Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Saving Your Own Nails

SAVING YOUR OWN NAILS By Vicki Peters (circa 2000)

I know as well as anyone that as a professional nail tech our nails should look good all the time and that is nearly impossible. If your nails need a fill, are filed to a point and half the polish is off, when you go to the bank to make your deposit the bank teller, or anyone else for that matter, is not going to ask you where you get your nails done. We are a walking advertisement and our nails should look good all the time.

So here are some suggestions.
1. Make a standing appointment with a salon down the street and get them done. Enjoy having your nails done just like your clients do. Oh I can hear  it now, I don't like the way anyone else does my nails, I am so particular",  well get over it because having them done not quite to your liking is better  than not having them done at all.
2. Make a standing appointment with someone in your salon whose work you do  like and pay her for the appointment so you don't get bumped.
3. Wear them natural and buff them to a high shine. Nails are nails even if  you specialize in artificial nails.
4. Cover your acrylic nails after you polish them with gels to protect the  polish. Gel is acetone resistant and you can buff off the top layer to get to  the polish to remove it and do a fill.
5. Wearing tips that melt? Apply a layer of gel to the underside to protect  them.
6. Cover the nails you tend to file with the stretchy wrap made specifically  for this. Problem is it looks pretty tattered by the end of the day and you  have to remove it every time you wash and I am assuming your washing your  hands in between every client.
7. Do as I do - wear a bankers rubber finger on your thumb and index fingers  that get hit the most with files.
8. Remove the client's polish with the cotton in between your fingers,  between your first and second knuckle, keeping the cotton away from the tips  of your fingers.
9. Have the client use a polish remover machine.
10. Schedule time to do your nails at the end of each week when you're done  taking clients, before you go home.

I know this is a challenge, it is for everyone. But remember you are a  walking advertisement and if you do not have time, which most of us don't  make the time so you always are presentable. And if your going to a trade  show don't go unless you are wearing your very best work. We all inspect each
other's nails at shows and it is important that they look good. Trust me  everyone looks at mine at shows and even if someone else does my nails I tell  them I do them! Except when I am wearing nails from someone like Kym Lee  or  Tom Holcomb!


Any products mentioned in the "Tip Of The Week by Vicki Peters" is not an endorsement of any kind.

The Peters Perspective
"When you stop learning your career ends and your job begins"

Saturday, December 26, 2015

NSS (Non-Standard Salons), Discount Salons, Chop Shops, Oh My!

At the Premiere Trade Show in August, 2000, a 55 nail professionals got together and agreed to come up with a new name to call the shops/workers that are less than "up to standards" in the nail profession. The thought was to re-name this issue so the energy goes into the issue and not the vaguely racist sounding name (there was a lot of arguing over the name but not the issue!). The term chosen was "Non-Standard Salons".

They had decided that they had "seen enough... heard enough... and enough races.. religions and ethnic slurs had been made...we decided to put an end to it." (Diana Bonn, Beautytech Forum) At that time, the standard term for these shops was "Chop Shop". In America, a Chop Shop is a place where stolen vehicles are dismantled so that the parts can be sold or used to repair other stolen vehicles. As related to nails, it basically meant a place where people would go to get their nails ruined (much ike the aforementioned stolen car).  Some people took the term "chop shop" to relate to Asians because is was similar to "chop suey", which is a Chinese American food dish.  Long story short, there was a lot of effort put into changing the terminology related to salons that messed up nails and generally were not sanitary and most likely not licensed - hence, "non-standard salon" came to be.
Fast forward 15 years later to today and NSS has become a catch all phrase to generalize - and is one again usually aimed at the Asian Discount Salon.  Geeg on the salongeek forum has said "Is it time for all of us to stop generalizing and perhaps face the truth.  We should drop the NSS term altogether as it is meaningless the way it is used. There are nail bars, hobby techs, salons, Mobile technicians and cowbows/girls; there are good and bad technicians in every one of these groups."

Interestingly, by substituting NSS for Chop Shop, we may have made the term slightly less racist sounding, but in essence we have not done anything to help the underlying issue - and dare I say the issue is actually WORSE than 15+ years ago, with so many brilliant, talented techs charging so little that there is almost no "discount" salon in some areas of the country (US, probably other countries as well?).

"As we all agree..... its not just one ethnic group that is at fault. I can go into a city any where and find faults with nail techs, stylist, skin care etc etc.. (doesn't matter their ethnic, race, hair color or education....!) At times it seems that it may be more prominent in certain areas/groups.. but.... I tell ya what we are all under the "spy glass"." (Beautytech forum)

The Issues
So, what are the issues that the term NSS is supposed to encompass, really?

