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"what sets you apart"????????
Hello I've heard this saying over & over-- I'm at a loss-
I have been advised to find something that makes you different then anyone else instead of lowering prices & discount & coupons--- but I don't know what else to do to get clients into the DOOR.
*I'M in a full service salon, I work 4 days alone, beautiful clean place, I feel hair salon is slow, I offer Mani pedi gel polish & hard gels, compatible prices, every service gets a hot towel & massage (hand or foot), we offer water bottles, referral plan towards $, I usually do a little nail art for free, I've set up instagram, post to Facebook, she's run some coupons.... I can't show what sets me apart if no one comes in!!! ????
I work 24 hours/ 4 days - 2 Saturdays in a row ZERO clients- my highest # of clients was 4 weeks ago at 9 (nine) in 1 week- my average 4-5.
I'm there 6 months- salon open 27 years, nail building 18 months.
I love the people there-- I am paid a good hourly rate, but I need more!
** I went to another salon to observe- I'll be honest it was an all Asian owned & operated salon- not a NSS - not trying to be racist or anything- this was the salon- I picked up some great tips but don't know if I could actually work there- she only uses LCN (showed me sealed new product) & IBD, 80% of client is LCN (fill with repair & nail art $45- she's really a busy shop!!) But I observed her using nippers to clip off lifted gel, they used a sponge & soap to clean pedi tub, they used 5 sec nail glue on everyone's free edge, barely used a towel on table, nails all looked awesome- BUT......
Mani has to b 15 min, pedi 30 min, spa pedi 45 min, basic fill 45 min with nail art 1 hour--- I would be hired at 55% comm & start out with Mani & pedis....
I feel like that's a step back?
I don't know if I can get past some stuff?
I am only working a year- I need more though.
I'm in US/NJ. I still need some training, I have a few other "ethnic" salons that need help- but was told by friends what I saw was "normal".....
I am a white guy in an Asian nail salon! Not unique but pretty rare at least around here. I don't really do anything different than any other person here but I do talk with my customers quite a bit, I never rush and I try to be the best that I can be on EVERY service. The owners do not seem to mind that I don't move as fast as everyone else because I have a huge return customer base.

My best advice when building customers is give an awesome massage, it really does make all the difference imo. Lots of people can do mani/pedi etc but not many take the time to give a great massage, they are too worried about moving on to the next customer.
Have you visited Pina at Innovative Nails in Red Bank yet?

If you're going to the trouble of working with hairstylists, they better be busy ones : )
Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. (yes, it's real)
@ Jamie its about 45 min North of me- so in all honesty no. I'm in a shore area & heading North can be extremely complicated- However so is my current situation :-(
And @ times EVEN the hair stylist aren't as busy as I thought they should be after being emoloyeed 15-20 years in the same place .....we even closed shop @ 3 Saturday it was soooooo dead!
@ Janktu the one Asian place I observed at 4 hours they are strict on times she said & everyone was fairly quiet -- the clients were talking to ME about personal issues--- I know that when I do my clients I build a great relationship & even though new - they like me & what I do & come back!

I hate sounding like a cry baby - ppl say do something that is different * product? Procedure? How can I get them inside first?
I wouldn't mind working in a good Asian Salon either..

Thanks as always Nail Friends :-)
where do they all learn how to give the massages? Can you recommend a video to watch?
No I can't sorry- spending time in this salon was educational * for what to do & NOT to do!
Whether you're new/building or seasoned/established, I encourage every licensee and salon owner to attend Premiere Orlando May 31- June 2; no other show has as much to offer (products, education and networking) to nail professionals.

