Any advice WELCOMED!!


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Well-Known Member
Oct 19, 2003
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Notts/Derbys Border
Hello to all you nail techs :D

I have recently taken the plunge and started working (part-time) in a hair & beauty salon.

This is a long message I know, but if you could spare the time to read it, I'd really appreciate it.

I am a fully qualified nail tech(Creative Master Technician), have been for almost 10 years and pride myself on my passion, enthusiasm and at the risk of sounded big-headed, the quality of my work.

When I first started out 10 years ago, it seemed a hard slog to find new customers trying to explain what I meant by 'acrylic' and 'nail enhancements!', but as you all know, 'nails' have taken off big time in recent years.

I started out working from home, I had a beauty room built onto the back of my house, (Gigi..if you're reading this, you came out to show me the light and introduce me to Creative Products...good move, I've been a loyal customer ever since...I wouldn't use anything else!)

In the last year or so, my customer base has grown to more than I could cope with in the evenings and weekends, as I still worked full-time in an office for my 'regular' wages. 10 years on, I still have my first ever customer and quite a few more besides! ha ha. So, I have reduced my office hours to work just 4 days, and dedicated evenings and Friday and Saturday in the salon.

I work on a commission basis, paying the salon owner a percentage of what I take.

So I'm looking for advice or info on:

best ways to increase my customer base??

I have always worked on 'word of mouth' to get new customers, which I know is a great way, being recommended as a nail tech is an honour too!

With the room that I rent at the hair & beauty salon being upstairs, I'm out of sight of potential customers.

I've got the Marketing Kit from Creative and hung and alternated the lovely double-sided posters in the window...unfortunately, it didn't have much impact.

I have business cards, info sheets, pics of my work & price lists on the salon's reception.

I've also posted out loads of flyers.

Am I deterred you might ask? Not in the slightest!! I seem to have endless enthusiasm and drive. I know the market is out there, but the 'nail cafe's' and 'nail bars' have the edge because they look appealing and it's obvious they are there.

However, I have been getting new customers come to me, that have tried these places, and had told me horror stories and had nails that were either damaged, thick & discoloured etc....the things they all had in common were, whever they had tried, there nails had been such poor quality they had decided not to go back.

I have heard things like "The lady who did my nails last time hadn't done any training, but was going to go on a course!". Or, "Last time I had my nails done, the girl kept asking the girl next to her 'what do I do next'!" get the picture???!!???

I know there is no 'quick-fix', but I was wondering if I was over-seeing something obvious? 10 years on and I still remain on my 'crusade' to try and capture potential customers before the 'cowboys' (for want of a better word) get there first.

Long winded message I know, but you've got the big picture now, so hopefully, some of you out there can share your ideas/tips with me on how to promote my 'new' (or not as the case maybe!) premises.

Many, many thanks in advance

Jenny :D - Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire

you can also email me at [email protected][/b]
Hi Jenny

Welcome to this wonderful site! Your post is really interesting and it's great to know that really experienced techs out there care like you do.

Building the best clientele - I mean those lovely regulars, takes a little longer - but once they find you, my goodness!!

I've seen nail bars - mad, mad busy and looked in their appointment book only to find it full of full sets! What does this say? Where are the rebalances - they may have got busy quick but they'll burn out sooner or later.

Word of mouth for me is still the best. Doing things a little different is great advertising for you too - coming up to Christmas why not, instead of Perfect White, use Twilight. That is VISUAL impact walking around - gets people talking!

Another good one is to get a bunch of friends - 10 or so round to the salon - cheese and wine and do a pinkie on each of them. Out of the 10 they'll probably be a couple of hardened "I'm not having those false things!" Then, on looking at your good work on their friends, they'll have a go. You never know, you might convert them - by educating them and you can always soak it off - at least they had a go. Do a little talk and give them a mini manicure too. Ladies who lunch are always looking for a fun evening like that - just ask your existing and loyal clients.

Ah Jenny, it's a tough one................they'll find you! My salon was by an extremely quiet waterfront, with NO passing trade. No cars, nothing and a dead end. They will find you.....................

Good Luck
Mandini - your reply made me smile :D

Thank you for your kind words and good advice, looks like a cheese and biscuits night for the ladies it is then with 'free sample nails all round'!!

I'm sure (I hope!) you're right about the nail bars booked up with full-sets, it does make me sad to see some of the ...erm...'enhancements?' that are being produced.

I'm proud to say that I have my first ever customer (bless her heart) from 10 yrs ago, and I'd say 97% of my 'new' customers book in again...and again..until they aren't 'new' customers anymore, and nearly all of them remark "These are the best nails I've ever had!" which is always nice to hear. (I'd like to thank Trish Shaw - CND Ambassador (Nottm) for being an excellent inspiration and teacher to me!)

Thank you again

Jenny ;)
Thanks Jenny for your interesting post.

If you aren't already hooked on this informative, helpful and dynamic site, you soon will be!

Ella has written some excellent tips on attracting new clients. Look back one or two pages to a recent discussion entitled "Advertising", posted by Diesel1978.

My tip for finding new clients is to make it clear to existing clients that you would like them to recommend you to their family, friends and colleagues.

Don't be tempted to give a "discount", instead give a thank you gift of a pinkie SolarOil, for example. I have the feeling that we (women/ Brits)tend to be a little shy of asking for what we want.

Also a big "hi" to Amanda, it is so good to read your encouraging posts here on Geek's site.

I am a huge fan of yours, having seen you demonstrating at shows. Your super-efficient demos and your clear presentation have really helped me to learn loads.
beatrix said:
Ella has written some excellent tips on attracting new clients. Look back one or two pages to a recent discussion entitled "Advertising", posted by Diesel1978.

Well thanks beatrix for kind words about my previous posts. Glad you found the tips handy.

beatrix said:
My tip for finding new clients is to make it clear to existing clients that you would like them to recommend you to their family, friends and colleagues.

I always give my clients some business cards and ask them to write their name on the back. they then pass them onto people, and if the cards come back to me, I reward the person who's name is on the back of the card with some complimentary extras or some high priced (see my other post - advertising) retail goods. This gives the word of mouth thing some rocket fuel.
So your concern is why in 10 years of part time nails have I not build up a big enough loyal following that I can now become FULL time and totally make my living doing nails ?? I think that is the major thing on your mind.
I'm not going to critisize your work because your time and experience means that your work should be good and your time and technique should be down pat.
And I'm not going to critisize your promotions and such as it all sounds solid EXCEPT I have to ask you where is your cellular phone ---- see even tho your are not currently full time, your competition is full time and you need to recognize the importance of making yourself available to your following full time.
I will mention one thing about your comments about the nail bars. Change your thought pattern on that. You are not going to get a full scheduled following by telling everyone how badly things are done in the nail bars ----- you will get your full schedule following because of how GOOD YOU ARE. ie, dont waste energy putting down the competition, spend your energy wisely promoting yourself.
Still I understand your position. It is very common with those of us who wish to enter nails part time and only continue into full time when the following is built up BUT what does arrive first, the chicken or the egg. Sometimes you just have to jump totally into the swimming pool and suffer some big time water swallowing at first. Ya know.
Maybe I can be helpful in this way. Think about your current loyal followers. Ok, thnk of Miss X. She loves your work and has been coming to your twice monthly for years. NOW, how many other clients have you gained because of Miss X.
Why is that?
Best of luck to ya, the move into full time can be a very trying time.
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