Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Nail Industry will Never be the same again!

For the first time, in my 16 industry years, I get to witness a phenomenal shift in the industry. It's the first time in my 16 years that nail technicians have a service that can bring customers to their salons in DROVES. Imagine, nail color that won't chip, peel or smudge in one week. Now, imagine nail color that won't chip, peel or smudge in two weeks. Now, imagine three weeks. How about four weeks? I bet I have your attention now. The polish industry has been the giant. Polish sales have lead the industry as the largest money maker. It has been around for years and years. But it's only fault has always been it's inability to last as long as we would like it to last.

Three years ago, I began formulating "soak off gel" samples with my lab tech. She would send me samples, I would make a list of likes and dislikes for her. She would send me a new sample and I would repeat the process. For two full years, I narrowed down the formula until it served the purpose I was looking for. Protect the natural nail, allowing it to grow longer, while serving as nail color that won't chip, peel or smudge.

Now we have Eco UV Polish by Star Nail International (and Elaine haha). With practice it only takes me an extra 5 minutes to apply than traditional polish. However, once it is out of the UV light, there are no worries about smudging color digging for money, putting shoes and socks on or fastening your seat belt!

Here is my friend Arica on day one: I applied this set so that her nails would be beautiful for our big Chicago Show. This is day One.

Right now, the Polish Industry is huge in sales to the average house wife. As professionals, we get $0.00 on each service that includes polish. Ask any Nail Tech, "If I get a manicure with you and decide I don't want polish, will you take some money off the service?" and they will tell you, "hell no!". So as booth renters and salon owners, we pay for that wall of bottles and make $0.00.

With this color service, now you can get $10 or even up to as much as $15 for that time you were making $0.00 simply by adding Eco UV Color by Star Nail International (and Elaine haha).

Imagine, the excitement that your client will feel when that color is on for one full week. Imagine, the referrals you'll get for her friends, her family and her co-workers.

Here is Arica at 1 week: Remember she worked a Beauty Show in this set. She did Set up, Take down, opened boxes and still her nails look beautiful!

Not only does it serve as nail color. But it is also a protective coating on the nails that prevent them from splitting, peeling or cracking. And, if you have ridges or indentations, it will smooth those out giving you that glossy finish.

But more important is the income it can generate for you. The key is to do it as part of your existing service. Do not offer it as it's own service. If you currently do a manicure for $15 with polish. Offer the UV Color with Manicure for $25. That is $50 an hour. If you have a pedicure with polish for $25. Now offer Pedicure with UV Color for $35.

Ask any woman who doesn't already get manicures, why she doesn't get manicures. She'll tell you, "It's not worth paying $15 if my polish only stays on 4-5 days.". It's true. Americans want to see worth for their money. Now, if you gave her the option of having color last longer for a bit more money. She'd certainly consider it worth the cost.

It's time for Arica at 2 1/2 weeks:

How can you turn existing clients paying $15 for a manicure with polish into $25 manicure with UV color clients? It's simple. Offer one free Eco UV color nail with her manicure the next time she's in. Pick a polish color that is as close as possible and color the rest of her nails with the polish. In a week, she'll be calling and begging you to put the color on all ten nails. You just need to introduce her to the product and show her it is worth her money. As for the clients not even coming in...well leave that up to your loyal customers. Their word of mouth will be all you'll need to double your the number of clients in your book.

There is no better advertising than word of mouth. We trust our friends, family and coworkers to steer us in the right direction. So put your loyal clients to work and don't forget to reward them for referrals.

One more picture of Arica. This is her FOUR week picture:

Trust me when I tell you, no woman in her right mind, would ever want to wear this product for four weeks. BUT it is possible. Now the important key is controlling how often your client comes back. If she is a weekly manicure, simply prep the nail much lighter and the UV color will last only one week. If she's a bi weekly manicure, prep a little more to get two weeks out of an application. And when your appointment book is completely full, prep everyone to get three weeks out of their applications and fill those empty spots in with new customers. You'll make as much money doing simple manicures with UV Color as a busy tech doing artificial nails. Without all the hard work filing, filing, filing.

It's the dawn of a new era in the Nail Industry. Finally, we've caught up with technology and gave nail color new life!!!

(written in Valencia, CA)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Marketing: Truth or Lies?

Some days I struggle to think of something to blog about. Today, this topic came to me. I was catching up on my emails (comprised of work, personal and the beautytech mailing list). I was reading a thread of nailtech emails with regard to Gels, Soak off Gels, Gel Polish and other variations of basically the same enhancement.

One of the girls said, "I personally have a lil bit of a problem with marketing that is misleading. There was a campaign in recent years in national print media about “manicures that last three weeks”….but it was really for traditional liquid and powder enhancements. Unrealistic expectations and “spin” don’t make for loyal clientele…for me, at least."