FYI: I'll be teaching my Massage for Manicurists class, and four other classes, including Waterless Spa Pedicures.
Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. (yes, it's real)
When I give a class I really like to cover this issue and bring home a few of my techniques on building a clientele.
1. Your clients like you already, or they wouldn't be coming back, right?
2. The first rule of business is to sell yourself.
3. After you have accessed her nails, started the service, and the getting to know each other faze is over, I always talk to them about the condition of their nails. I feel that since they came to a professional for a service, that it is my job to tell them how additional services or products can help them further maintain what they have started with me today! I up sell them by saying; I can see by looking at your cuticles that they have grown out with your nails! I can help you with that problem. And I explain my plan of attack, talk about why that happens, and suggest a cuticle oil,gloves,etc.
4. Now they know that I am confident, been schooled, and that I want them to feel like they are in good hands!
5. I talk to them about safety and sanitation without putting other salons down! That is just high school, and unprofessional, no matter how you spin it!
6. I tell my class that I am taking my clients where it is I want them to go! I take them to school, teach them what I know to be true, so they know as much as I do about their nail health.
7. Then I talk about my passion for Art!
8. If they have never heard of Pinterest, I tell them of the different catagories of interest and how you might not ever see 98% of that stuff in your lifetime, had you not been on that website!
9. Then I urge them google it to look at all the fabulous nail designs. And refer them to my boards. As well as my biz page on FB.
10. If she says she never wants anything but a French mani, I just giggle and say; If you stick around here long enough, you are gonna have to tuck and roll every time you come through that door, or your bound to get some nail art on ya! LOL
11. Always give them that french mani they ask for! But on the 3rd visit as soon as they sit down, take the opposite hand that you usually start with and buff the top of that french mani, while you are asking her how her weekend was before she asks me why I'm buffing her nails! If she asks me, I say, I want to show you this very elegant design. And I can wash it right off if you con't like it! You, are not going to hurt my feelings if you don't like it! But since we haven't started your fill yet, this is the perfect time for me to show you something that I personally think is not out of your comfort zone! (This is why you need to buy my Designer paint pen!) I have my jar of off white paint and I dip my Pen in the jar and wipe it 3 times on the edge to remove the excess so I get a really skinny line. The I draw a delicate white Rose bud right inside her French white tip. She looks at her nail. And then she looks at me. (*98% of the time they say, I never thought I would like nail art on myself!) I EXCEPT A CHALLENGE FROM MY CLIENTS AND MAKE A PLAN OF ATTACK! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that no one could possibly know if they like nail art, unless they actually see it on themselves first! It has been proven! I now feel validated. Because I have been doing it for over 29 years! I worked with hairdressers that would say, Are you sure your clients are going to want that? I looked them in the eyes and said, yes I know they will! And until they do, I will be enjoying it myself!
If they have a very skinny French mani, I start my Rosebud stem in the inside of the corner and make it as skinny as I can. And elongate it to just above the opposite outside corner of her nail. Then draw the Bud on top! It's White on White! There are 50 shades of White ya know? LOL. When you purchase my Designer Paint Pen, I include a FREE Designer Paint Pen Packet! I give you 60 of my earlier designs. 3 tutorials, 3 nails magazine articles, Talk about the Art Of The Sell in more depth, And share my theory on saving time and money, as well as how to get your clients, to send you more clients!
12. My pens are only 15.00. You can make that back in one to 7 days if you practice my techniques! I know you! I was you. And I have built my clientele 8 times in 31 years. That is why I give you a FREE Packet. Because, I know you are going to need my help in some way or the other!
13. I also have my own Brand of nail art, called LETS GET CLAZY! I have lots of fun every day! I go where the fun's at! So, I get up early, eat a little something, exercise about 20 mins. Shower. And run to wear I find the most joy! To me, That is success!
14. Being happy, fun, and inspired by my clients to do the best nails I can every day, Is really a major Selling point!
15. In my class I talk about how I built my clientele through trial and error! And how I raised my kids through trial and error. And how every mistake sets you in motion to fix your situation! When my kids fell down, or made a mistake, I taught them to pick themselves up and figure out what it was they had to do next! I like to make people think for themselves! I say bring on the mistakes! That is what builds your character. And propels you forward!
16. You have to make yourself happy! Then, it is like a fire that gets caught by the wind. Before you know it, your Book is Full! You have no life, your making tons of $$$$$$ and you have no time for lunch breaks, or potty breaks! The only BRAKES you get are in your own nails because you have no time for your own nails!
17. Did that answer any of your questions??? I tend to go a little over board on this subject!
18. The moral of this story is: Try something you are not offering that you can squeeze into every appointment as a sampling. Then tell them what you normally charge for that design! They are already coming,right? Why give a discount? They want to pay you already! Don't become a discount Salon!!!!! Offer something like I mentioned and make another 3.00 to 5.00 a service for one nail!
19. Invest in yourself and take a class in up selling or Retail!
20. Buy my Pen, and get started with my techniques! It's cheaper then advertising! And you can write off your giveaways!
21. PS, It took me 2 hours to write this! If this does not scream dedication, I don't know what does!
Lets begin!

