October 2012

Jaime Schrabeck

The Nail Extension | by Jaime Schrabeck


Every Journey Starts Somewhere

Assuming that you're interested in the nail industry and have skills/talents/abilities worthy of compensation, how do you find your niche?

Determining which situation suits you can be a challenge, but rather than be discouraged, it's best to view the process as a journey of personal and professional growth. 

What are your goals, and how much are you willing to compromise to reach them? What experiences will benefit you most?

Our industry encompasses so many different occupations: licensed service providers (manicurists, estheticians, cosmetologists, etc.), salon owners, chemists, manufacturers, distributors, educators, consultants, marketers, event organizers, publishers, writers, web designers and more.

As with any journey, we all start somewhere, and for many of us that place was beauty school. The beauty school experience, while shared, can vary considerably; some schools provide an excellent education and prepare students for the realities of salon work, while others may not.

Given the amount of time and money invested, it's not the most efficient way to learn, but we need to make the best of it if we want to be licensed manicurists/nail technicians. Ultimately, it's up to the individual student to seek the additional education, training and experiences to succeed as a licensee.

Immediately after beauty school, new licensees have options; some licensees feel prepared not only for the realities of salon work, but for the responsibilities of salon ownership. If only it were that simple.

As a licensee and salon owner who's never worked as a salon employee, I can understand the appeal. While in beauty school, I definitely planned to work for myself. However, I can also attest to the unlikelihood of success.

Even with resources (primarily money), inexperienced salon owners, manicurists struggle to provide quality services, build a loyal clientele and maintain adequate cash flow. That's the reason why I encourage aspiring salon owners and newly licensed manicurists to seek salon employment as their first position after beauty school, even if being an employee is not their ultimate goal.

Why repeat the same mistakes made by others when you could be learning and earning without significant financial risk? 

For every manicurist who complains they cannot find a decent salon to work in, there's a salon owner who could complain about finding a decent manicurist to lease space to or employ. When I began my business, I had no intention of hiring employees, but now I cannot imagine operating my salon without them. Expanding my business and hiring employees has been an essential part of my professional growth.

Few of my colleagues enter the industry and remain in the same position throughout their nail careers; circumstances change and opportunities present themselves. But I prefer to hire manicurists that have limited experience and no clientele for a reason. My employees provide services according to salon procedures on clients of Precision Nails. Applicants who want to do their thing can open their own salons.

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