It got me thinking about our industry from a few sides. As a Manufacturer, as Salon owner and a technician and how very different the thought process is for each one. For example: As a manufacturer the market gets increasingly more competative. We are constantly striving to put together marketing campaigns that will grasp our focus group and pull them in. If the manufacturer of that "gel polish" simply called it "color gel" the competition is steep. There are hundreds of color gels out there. But by calling it something new "gel polish" he is setting his product apart from the competition and hoping to spark an interest and build his business.

Now how does this relate to a Salon owner? Well, isn't his or her job to draw customers to her salon? And if every salon within 10 miles of her offers "color gel" wouldn't it then be smart of her to market something "new and exciting" to set her apart from the competition?

And how do we lose this thinking at the tech level (such as the tech I quoted)? Well, as technicians we hold our clients hands. We talk about their personal lives and build trusted relationships. In some cases we become their psychologist / best friend. Somewhere along the way, in all the feelings, we tend to forget we are running a business and feeding our families!

So where do we draw the line between truth and lies? It's ok to call your service "gel polish" and not "color gel" but to say "this product will take 10 pounds off your waistline and make you look 20 years younger by coating your nails" is a lie. Don't let your personal feelings and relationships with your client get in the way of running your business. With competition on every corner of every block be smart and market your services to make them unique and set them apart from your competition. It may be the difference between being busy or looking for another job!

(writing from Valencia, CA today)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's a New Day.

I shudder to think what kind of life you must lead if you haven't seen or heard about the 44th Presidential Inauguration for the United States of America. That is, assuming you are American. And even if you aren't, it really is amazing how excited foreigners are about the swearing in of President Obama.

I've been getting emails from my customers all over the world congratulating me on our new President. Like it's my birthday or like I just got married. I've found it pretty exciting that everyone is turning to see where we are going to go next with our new President. I am personally looking forward to repairing our relationship with the rest of the world. As a World Traveler the reaction to "I am from the United States" changed drastically over the last six years. I remember feeling a sense of pride from the reaction of others when I said I was American. Now, in the last few years, I've had to really keep quiet and refrain from saying I am from America out of fear for my safety.

I do not expect that everyone is happy about the changing of the guards, but I do think we are all hopeful of what new changes are going to take place and will those changes repair our broken economy AND our relationship with the rest of the world.

Will.I.Am wrote a song that I feel is a good reflection of how most of America (mainly the middle class haha) is feeling. His video can be seen on youtube.com at:

It's a New Day

(writing from Valencia, CA today)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Yet another year has come and gone. I swear the older I get the faster they go by.

So my blog question today, for all of you, is, "Have you set your New Year's Resolution"? I find there are two types of people. The type that set Resolutions and those of us whom don't.

For me, the word is kind of synonymous with "temporary". And can give us all a feeling of failure. While I've never been one to set a "resolution" I certainly have been a life long goal setter.

You do not have to limit it to your personal life. In fact, I find that we tend to keep our goals more realistic in our professional life. So my first suggestion is to keep it real. Don't set yourself up for failure. Baby steps. I like to set several goals that are simple and can be completed in a shorter time line. Then I set one big juicy goal that will take some commitment on my part, but the rewards are totally worth it. So I really would love to hear what kind of goals you've set for yourself for 2009. Perhaps something you've decided to do could become a great suggestion for someone else.

My simple goals professionally will be:
Keep my desk organized. I am KNOWN for my disorganized desk (even though I know where everything is).
Increase my education contribution to the industry. For example, I'm about to finish our Star Nail DVD (a HUGE undertaking) and am looking to help a friend launch her new Association for the Nail Industry.
Be more consistent with my blogging.
Step up my artwork and continue to try to come up with new innovative ideas for my shoots.

(there's more of this stuff)

My big Juicy Goal:
To increase Cina Sales. I just missed my 2008 Goal by about a teeny tiny margin. This goal kind of goes hand in hand with my education goal. I need to step up my seminars to show techs that they A) do not need to be artistic at all and B) can make a ton of money doing nail art. Awareness is key for me to do this. Cina is my baby here at Star Nail. It gives me such a thrill to see it continue to grow. It gives me an even greater thrill to see Mr. Tony Cuccio excited about "Nail Art"!!!

And ...my constant goal... Always LOVE what I am doing. I have been blessed with a career that I absolutely LOVE!!! And I am thankful for that with each passing day.

(writing from Valencia, CA today)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Where Has the Year Gone?

As I was sitting here this morning trying to think about what to blog, I could not help thinking how fast this year went by. I started to think of all the things that we accomplished this year at Star Nail and the list is remarkable.

