences, to set themselves apart from other shops. Retailing gold nails can accomplish just that."

As a company, Anything Goes has been at the forefront of design, product service and product quality, making the commit­ment early to promotional and mar­keting tools for the salon. Their new videotape is just the latest in a line of innovative tools for the effective selling of gold nails. In addition, the firm has just added 20 percent more new items and dimensions in style to their 1 985 line . . . without increasing their prices. Their policy of shipping next day, and of regularly accepting and replacing nails ruined from obvious customer neglect, has estab­lished this firm and attributed to its dramatic success and growth.

"Anything Goes is extremely com­mitted to the beauty industry and to the salon," remarked Richard, "and will continue and maintain this com­mitment in any way possible... be it product, design or service."

Richard currently emphasizes his firm's service capabilities with a style, a philosophy actually, of how business should be run. For example, a toll-free number for orders is open until 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time for the convenience of salons across the country. In addition, his per­sonnel are not merely order takers…all are well versed in the product and can provide insights into selling and servicing the gold nail customer.

"These people have the experience of talking with hundreds of nail technicians and salon owners a day," reflected Richard. "They know how to get a new account off to the right start in their customer's eyes. And for the established account, can provide insights into the effective ways of marketing the products."

And to help Anything Goes clients "swing into spring," Richard is offering a rebate discount program: Every customer that purchased $1,000 in merchandise from him in 1984 will be given a 10 percent discount on every purchase made in the month of April. It's his way of saying thanks.

"We offer these service aspects on a regular basis to help the technician and salon owner firmly estab­lish in her client's mind that gold nails are not a fad item, and that they are fully backed by the manufacturer in the event anything goes wrong. We are committed to this product as a piece of fine jewelry that should be in every lady's jewelry box. We make the best possible product with the best possible quality because the gold nail and the industry deserve it. And because in the end, what we are talking about is the impact we are all having on the customer, her physical appearance and her emotional state of mind. It is very important that we maintain that style, that commitment to quality, that dedication to beauty."

And if in the end, the salon owner and technician can profit from their commitment, their desire to grow and prosper, while servicing the customer, then everyone has bene­fited. For the profits made in one area can help to ensure that the entire operation will be profitable and in business to continue to service the diverse needs of today's nail care market.



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