December 2009

Vicki Peters

The Nail Extension | by Vicki Peters


Are You the Whole Package?

Part II of II

Are you the whole package or do you just do good nails?

In last month’s article we delved into your professional appeal, from the clothes you wear to your business cards and even phone skills. We also evaluated customer service skills in depth from initial contact to follow up after a service.

This month let’s step back and take a good hard look at your nails and think about your nail business with a whole new perspective.

Marketing Skills

Do you have a website that allows you to take appointments? What local and industry networking events are you involved in? Does your business support local charities? It’s great press. Do you send out regular press releases to local papers and TV? Getting a mention in a story is very profitable.

Work Environment

The salon environment should be clean and professional, especially your station. There should be minimal things on your table top – with everything else within reach but put away. Your tools should be fresh looking and if not need to be replaced. Your sanitation should be 100 percent all the time and you need to educate your clients as to what you do to protect them.

Do you gossip? This is not a good thing and even though it could be fun, many clients do not like it. It is important to control the conversation and keep it light and professional. Clients should not feel it is okay to bring their problems in to the salon for all to hear and it is you that needs to not allow it by redirecting the conversation. Learn to read the mood of your client and put her at ease during her service. Keep in mind this is a nail service not a therapy session.

Product Knowledge and Education

The media does stories, many with false information such as a recent one in the US Today on UV lamps causing cancer. This is a common question you will get, but can you explain it? What about acrylics being harmful or working on a nail and toe with fungus – what do you say or do? We as professionals need to know and have written proof such as articles by doctors or documentation from the nail industry, most of which can be found on the internet. We need to continue to do our homework and not take the word of another nail tech, which may not true.

Continuing your education is vital to staying on top of your game. Attending classes by other professionals can do one or two things. You learn a new idea or technique that you can apply to our business, or you realize you are on top of your game, which is good too.

Attending classes outside the nail business is essential as well. Attending hair classes is helpful also just to watch the educator’s style in information on the tools and products they use and sales techniques when he or she closes the class. All this can be applied to the client purchasing products after her manicure. I also attend business seminars, read marketing books and stay in touch with the latest trend on motivational speakers. You just never know what you can learn.

When was the last time you purchased a new product and added it to your service menu? How do you know you’re using the best gel or acrylic if you have not tried anything new lately to compare? Listen to what the clients are talking about in the style magazines too. You should have the products in your salon before they ask. Do you know what is trendy at trade shows, what shape of nails are being done etc?

If you’re stuck doing the same nails, the same shape and the same polish – maybe its time to change it up. If you don’t think your clients will change – it is because you won’t. You never know what they are bored with, so always offer something new – they will be excited, even if they choose to do the same old thing.

The whole package takes much more that sitting at a manicuring station performing services. To be successful, you need to work the “edges” of your business. It takes one-third business skills, one-third customer services skills and one-third technical skills to be successful. You need to be a smart, professional business person who does good nails and keeps good records, markets your business, dresses for success, stays on top of trends and provides the cleanest service in town. If you’re not sure you are the whole package, take a look at your clients, they are the mirror image of you.

Vicki Peters is a 28 year veteran master nail tech, competition champion, judge, international educator, author and manufacturer and serves on the Nail Manufacturer Council. For more information visit or email her at