January 2009

Vicki Peters

The Nail Extension | by Vicki Peters


Tune up Your Quality Service and You Will Survive

While there’s no disputing times are tough, there is no reason to throw in the towel; we just need to be creative.

I have been in this business for 26 years and seen firsthand tremendous growth of the industry in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and then a recession in which the nail industry was one of a few industries that continued to grow.

Now, I see a new recession that is much more serious. It’s time to be creative with your business to keep the doors open.

Lonnie Jensen-Preato, owner of DaLonnie’s Salon in Las Vegas says she is feeling the pinch in her retail sales, but not her nail business. Fully booked, she has retained all of her regular clientele even through these tough times. Part of the reason is the quality of her work, which has attracted a higher quality clientele who still have money to spend on their nails.

Brenda Anderson, of Up Town Nails in Checotah, Okla., recently moved her home-based salon “up town.” The need for quality nail work has driven the clients into her salon despite the recession.

Anderson explained her opinion of why she thinks she has been so successful: “We are the only nails-only salon in a small town; we are cleaner than anyone else; we provide friendly service and use quality products; we are dependable and are there. We are pulling clients from as far as 25 miles away. Techs, like us, are more tuned into the business, go to educational programs, trade shows and are better educated… and clients know it.”

Clients that have spendable income make it a priority to set aside a budget for nails no matter what the economy is doing. Clients that shop the discount salons are more apt to give up their nails if they can’t afford them.

For the rest of us that may not be surviving the recession as well, there are some things you can do to help keep clients and get through these tough times.

Here are some suggestions:

Offer a full set special that’s good for special occasions, with a soak off appointment after their event.

Offer combination services with a discount. This gets the client to purchase an additional service, keeps your chair full and offers a discount to the client.

Do some e-mail marketing. It’s free. Gather your client’s e-mail addresses and send weekly e-mail blasts on specials. Marketing to your clients about specials and additional offers will help retain your clients and keeps you in their minds, even if they don’t purchase additional services.

Offer gift certificates for husbands to use as special occasion gifts for their wives. Offer pre-purchase packages such as three fills, a pedicure or a dollar figure they can use. Husbands are always looking for ideas at wedding anniversary and birthday time.

Purchase your products smartly. Order online in larger amounts to save money. Ask if there is free shipping when you spend a certain amount. Do your purchasing with other salon mates to buy bigger amounts and split the discount as well as the products.

Most importantly, when things are good be smart and plan for times when things will be lean. Put some money aside every day.

The holidays are going to be lean this year and we all need to be smart in order to survive. The new year is going to bring new energy with the new president, gas prices are going down and I believe 2009 will be a good year.

Vicki Peters is a 26 year veteran master nail tech, competition champion, judge, international educator, author and manufacturer and serves on the Nail Manufacturer Council. For more information visit www.vickipeters.com or email her at Vicki@vickipeters.com.