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I am working on some marketing and I am looking for things that make you difference from all the other nail tech. But not the usually things, such as my prices are better or I have 20 years experience. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you
I started looking for classes to take right out of school. Being from Oklahoma I had to travel but it payed off.
Now I offer classes here in Oklahoma. Gel & Acrylic application and E-File Certification
A few things I do in my studio:

I offer coffee, tea, cocoa or bottled water - and baked goods (though I've slacked on that recently)

First Impressions:
When a client comes for their first appointment, there are a few things that I do that really have an impact. I book an extra 15 minutes for a consult - 30 minutes if they are getting a full set of acrylic or gel so I have time to show them all their options. I have a 40 page hardbound photo album that I had printed through with pictures of nails I've done. Basically I do the following at the first appointment:
-show them around the shop (it's small, so it's quick) so they feel comfortable getting beverages, etc.
-have them fill out a client intake sheet - included on it is my no-show/cancellation policy for them to read and initial, as well as a photo release for them to opt in or out of so I can use any pictures I might take for my website or marketing materials
-throughout the service time, I go over my sanitation practices and answer any questions or concerns they may have
-at the end of the service I send them home with a welcome pack, I use some fold together plastic "box" with a handle - it's kind of like a little purse. They're very sturdy, but I actually got them for about 20 cents each. Inside I include several business cards, a tea light candle (I sell candles), a small lotion (like the little Cuccio or OPI ones), and a bottle of Rose oil if they had a nail service or a sample size of Footlogix dry skin formula if they had a pedi, or both if they had both, plus several pieces of candy, all wrapped in tissue paper inside the box. I used to also include a little discount business card in it, it had 4 offers printed on it - 10% off any one future service, and (I think) 20% off any two services done together, and a 10% and 20% off retail. I put a 45 day expiration date on the card. When they used the card I would just initial by the offer. I don't do this anymore because my retention rate is pretty high and it's not as necessary as when I was getting started.

-I almost always start services on time, or even early. I make it a point to schedule loose enough that even if someone wants art or needs extra repairs or is late, I still run on time. I'm known for this with my clients, and believe me, they definitely notice and feel very respected by this
-I'll take some flak for this, but I have a no tipping policy and people really appreciate it. I don't necessarily go out of my way to tell people this ahead of time, so when they check out and find out, they are over the top appreciative
-for all enhancement services, they get their choice of sugar scrub, followed by a hot towel to rinse it off - dual purpose of getting all the dust off, and feels great - in the interest of time, this is self service - I put some scrub in their palm, spritz with a bit of water and they massage it in while I clear my table, then I get their towel
-have a wide range of options - I'm a solo tech but I have close to 100 gel polish colors, about 50 glitters and probably 150-200 different confetti's to choose from, as well as four options for scent in my spa pedi's
-I don't answer the phone during services, which I mention in my voicemail message - my clients love that they get all my attention during their service, I've had new clients who when they come in the first time they tell me that my message stating I don't take calls during services was the deciding factor for them in choosing me for their service
-I use little trays (from dental supply house) with covers that I prepare in advance for services - each one has a tray liner, file, implements used, nail brush, nail wipes, gloves, etc. on it. During their first service I point this out - that when I sanitize the implements they go straight into the setup trays and never get touched again until used during a service, so it's very sanitary.
-Everything that should be disposable is. I don't reuse files, and sanding bands go in the trash. I used nail brushes as a disposable, so people can take them home if they want to.

Loyalty program:
I have a points system, for every dollar spent on services or retail they get a point, and can redeem them for freebies. I use Vagaro, which tracks it for me very easily. I do 4% back on most items, but if they use points for a full service or for a retail item I personally made it's only at 3%. So, someone who gets a gel manicure can get their art add-on for free about every 3rd appointment. People who buy retail routinely will generally get something free every month. It's amazing how tickled someone can get when they get an $8 item for free, plus it's a benefit people don't generally get from a small business

Speaking of Vagaro - it sends out automatic text reminders (and email) for appointments, which everyone loves. They can also book online, change their appointment online, check gift certificate balances, etc. It's another thing that really sets me apart - for $25 a month it tracks my business and makes me look very professional

Sanitation & safety go without saying - but having a rack card where you explain exactly what you do to achieve them would be good - you can put them in your welcome pack. I don't do this, but I've often thought I should!