To Jaime, It cracks me up that you have to tell everyone that you really earned that DR. after your name!
For those of you who have never heard of her Waterless Pedicure, Quickly, go to her website and read all about her technique. Take a class and learn how to speed up your service and make more money! Many of us have been doing THE WATERLESS PEDICURE for years! It is the safest and most profitable way! She is admired by the top educators in this business!
Jaime, I thank you for all that your techniques have done for me!
If I make it to Orlando this year, I might need a Dr. appointment!
Tesss Walters
Inventor of THE CLAZY GRIP!
Master Gel Technician
[email protected]
FB Group Page ( The Art Of the Pen)
Regardless of how you might be different, if you don't have a marketing plan in place, you won't get people in the door in the first place to experience those features! What are you doing to market to new clients (and I don't mean loyalty cards or discounts for current clients - you need to reach outside your client base). Do you have a Fb page? are you doing any online ads?
Shop has page - she barely updates * but I post my nail pictures, I've created an Instagram in shop name & try that, I post on my personal page very often-- she ran a coupon on 3/18 & got 1 call.
Fyi- its 11am on a Thursday - shop opened 9am & we had 1 hair cut so far.....owner is away on vacation for 3 weeks..... so its quieter then normal but really???? There's 2 hair dressers here & me & 1 more coming in @ 12pm.....
I only do sculptured gel fingernails. I do not glue on tips. I work in a dust free environment. I never cause pain. I strive to maintain the integrity of the natural nail so that within 6 months my clients have their own nails with a gel coating to enhance an protect them. 90% of my clients go 3 weeks or longer. All of my clients are on standing appointments as this is the only way they can get an appointment with me now. They are not written in stone but it makes it easier to change appointments if they already have a spot. I call and confirm my appointments the day before, something my clients really appreciate. I serve coffee, tea and have filtered water available.

I had 4 clients that were the catalyst to building my clientele. I hand picked these clients and did their nails for FREE, for every client that they referred to me for the first 6 months of my business - these ladies were my advertising budget - my walking billboards. Two were waitresses, 1 a bank teller and the third a lawyer, all people who deal with the public. My book was full within 2 years, that was almost 20 years ago.

Get your work noticed by finding some walking billboards. Your work has to be so good that people ask your clients, "Who does your nails?" because if they are just average, all the marketing in the world will not turn that new customer into a faithful client.

@ gelpro that's brilliant-- I'm still newer & feel that I need to do more to perfect- I charge no one that comes to my house - in my salon my boss would have a stroke if I suggested this ---HOWEVER if I was in charge I would do it in a heartbeat!

@ Jamie-- going to see Pina next week- however only for a LE training....

@ Tess when I get home I'm checking out your website!


