Consultant for opening?

Celebrity Q and A's I am working towards opening a nail spa in a couple of years. I am reading everything I can about business and the business of nails. I have been doing nails for over 15 years. When I am ready to open my new place, would it be advisable to hire a "consultant" before doing anything to make sure it is done right? Also, what does something like that cost and how do you find the right person for the job? Thanks so much! New Owner 10/03

Consultant....or not...
I am a consultant and before that owned nail salons and used a couple consultants, so I can give you a pretty concise answer on that: It is according to what you are going to have in services.

If you have been a nail tech for 15 years, you pretty much know what the physical set up should be - hand washing sink in the service room, etc. You just about have that under control. It is when you begin adding other services that you might need help. I added a body care and esthetic room to my first salon and the esthetians hated working in it because I had the sink on the wrong side of the table!!! Other stuff also would have been so much better done if I had just asked someone!

HOWEVER, you just may not need an expensive hot shot consultant to tell you what you want to know, if it is design issues, etc! You might be able to find an experienced professional in an area you are not familiar with that might take a look at your plans for some nail care, a few pedicures, or such!

If you are concerned about the business aspect of it, take some score classes (as many as possible) and find a mentor for that also. Sometimes you get more clear ideas from someone who is closer to you/not a stranger. And buy all the industry business information you can get - look at the books available from Milady. Even the BAD ones, you will get some good information. I have a book out from Milady that has business, marketing and service information that might be of help for you. It is called Spa Manicuring for Salons and Spas.

My real advice? Visit as many other salons as you can in other cities and pick the brains of the owners. Take all the classes you can, take both the nail magazines, and soak up all the information others will give you. Then, if you still feel insecure, find someone on the list that you have seen give some good advice and ask her to mentor you - talk things over with her. A good example: Karen Hodges. She has been through it all and come out well! (She does not have employees and does not want them, so you might want to find someone who has them, if you are going to go that route.)

As for me: I'm expensive! ;-) But DO know your industry! I wish you the best, my dear! Janet McCormick

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