July 2010

Jaime Schrabeck

The Nail Extension | by Jaime Schrabeck


Nails for Males

There’s Nothing “Feminine” about Good Grooming

Some may question why men would have their nails done.

It is a fair question, and yet, no one would question why women get their nails done, or why men brush their teeth, for that matter.

The fact is there is nothing “feminine” about good grooming.

Our wellness requires ongoing maintenance, some of which we can do for ourselves. For the rest, we can rely on professionals.

Caring for our bodies should be a priority, regardless of gender. Like women, men have nails; granted, they may be neglected or abused, but their condition only justifies the need for professional nail care. Rather than question why men would want nail care, salon owners and nail professionals should consider how well their salons meet the needs of their male clients.

In the beauty business, which depends on attracting and retaining clients, why would any salon ignore half of its potential clients? It’s not intentional. Most salon owners would claim men are welcome in their salons, but let’s be real. From the salon environment, to the services offered and the products used, most salons presume their clients will be female, and thus, not surprisingly, they are. While the predominance of female clients may be the norm, it also represents a substantial opportunity. Attracting more male clients should be part of a larger strategy to appeal to a broader demographic: young and old, male and female.

To attract more male clients, a salon owner could install flat screen televisions, position a pool table in the reception area and apply for a liquor license. However, how does any of that facilitate better nail services? Your business should operate as a beauty salon, not a bar. In addition, the efforts made to attract male clients should not alienate your female ones. Both men and women should feel comfortable, respected and pampered in your salon. No one should be made to feel awkward for having any service your salon offers; overcoming this may be the biggest challenge your salon faces.

Despite your preconceived notions, try to resist making assumptions about what your clients want. The feminization of nail services begins with the assumption that only women get their nails done, and all women want their nails polished. Besides, if you think in terms of masculine versus feminine, you have missed the point. Instead, consider making choices that are gender neutral. The service names and descriptions should not refer to gender, as that has nothing to do with the quality of the service, or the products used. In addition, the pricing should be based on the service provided, not on who is receiving it. The best analogy would be restaurants, which do not portion, describe or price dishes according to gender. A menu presents choices that are left for the diners to make. Likewise, your salon brochure should present choices that your clients will be free to make.

Just as the ambience of a restaurant can either enhance or destroy the dining experience, your salon environment can facilitate, or distract from the client experience. From color choices to furnishings, lighting and ambient music, your salon reflects your taste, or lack thereof. Ideally, these choices should also be gender neutral. Your chairs / stations should comfortably accommodate people of different sizes. Moreover, your furnishings should make your services accessible to people with physical limitations, like those who use wheelchairs.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of professional nail care is the personal interaction. Do your clients receive their services in privacy, or are they on display for others to see? Men, in particular, appreciate receiving services in privacy because, in addition to protecting their privacy, it focuses service providers on client interaction and the work at hand. Speaking of which, your service providers should not only be competent, but also capable of having intelligent conversations about subjects other than celebrity gossip.

At Precision Nails, we value our male clients for their no-nonsense approach to nail care. In fact, that is why our Hand Detail and Foot Detail services treat and pamper, but do not include polish application. Likewise, our Hand Express and Foot Express services focus on the basics. Our male clients usually leave their nails plain, but if they wanted a high-gloss shine achieved through buffing, or a polish application, they can have it for an additional charge, just as our female clients can.

Based on our extensive experience, we can assure any potential male client that receiving professional nail care will not compromise his masculinity. Instead, he will receive quality, personalized services from a competent technician in privacy. Moreover, the results may finally convince him there is nothing “masculine” about having dirty nails, overgrown cuticles and / or rough, dry skin, not that there is anything particularly “feminine” about it either . . .

Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. owns Precision Nails, an exclusive nails-only salon in Carmel, California. She can be reached at info@precisionnails.com.