It was a busy year with a few new countries under my travel belt. I gave seminars in Honduras, Latvia, Ukraine, London, Romania, Panama and South Africa. Of course there are a few US cities in there as well.

Along with the rest of our marketing team, we created and edited and edited and edited and edited FOUR catalogs!! Cina (my baby), Cuccio, Star Nail and All Season Nails all got a face lift with these catalogs. I'm so proud of all of us. They are amazing. I severely under estimated the work it would take putting together four catalogs at once. The day they arrived on the truck to our warehouse was a day of celebration. Our work was done....or really just beginning.

We added so many new products this year. At Cosmoprof we launched our new Eco System line. Eco System is composed of four odor FREE systems (acrylic, powder gel, gel overlay and sculpting gel).

We launched Nail Evolution, by FAR the best acrylic powder and liquid I have ever used in my 16 years of doing nails. All of my acrylic ad work, posters and Nailpro covers this year were done with this powder and liquid. The clarity just rocks my world.

Cuccio got a lot of attention from us this year. For a few years now we've been known as "the Butter Company". Well we've expanded on that. We added our Cuticle Butter Sticks (think of chapstick for your cuticles). We also added Butter Lytes. NOT Lotion. I can't even use the "L" word for these. It's our famous Butter Formula in a lighter viscosity. For hotter humid months OR clients that aren't quite as dry. Let's face it, there isn't only one skin type out there.

Photoshoots took on new life this year. Two of our best are yet to be seen. We shot a full day of Cuccio with three models, hair staff, stylists for their wardrobe, photographer with two assistants and myself (fingers and toes). Just wait until you see the ads that are coming this year.

Cina got a lot of photoshoot love. Many of the images are in the catalog and will be following in ads and style changes. This is always fun for me since Nail Art is my favorite part of our Industry. For this we had three models representing the most beautiful hands and feet.

Yes, 2008 has been a very busy year. I'm exhausted just recounting it. I know there is so much more that I'm forgetting.

2009 is already taking off. My travel schedule has not gotten any lighter. We'll be launching a HUGE DVD right after the new year. And I'm already working on new products for the Vegas Cosmoprof show. It never ends. THANK GOD. I love what I do.

Thanks for a great year and allowing me to continue my passion and love for the industry.

(writing from Valencia, CA today)

Friday, December 5, 2008

How To: How to topcoat a Nail Art Decal without smudging the design.

Today's blog is a VIDEO blog. One of the most common technical questions I get is, "Why do your decals smear when I topcoat them?".

So I created a quickie video that shows A) just how many times you have to swipe over that decal before it smears (go easy on it folks) and B) a trick I teach to avoid it all together if you can't give up your swiping ways.

Just click the following link to go to Youtube.com and see the video.

Elaine's How To Video

(writing from Valencia, CA today)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nail Tech Trick of the Trade

I'm always fascinated at the little home experiments nail technicians will do. Some of the greatest product ideas usually come from Nail Tech ingenuity.

At our company we offer two kits of color gel for creating a permanent polish look or works of art. In my line, Cinapro, we have the Pastel Kit and the Runway Collection Kit. Naturally, the best pigment mix comes from lab. However, a Nail Tech doesn't have to stop there. You can actually mix two or more of our colors together to make a new color. Custom colors can really set you apart from the competition. You can literally label the jar, "Mary" or "Lucy" after your client.

Taking customization one step further, Star Nail Gels can actually be mixed with....POLISH to create colors. The mix ratio is 60% Gel to 40% of your favorite polish color. Stir them up and apply like usual. If you want a lighter version of the same color, just mix less of the polish. With Clear gel you'll get more of a transparent color. With White gel you'll get an opaque color. Just be sure that you are using a 9watt UV lamp to cure your colors. Especially the opaque ones. The more pigment you add the harder it is for the UV rays to penetrate the thickness of the gel and cure it completely. A way to get around that is to do super thin coats (cure in between each coat) and do several coats to build it up.

Moving on to Acrylics. In the Cina line we offer a "Color Pigment and Mixing Kit". It's raw pigment you mix with your own acrylic powders to create custom blends of color acrylic. However, you can actually tint the monomer with your favorite polish. Just a few drops in your dappen dish of monomer will tint the liquid. Simply dip like normal and make an acrylic ball tinted through and through with the monomer. It's an alternative to those additive drops that tend to evaporate in the jar. Again, clear powder creates transparent (stained glass) effect, while white powder will create an opaque effect.

Building custom colors doesn't have to be just an artistic thing. Keep in mind not all powders or gels are so perfect for every given skin tone. Offering a custom blend to match your clients skin tone is definitely something you want to market to your clients. This will set you apart from the competition. Just be careful to keep your recipe in a safe place so that you can match your first batch in the future.

Have fun mixing!

(writing from Valencia, CA today)