  • Unlicensed/Untrained Technicians (because lets face it, some techs are licensed but not well trained or are working in a place that doesn't require licensure)
  • Poor communication
  • Unsanitary Practices
  • MMA Use
  • Damaged Nails/Allergic reactions due to sloppy work practices
  • Human Trafficking
From the beautytech forum, August, 2000: "I believe the problem lies with our legislators-if we don't all push them to take the issue seriously,and public health issues are at stake,here,how can they be expected to know what the REAL issues are-not just welfare reform,violence in the home and school,etc (which are very REAL threats to the well-being of all of us) but issues of public health that theses shops pose a threat to... yes,in the hands of unlicensed,untrained,unscrupulous persons,these products which we take for granted as being available to us, pose a very real danger."

Being Mindful - Thinking Points
Throwing around the term NSS to mean anything from a discount salon (one who is cheaper then average, but not "non-standard" or illegal) to a Vietnamese salon (no mater what they charge or how legal they are) to a full blown "Chop shop" (which would pretty much meet all the criteria listed above) is putting the nail industry back where we started.

Some points to think about:

  • A discount salon is one that charges less than the average for your area.  In my area that is less than about $40 for a full set. A discount salon is NOT "non standard", they're just cheap :)
  • No salon should ever be called by their ethnicity or defined by it.  Just because a Vietnamese family runs a local discount salon does not make them an NSS.  It makes them a discount salon, period.  
  • Just because one person in a salon is non-standard doesn't meant the whole salon is and NSS.  This is why I don't really like the term NSS - non standard salon - because it generalizes that the whole salon is not standard when its really one person.
  • Non-Standard crosses ethnicities and price ranges - do not assume because someone is Caucasian and charges $75 for a full set that the are not a Non Standard Tech.  Most techs where I live are either Caucasian or Vietnamese - and I know of  Caucasian techs that charge a lot of money and work in relatively expensive salons that are extremely unsanitary and therefore should be considered a non-standard technician.
  • These terns are very subjective.  I know of a very popular woman on Instagram who people take classes from that I would consider Non-standard because she is so sloppy about her work!  She is always posting videos where she is slopping liquid all over client's skin and using her brush to clean up the skin.  Putting clients in danger of dermatitis is sloppy and unprofessional in my book - and therefore non-standard (to me).  Other people may disagree.
What are your thoughts on the subject of NSS? 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Business Basics: Resumes

Resumes (or curriculum vitae if you do not live in the US) are one of those things that the average beauty industry person has no idea about, even though having a good resume is a critical element in the job seelking process.  When I applied for my first nail job, I went to apply thinking I would just fill out an application and that would be that.  When they asked for my resume, I gave them a blank look - this was not something that was even mentioned in nail school!

A resume/curriculum vitae is defined as "a brief account of a person's education, qualifications, and previous experience, typically sent with a job application."  It is a summary of your relevant work/educational experience.  This means, you do not need to list every single job you have ever had, nor every subject you studied in school. 

You will want to tailor your resume to the position you are applying for - and yes this means that you should look at and refine your resume for every job you apply for!  You may not need to make any adjustments if the positions are all very similar, but you may need to tweak a word or two or even a whole section.

For instance, if you are looking to apply at a spa that only does natural nail manicures, you will not want your objective to read "A highly talented nail technician with experience in providing professional, high quality acrylic nails." The fact that you do acrylic nails means nothing to a natural nails-only spa.  It is neither relevant nor tailored to the application.

Being relevent doesnt just mean salon work.  When you are first starting out, you most likely will not have worked in a salon.  Under the Experience section of your resume you can put previous jobs that focus on your relevant transferable skills.   A salon owner isn’t just looking for someone who can do great nails.  They also want someone who is reliable, is professional with the clients and who is a team player.  Showing that you worked as a sales associate for three years, doesn’t speak to your nails skills, but it shows you are a loyal and dependable employee – which is equally as important.

Students should include statistics from their work at the school salon including includes how many clients they serviced in a week, the average service ticket, the number of referrals, the percent of re-books, the average retail ticket, and weekly service and retail goals. The resume should also include experiences outside the classroom, from volunteering at school fundraisers to doing a beauty photo shoot after hours.

Parts of a Resume
Resumes have four basic parts - your contact information, the objective, your education and your experience.  In addition you can add sections highlighting relevent skills or other relevant information.
  • Contact Information: This is self explanatory - name, address and phone number plus email address. If you have an online resume, include that website address as well.

  • Objective. This is an optional piece - more and more people are saying to leave it off but if you choose to keep it in, this is where you tell the employer exactly what you are looking for in a place of employment.  Mention the kind of environment and position you are seeking. State your objective simply and concisely; it is never necessary to have a long-winded statement.

  • Education. List it all: where and when you went to school and any continuing education classes or seminars you have attended.

