Pick a Niche

I was recently contemplating how diverse the nail industry has become in the last couple of years.
It’s actually offered a lot of diversity for a very long time, but just these last few years that diversity has hit its stride. It’s no longer a matter of the people working in the industry being aware of the diversity of products, services, and techniques that is available, but public awareness has bloomed — not just bloomed, downright exploded!
I have always been one of those do-it-all type techs. I got into the biz when the “it” service was acrylics sculpted on forms with handpainted nail art. That’s what was most requested when I hung out my shingle and it’s what I got the most practice at, so it’s what I ended up best at.
In 20 years, my hometown hasn’t changed much in what it likes to wear on its fingers. I’m cool with that. It turns out I like creating “fake” nails.
I know we’ve been working on not using the word “fake.” But that’s what I do. I make nails longer and thicker filled with glitter and Mylar, using polymers in an array of anything-but-natural colors. I don’t do nails that could pass for the real thing.
My clients love them, and I enjoy the creative challenges of doing them.
Many marketing resources advise you to find a niche for your business within your industry. Essentially, specialize in something that sets you apart from your competition. Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to do it all.
I put some effort into specializing in pink-and-whites back when no one in town could figure out how to do a backfill, especially without a road map of visible fill lines. I heavily promoted gel nails back when no one in town knew what they were. But there either wasn’t enough demand for those specialties to fill my book at that time, or maybe, the Universe knew that wasn’t going to keep me interested long enough to make a career of it, so it just kept sending those “fake” nail clients at me.
At any rate, these days there are so many options for services and it seems like even smaller towns have a wide enough variety of people to keep you in business. It’s worth finding a niche now.
Decide if it’s gel-polish manicures, or gel only, or acrylic. All pink-and-white, all glitter, all long and crazy, all short and subdued — it’s hard to do it all these days. Without whittling it down, you risk falling into that “Jack of all trades, master of none” area.
I make no bones about it these days. I can give you a manicure, but all that glitter is on the wall for a reason: I specialize in artistic nail design. It’s the niche that I fit best and it’s what I do well enough to build a business on.

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