Tess, your enthusiasm is showing and it's infectious! lol

And visiting Pina will provide more education than just a LE training : )
Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. (yes, it's real)
Thanks that's awesome!
I understand Celeste. I don't know how other places are but it is plain hard here. As you know I'm in NYC and there is literally 2-3 salons on every block. Often times when I talk to people they want to know why I charge so much for a manicure and generally prefer to stick to the $10 mani or $20 full set. I find that if no one has suffered an issue or knows anyone that has suffered an issue from one of those salons, they are not interested in paying for a cleaner service with someone they can actually converse with. Also, there's not a whole lot of loyalty because no one needs to prebook because its rather obsolete idea since most salons are open until at least 8pm. People want in and out the majority of the time, mostly because this is what they are now accustomed to.
I do believe you should move on to another salon. Sometimes you have to take a few experiences to get the one that is right from you. I've found I learn a little bit from every angle.
NY Licensed Nail + Waxing Tech
Owner/Developer Suite Tee
Instagram: @SuiteTee
Agreed- if you haven't had a nail issue why change-- that's the thinking around here!
I interviewed at another Asian owned salon-again no disrespect- but its a fact- they are a hubby wife team- extremely nice people looking for a tech that can communicate with clients- there was another American girl working & a sister in law. Its in an OK area here, she will work with my part time schedule, she will pay $8 hour 1st 2 month until clientele starts to build up then 50%. Shop had 3 clients in while I was there- its not as clean as where I'm at (but with 4 clients a week I've got nothing to do but keep salon spotless!) But not the dirtiest.... they will train & help me, its 4 1/2 miles from home apposed to 14 miles & tolls where I'm at now---its actually in the town I live in (a plus when talking to ppl because no one around me will drive 14 miles for services).... less $ more clients, less gas & tolls----
Down side I have built 10 regular clients over 7 months... which isn't a lot for the time-- I'm comfortable where I'm at I like the people-I know what to expect..... however last week I only had FOUR clients :-(

I did the suggested idea of looking for 4 ppl to b my walking advertisement-- I have 2 def girls coming to my house though-- to start. They work at Victoria's Secret & one is also a college student!! They r super excited & giving me ideas how to market myself-- which is another REASON I need to now work closer to my house-- they're (hopefully) referred ppl would be more concentrated in my area vs 14 miles.... plus my current shop owner would NEVER do the free thing for referrals.....
Thanks for great ideas everyone!
I looked at the nail art pen-- it looks so easy to use!! Too easy lol :-)
If you are looking for longtime clients you will find that you tend to get only people looking for specials or freebies because of the way you are marketing yourself. I don't know one educator that would tell you to do free nails on people. Only because you do not want to be a discount salon! It is really hard to overcome! If your work is good, they will come! It has been done. And redone! I wish you luck! But remember, change is coming! Expect it, and it will come faster! Believe that you are good enough to earn your pay! Confidence is how you get those clients you are looking for. And discounts, scream-I will do it cheaper than somebody else!
Tesss Walters
Inventor of THE CLAZY GRIP!
Master Gel Technician
[email protected]
FB Group Page ( The Art Of the Pen)
With all that said - for the "newer tech" still refining your skills, getting your time down - how can you justify charging $50 for a full set of gels done by me and $50 for a full set of gels done by you--- I could understand that discounting concept - but I also find it hard to say my work right now is worth the same as some of you seasoned techs....until I've done more & more & more sets.
Does that make sense???
Have you had your Pina visit yet?
Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. (yes, it's real)
No -- her 1st class is product knowledge only & I work Mondays & I need hands on more so-- taking multiple Mondays off is a problem :-(