  • Experience. List prior work experience beginning with your present position and working backwards. List all products you have worked with. This will give you an advantage over the other applicants who have no experience with certain products.  Your experience does not have to be paid to be relevant. This allows you to include any experience in which you learned or demonstrated skills, knowledge or abilities that are related to the type of job you are seeking.
You can add additional sections as desired. Some examples are:
  • Activities/ Awards: To help make yourself stand out, be sure to add anything that shows your passion for the industry - such as memberships to industry associations and awards or competitions participated in.
  • Other Experience/Volunteer Work: If you have a lot of experience you can choose to separate your experience into difference sections and list related volunteer work
  • Skills: Most resumes can benefit from having a skills section. The heading might simply read "Skills," and include a list of various skills. Since skills are a large part of the beauty insutry and are more related to your objective than some other sections, place this section higher on your resume page than other less-related sections.
  • Certifications/Licensure: You can include you licensure in your education if it was obtained due to training, but you may also wish to highlight it as a separate section, especially if you have certifications from manufacturers - such as being a CND Master Tech.
On a resume, it is unnecessary to state "references available upon request." Most employers assume this. Do, however, prepare a reference list, on a separate page from your resume.

On curriculum vitae, references ARE typically listed.

In selecting people to ask to serve as references for you, think about what those individuals know about you and if they can discuss your work-related qualities. Don't list references who only know you in a social capacity. While family friends may have nice things to say about you, employers don't place value on these kinds of references.  Also, don't ever give someone's name as a reference without that person's permission.

Dos and Don’ts of a Successful Resume
• Don’t use overly cute or ornate fonts. Make it as easy as possible for the interviewer to get the information she needs without having to try to decipher what the words are.
• Don’t use a lot of icons or design elements that will be distracting to the interviewer. You want her to see the information in your resume, not the art.
• Don’t go for bright neon paper. Although you want your resume to stand out in a stack, the interviewer may have difficulty reading that beautiful yellow color that you so love.
• Do be creative — but opt for a classic style over glitz and glamour.
• Do use spell-check. And have someone proofread it for you as well.  I can not stress this enough!  Proofread, have your mom proofread, have your teacher proofread, have a friend proofread and then proofread it again!  Check not only for spelling mistakes, but mistakes in the "voice" of the resume.  It should all sound cohesive.

Seeing how others structure their resume may bring you some ideas - go ahead and Google "Nail Techncician Resume Examples" and you will get many ideas on how to structure a resume.  You can also look for cosmetologist, hair stylist, esthitician, manicurist, and beauty industry resume examples to get additional ideas on structuring a resume, even if you don't do hair or skin care for a living.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tricks of the Trade: Applying Nail Tips with Acrylic


Diana Bonn posed a question about a comment I recently made on the list about applying tips with acrylic instead of glue, when I was addressing the tips not holding up. Glue, gel glue and most bonding agents and resins are all cynoacrylates. Cynoacrylates break down in water and acrylics don't, that is a fact. So every time you wash your hands you're contributing to the breakdown of the glue you are wearing.

Now I am not stating that glue is not good - do not misunderstand me - what I am claiming is that acrylic is stronger and bonds longer to the natural nail.

I am a huge fan of cutting the wells out of tips, refining the smile lines and placing the edge of the tip on the edge of the nail. It is a cosmetic way of applying a tip that gives very little strength, the strength is in the overlay. If the overlay does not have a properly balanced overlay and is weak on the sides and stress are the tip will break. Same goes for a sculpture. So make sure your overlay is providing the structure not the tip. Applying the well-less tip on the edge of the natural nail with acrylic will give it more strength to stay on.
Here are three suggestions for applying tips with acrylic:
#1  Size out your tips and refine them if you choose to. You can use this method with or without wells, with natural colored tips and French white tips. Prep the nail plate just like you would for a sculptured nail, primer and all. Let the primer dry. One tip at a time turn the tip over so the underneath is facing up. Place a small amount of liquid and powder on the inside of the tip where the contact area is going to be on the nail - a thin layer across the entire edge of the tip. Use pink or clear powder. Place on the nail and hold into place until dry.   This takes a bit more time having to hold the tip while drying but the results will be better. When the tips are secure cut and shape the tips and continue with your overlay procedures.

#2  Another way to do this is to place a small ball of acrylic on the tip of the  natural nail and spread it over the entire edge of the nail. Then press the tip into the acrylic. Again you must hold the tip in place until it is dry. Too much acrylic will squish out and not enough will not give enough strength. When the tips are secure, cut and shape the tips and continue with your overlay procedures.

#3 The third way to apply tips in acrylic is to overlay the entire natural nail with pink powder. Before the acrylic is dry press a white French tip onto the very tip of the acrylic on the natural nail and let dry. Apply the cuticle area very thin or not completely up to the cuticle area. Once you have done this on all ten nails cut and shape the parameter of the tips. Then overlay the entire nail with clear acrylic, right over the pink you already applied with a thin coat and over the white tip. Be sure to view from the side to make sure you have not applied too much clear acrylic on the nail bed and not enough on the tip.