That's all I can think of right now...
WOW! is all i have to say!
Nice, I love what you do
This is very impressive! If I lived near you, I'd be one of your clients! You have some great ideas for new customers, and it's great to know they work. Thanks so much for sharing!

Thanks! I hope there are some ideas that you can use in your salons!
Thank you Candice you went above and beyond in your response just like your nail salon. Thank you!!!!

(02-01-2013, 09:55 AM)sillysoup Wrote: [ -> ]WOW! is all i have to say!

I second the WOW ! I would love to be your client ! And it is nice to know I am not the only girl scheduling not only enough time for the service, but wiggle room for the unexpected, and extra TLC. I don't ever answer my phone during services either.
I third that WOW!
I am very frugal with supplies,etc because I know every penny counts. I try to give the best services I can. But i never give incentives! They are already coming to me. I feel that because I live in a small town my prices are already as low as I want to go. So I don't give anything away for free. But I do spend thousands of dollars on my education. And I do give them 100% every time they walk through my doors. But I do a lot of those kind of things when I hire someone new. And my clients benefit when they send a friend into the new girl.
A couple of yrs ago I reinvented myself. I thought to myself,what is it that women really want? (there own strong nails) So I started showing women how they could remove their acrylic and put gel overlays on, so they could keep their nails from breaking. I felt like most techs around me were giving out free fire rings with their acrylic services. So I decided to start a campaign to convert people from acrylic to gel overlays. People are confused sometimes between the difference in gel overlays and gel polish. I DO VERY LITTLE GEL POLISH. But that is because I started doing this before shellac came out. And my clients needed something stronger than Shellac on their nails. I live in a farming community. If I were to switch them to shellac they would break all there nails. But I do put Shellac on people who have natural nails so that they can wear their polish longer.
Now my clients send me so many people that I have to refuse business. It is unfortunate that I can't do all these people. Since I started doing Gel nails,all the other techs in town have given it a go. But they never mastered it! So I am the only tech doing Gel. I am now on my third nail tech since I started this approach. It's hard to find people that want to do Gel long enough to master it! I had a girl who built almost a full clientele within 3 months with my overflow. But she wouldn't listen to me when I told her to keep the gel, and other chemicals off her skin. She would wait until she got done with her service and then clean everything. So she got contact dermatitis. There went her career. Then I tried to train a girl who was very quiet. She had no confidence and quit. I went to beauty schools and talked to students,and I am on their alumni pages on FB. I now have a new girl who seems very excited. So I am keeping my fingers crossed! I hope I will be able to help her build her confidence so she can master gel. It's the easiest thing to learn but the hardest nail to master! I want to build my salon so I don't have to turn away business. My customers tell me all the time that when they go to the other towns around our town, that people comment on their nails and say they know they got their nails done in Logansport! They may not remember my name, but they know my nails and the town they come from.
I'm also a nail designer,so that does help distinguish my nails from the norm. I would say, that about 85% of my clients get some form of nail art. My style is recognized because I continue to take my education to the next level. I always take classes to stay ahead of the pack. I make sure I know everything that is going on in this business. I make product knowledge a priority. I always want to know what companies are coming out with new products. I talk to manufacturers,and ask questions if I'm not sure about how a product works. I go to the source! I don't waste time trying to figure out things by trial and error. I pay for a class and start making money. It is such a waste of time and money if it takes you months to figure out how to do something,or you just give up,and put the product back in your drawer to play with another day!
I always have new designs to show my clients every month. I want to make more money, so I am taking baby steps with my clients and introducing these tiny bows with rhinestones that can be added to their nails with a small pearl of acrylic. They are loving it! They don't know yet, that they are taking baby steps toward Nail Couture!
I guess what I do different from my competitors, is that I spend money every year on education. It seems like the techs around me did everything old school,until shellac came out. And then every salon started playing around with it. And now Shallac is starting to get a bad bad name in my town. People call and say it chips in just a few days,etc. I chalk that up to lack of education!
My Design work is like no other in my area. I share everything with my customers about new things I learn. I show them any certificates I receive from any classes I take. I Always talk about things Doug Schoon informs the nail industry about. I have explained the why's and how's.and pro's and con's about mma,fire lines,etc. I am on Fire about this industry. It shows in my work how glad I am to have a job where I can be creative everyday! And they are excited to be a part of it as well! They know that I am the best tech around because they see other peoples nails,and comment on the difference. It's not bragging. It's just a fact! If you do everything you can to be on top. You deserve to be there! And your customers are the people who put you there. I share everything I know with my clients,and they love being a part of my success. They love to come back to the salon with stories of all the compliments they got on the design I did on their nails. And they have great ideas for their next set. If they don't know what they want, I just ask them if they have a color preference and how much they want to spend. Then I get creative!
Hi Candace, I'm on BT forum saw post on being diff than competitor... First where did you purchase dental trays looking crazy no luck? Great prep/time user. Do you have blank form for new client ? How is set up for your scrubs on table or? Do you use cold water? I have towel warmer so that's covered. Step by step would be great. Any oil residue left after scrub? What's your 4 scrubs? I have wash or hand towels ;0). How do you display your gel polish? Rack idea seems would get messy with gel. I hope your not overwhelmed . THANK YOU so much for your time. And disposable brushes ??
-Dental trays & covers are from Pearson Dental - I use the mini tray with the clear lids. That's also where I get my nail wipes, which are very inexpensive by the case. I don't know the product numbers for these items, as when I place an order I just have to tell them I want what I got last time. Look under the disposables category.
-the scrubs are on a shelf behind my table, the water is basically room temperature as it's in a spray bottle and I use the Young Nails Lomasi line. The towels are warm and moist from the towel warmer. There's not really a residue from the scrubs, but of course there's the residual moisturizing effect - as it's at the end of the service that's not an issue at all. The towels I use are actually the shop towels you can get at Costco, so they're a bit bigger than a washcloth
-For gel polish, I do have a wall rack where I keep the mani-Q & Cuccio, but I store the Gelish in a drawer. I have fan tips that are labeled by number and so display the colors that way, and have the corresponding number written on the bottom of the bottles for easy organizing
-For the client intake sheet, I think Nails Magazine has a template available on their website. You could use that as a base and customize yours for whatever information you want to collect and/or share with clients
Thanks Candice for all the info and time!!