but I'm going to have to make a move in jobs * I just always feel GUILTY leaving a place :-(
You need to invest in yourself and career. Wish you well in your search for a new/better salon.
Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D. (yes, it's real)
Thank u :-)
What I mean is, make your price. Then do not discount it! EVER!!! Take a class even if it is just product knowledge. You are going to learn so much about the products that you wouldn't learn other wise! When you are in a class, you not only learn from the educator. You learn from others using it as well! This is where all the little secrets of success are devulged. I always learn new things from students when I give a class. We are always networking with each other. Then in class people share what works best in their salon, from how they like products,scheduling,referral programs,whats new in the industry,raising prices,etc.
I said this when I was in the biz for about 12 yrs- You are never to good to learn! I say it to everyone that takes my classes. I look at everyone in my class now, and say- No one in this room is any better then they rest! We are just all at different skill levels! And, when you decided that you were WORTH what it cost to take this class and travel here, you are now that much closer to becoming the nail tech you always wanted to be! Not because I'm the best educator. But because you realized, that you need to invest in yourself, and learn what you do not already know!
Pick a class that will teach accuracy! When you are accurate, your clients will have no lifting. RAISE YOUR PRICES! (your clients will see that they have no lifting as well.) They will not leave a Nail Tech who is going to raise her prices 5.00 if that tech has proven herself. I post a sign- Price increase starting next month. And every person also hears it from me as well. I don't make excuses. But I will say- Broken down for you, that means your nails will cost .50 per day more! (depends on if they are a 2 week or 3 week appointment.) So they can swallow it very easy! Women are very visual. So I paint them a pretty picture.
I teach the Art Of The Pen. The art of Persuasian. How to take your clients where you want them to go. The art of the sell. And how to make your own design book. I've built my clientele 8 times! My husbands job took us places where We had no friends or realatives! I survived on my beliefs that I know more about what my clients needs are, then they do! So I take them to school!
You ,could probably say that you know more about what your customers needs are too! Even though you know you need more education, right? Just be honest! (I'm still learning new techniques to build my nail knowledge. And you learn from every client you do,right? You evaluate your work. And you see that you could of done a few things different.) Practice! If you have free time Practice!
Your initial question was what sets you apart?
EDUCATION! Knowledge to be able to talk to those clients that are asking you why you charge more than the 30 min. nail girl or guy down the street! Do you realize what a freedom it is, to be able to just ramble off 10 things you do that is not offered anywhere else in your area?????
You learn how to talk about the differences without putting other salons down. And, that if you only concentrate on doing your best work today, you will be noticed for those skills!
Run, don't walk, to the nearest class! Time wasted, is also money wasted,right? You will be so much closer to answering your question-What makes you stand out?
Tesss Walters
Inventor of THE CLAZY GRIP!
Master Gel Technician
[email protected]
FB Group Page ( The Art Of the Pen)
There is a lot of motivating and encouraging info here, but you are not going to build a business without clients, and you will not get clients without marketing. Unfortunately, it sounds like you are in a place where you don't have the autonomy to market yourself and do not have an owner who will set up a strategy with you. If you are reliant on the random walk-in only, and the rest of the business is already sluggish, it is going to be a long, hard road ahead - not to say it will be impossible, but be prepared.

Also, if you feel like you need to work on your skills, a high-volume location with multiple nail techs you can learn from will be an ideal environment for you - and it sounds like you already know that but are afraid to make the jump! Your career is about you and you alone. That's not to say burn bridges, but you have to do what is best for you. Believe me, your salon owner has seen people come and go over the years and if she is professional, she will understand and wish you good luck (and if she doesn't, then that's your reason to leave right there LOL!)
I totally agree with PlumGirl when she says you need to find a salon that has lots of business if you are able! You will have a tuff time if your salon has no clients coming thru the doors! But just because there are other techs in that salon, doesn't mean they have good working habits! So get your own education as well. I have a solution for every problem! Because I have survived through every problem! I have been the only nail tech in a salon several times. But I always picked one that was busy! I worked the room every day! I found it easy to say hello, and tell them that I would love to give them a free Nail Care Analysis. They always want to know what that is! So that gives me the opportunity to strut my stuff! They give me their hands, and I prescribe according to the nails condition. IBX is a good place for you to start. Now that it is available, I'm going to use it! You can easily charge 10.00 to 15.00 extra just for that treatment!
There are not very many Techs that actually give as much info to the client as i do! My clients are so trained to wear oil and gloves. I actually have my own scrub and body butter made in a lab! I sold 200 jars, in 3 month! I set up a rejuvenation station next to my table. When I was done with my gel service, I used the scrub on one hand. Then I got a hot towel and put it over her hand. Wiped off the scrub. Then turned the towel over. And wiped off the rest. Patted her hand dry. And applied a small amount of Body Butter. Then ask them to feel the other hand. SOLD! (about 90% of the time!) If they asked me to do the other hand, I said that I never do that! I want you to be able to notice the differences for the rest of the day. And then I just giggle!
I've never been good at sitting around without a plan of action! I had to devise ways to earn my living without a lot of education. Now, I'm so happy to be able to come here to BT, or FB and share, and be fed by others! I guess that's why I really like teaching new people how to do nail art. It is my passion! It propels me from one day to the other! I Love to look at other peoples work and be inspired to do better work myself! But, what really gets me is when I am giving a class, and everybody is having fun creating. Then when the class is over they have finished work that they are really proud of! The fresh belief that they can create, is a good feeling! for all of us!
Tesss Walters
Inventor of THE CLAZY GRIP!
Master Gel Technician
[email protected]
FB Group Page ( The Art Of the Pen)

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