Ok so mow another tip: there is no need to take the shine of the tips once you have applied them. The acrylic will stick to them anyway - however whenever applying gels and fibgerglass you may want to take a white block and remove the shine.

The Peters Perspective
"When you stop learning your career ends and your job begins"

Any products mentioned in the "Tip Of The Week by Vicki Peters" is not an endorsement of any kind.
 [JZ Note: be careful not to "squish out" the acrylic - when you apply the tip you gently set it on the nail and hold, not rock it on like when using adhesive.  My nail mentor - Terri Lundberg - described it like landing a plane - you "land" the tip very gently and then hold it until dry.  This  technique also gives a fantastic arch to very flat nails (and fills in the gap between the tip and nail)!]

Monday, December 7, 2015

Business Basics: Limited versus Full Service Offerings

Ther are two main ways of looking at your service offerings in a salon. You can do everything under the sun (that you can do under your licensure) or you can limit your services.  There are pros and cons to each.

The Full Service Menu - Pros
A "Full" Service menu generally means that you offer every type of service you are legally allowed to perform.  This can be great for clients who will be able to  pick and choose the services they want.  Also, because not all salons offer all services, you are ensured that clients will seek you out for the lates and greatest services they see on the internet (assuming you are marketing your full service menu!).

"We get all kinds of requests from clients who can’t get certain services when they visit discount salons, so our motto is, 'We do everything!'" — Vicki Peters

The Full Service Menu - Cons
On the flip side, too big of a menu can cause clients to be confused by too many choices and services. Most clients do not understand the jargon of the nail industry so if you are listing five types of acrylic nails on your menu, it is very likely a client would get overwhelmed and you can potentially lose clients who don't know what to ask for. In addition if you bill your salon as full service, trends, internet buzz, and Pinterest postings could have you scurrying to add new services to keep up with the demands of client.  Also, offering a varied menu of services means keeping product for all of those services in stock, even if you only actually perform the service once in awhile.  By not performing some services oftern, you may be slower and even forget certain steps in the service.

The Limited Service Menu - Pros
By offering a limited menu, you can specialize in specific services and bill yourself as a specialist - clients often perceive specialists as "better" at their job.  With fewer options, clients do not tend to become overwhelmed or confused regarding services and the tech does not ahve to stock as many products.  You can build a core clientel that come to you for your expertise and you will always be on top of your game.

"I fully believe in being specialized and keeping the options simple while giving the complete service." — Suzanne Cox, Salon at the Highland, Cedar Park, Texas

The Limited Service Menu - Cons
You will not be able to accomodate clients who are looking for the latest and greatest thing they saw on the internet.  If your long-time client decides they want a pedicure but you only offer gel nails, you will not be able to accomodate them. Of course, in an ideal world you would have a referral relationship with another tech who specializes in pedicures.

No matter what you choose, it is important to keep the pros and cons in mind when designing and choosing which services you will perform. 

How many services do you offer?


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Business Basics: Inflation, Cost of Living Index, and more fun stuff.

It is important to understand that what you charge for nails will be unique to YOU.  We already talked about pricing services and figuring out your own prices, but lets be honest, not everyone in the beauty industry is interested in the hard business skills - how many of you actually have sat down and done the math??  Yep, thought so. Well, I hate to tell you but there is more math in this article :)

Once you have been in the business for awhile, you will find that you will need to raise your prices. Yes, you will.  If you are not raising your prices each year or two, you are effectively taking a pay cut because of inflation. And if you move to a new city your prices need to be adjusted because of the local consumer price index (a.k.a. cost of living index)

When I started doing nails 15+ years ago in Midwest small-town USA, I charged $45 for a full set (of which I made 50% commission - about $15 per hour with an hour and a half full set).  After 15 years of inflation that price should be $62.28 minimum - and actually it should be more because my skills and training would have increased my prices.  (Try this nifty inflation calculator).

Now, taking the fact that if I was still in Midwest Small Town USA I should be charging $62.28 and the fact that I now live in Midwest Big City USA, which has a higher consumer price index, I should be charging a minimum of $69.83 for my full set just to equal the $45 I charged when I was starting out.

If you want to figure this out yourself:
Take the base price ($45)
Use the inflation calculator to get your current price ($62.28)
If you have moved to a new location or are just curious about what people should charge in other parts of the US to get the same buying power as what you charge, you would take the cost of living index (COLI) of your new location, divide by the COLI of your old location and then multiply that by your service price.
111/99 = 112.1
112.1*$62.28 = $79.83

If I was in Manhattan (New York City), I would have to charge $138.21 just to equal the buying power of $62.28 in Midwest small town USA.  Pretty mind boggling when you think about it!