What is the difference between the overlay and a full set of gel nails. Soon or later all acrylic or gels become overlays, right?
(02-06-2013, 06:17 PM)GetNailed Wrote: [ -> ]Tess,
What is the difference between the overlay and a full set of gel nails. Soon or later all acrylic or gels become overlays, right?

Like I said, I marketed gel overlays to my clients. Took off their acrylic. And they got a new service. They tell everyone that they grow their own nails. And are proud of that fact. In my area people have a bad taste for acrylic. So I took a new approach. We know that both are an acrylate. I very rarely ever do a full set of gels because my clients want to use their own nails instead of tips or forms. They know that within a few weeks their nail will grow out with the overlay. So they don't have to pay for a tip. I tell them all the time that I can make an acrylic nail look exactly like a gel nail,and they could never tell the difference! But too many people have had a bad experience with acrylic, Funny thing is, I know if I decided to do acrylic again,everyone of them would do it! It's all about how you market yourself.
What makes me different from the competition in my neck of the woods:

- I don't use Facebook. And I don't need to.

- For each client I use a prepared Client Pack which contains the tools I need for that service.

- For first time clients, I have a Welcoming Pack which contains information, offers and product.

- For regular clients I have a loyalty programme.

- I have a newsletter.

- I use an autoclave and steam sanitiser.

- Attention to detail. I pay attention to the client and the service.

I have found, to my surprise (and advantage) that so many in my area don't do or have the above.