Keep Your Nail Business Alive During Covid Lockdown
Whether you have closed your salon by choice, or if you have been forced to close your doors by new government social distancing guidelines; this is a trying time for nail technicians all across the globe. While we all try to wrap our heads around what is considered to be the new "normal" you may be wondering how you can still move forward with your business-retain clients-and pay the bills.
If you are lucky enough to have brought all of your nail supplies home ( or you own a home salon) you will have no problem keeping busy during these periods of isolation. I personally consider myself very lucky in a time like this, in that I have a job that I actually enjoy doing and that I am able to do it from the comfort of my own home... in my pyjamas ;) I could sit for hours painting designs on full cover tips. I have been known to forget to feed my family (and myself) because I was so caught up in mastering a new design element, or just finishing "one more nail" That being said, there's a difference between having fun painting nails, and being productive. Try some of these ideas to keep your business alive (and your sanity) during the COVID 19 lock-down.
1. CleaningOk, so this isn't the most fun task but given the circumstances and the rate of which this novel virus is spreading, now is a great time to take your cleaning regime to a whole new level. Covid 19 is not going away, even after lock-down is lifted. Starting in a clean salon with clean tools and products will make the upkeep once re-opened a lot easier. I've gone ahead and sanitized all of my tools, art brushes, containers, surfaces, Color swatch sticks, nail art displays, polish bottles etc... That's not to say they weren't clean before, but things that were on a weekly cleaning schedule ie. polish bottles are now all sanitized and will be individually sanitized after each use. Anything the client touches such as swatch sticks or colour books will need to be sanitized after each use moving forward, so starting with a clean slate will help. It will also help to keep a clients mind at ease and could be the deciding factor when they are choosing a nail tech.
2. Re-organizeNow is also a good time to reorganize your space. Perhaps there was something about your working environment that just wasn't fulfilling its role to its full potential, but you never really had time to sit down and think about how you could make it work better. Get at it now while you have a chance. Because before you know it, you are going to have a full client list desperate to get back in your door all at the same time. You could also spend some time revamping your diary, finding ways to fit in more clients or add more hours into the day. If you do find a way to make the days longer, please let me know!
3. Replace worn out displays.After a while, our swatch sticks and colour books start to fade from exposure to sunlight. Now is a great time to repaint those old swatches to keep the colour fresh and accurate for clients. You could also spend some time adding new nail art options in your display book. If you don't have a nail art display book, this is the time to create one. Fill it with designs that you are comfortable doing. You could even arrange them in order of price, as some designs will take more time.
4. Treat yourself to an online nail art course.A lot of experienced nail techs offer free nail art courses online. You can watch the videos and complete the work at your own pace. Some courses cost money, but usually, they cost around 20 pounds and they might even provide you with a little certificate that you can hang on your wall to entice your clients to try the new techniques. If you aren't interested in participating in an online course, there are literally thousands of nail art videos on youtube that you could spend this time practising. Don't forget to add them to your nail art display book!
5. Help clients to maintain their nails at home safely with your professional advice.While all of your clients are locked down in their house, they will be concerned about the health of their nails without their regular visits with you. Now is the time to support them and give them advice on how to maintain their enhancements for longer than normal time periods, or how to remove them. Luckily this is your area of expertise.
You can make some eye-catching quick tips and instructions to post on your social media and let them know that you are available to help them online.Clients may need more specific advice or may want to shorten/remove their nails. We need to be available during this time to guide them in making the best decision. Keep in mind their personal circumstances and use your nail tech knowledge to keep their nails safe until you can service them again.
6. Start training your children to paint nails.As of writing this, its day 4 of countrywide lockdown in the UK. I have already seen parents posting desperate pleas for help in entertaining their children. Luckily for you ( if you have children ) you have all the glitter and polish to keep them happy for at least 30 minutes. For the smaller ones, you can get them to design a set of nails on paper after you have drawn out a hand and nails. There are also templates online for this exact purpose if you have a printer. For the older kids, you can let them paint full cover tips. Let them have fun but keep them supervised and safe while they play. If they want to create a full set of nails for themselves, they could stick them on with adhesive tabs, or nail glue for the more permanent option. If you are really brave... You can let them paint your nails!! I'm not sure I am that brave but I know some of you might be! Include a theory lesson on nails and consider it part of the homeschooling program. ;)
7. Update your website/Facebook group.Times have changed; your operating hours have changed; your policies have no doubt changed. This is a great time to update your social media and let everyone know what you are currently doing, what your plans moving forward are, and what policies have changed as a result of Covid19. Keep in touch with your clients and keep them informed so that they don't feel disconnected from you when you return from work. You can set up a bunch of scheduled posts to post automatically: nail memes, inspirational quotes, pictures of nails, tips and tricks. Anything that you think your followers will enjoy. Try to get them actively commenting on your posts so you don't disappear from their newsfeed.
8. Think of new treatments and research local trainers.Have you been wanting to expand your services or try your hand at something new but never had the time to research it? Well, NOW you have time! Lucky us eh?! With the internet at our fingertips, you will be able to find a reputable trainer in whatever you are thinking of training in. Email a few and get more information about the courses they offer. You could even post your expansion ideas on your social media pages to gain interest from your current clients. See what it is that THEY want you to train in!
9. Get up to date with your accounting books.If you are using an accountant, now is a great time to learn how to do that yourself and save yourself a little bit of money. When you only have 1 job as a self-employed nail technician, it's super easy to file your own taxes. You literally just have to fill in 3 boxes throughout the form. You could take an online accounting course if you wanted to be even more comfortable with the process. Create a new more streamlined system for storing your financial records, declutter your old client record cards or get that tax return ready for next year. You can file your 2019 tax return anytime after the tax year ends in April 2020 so get it done now and you won't have to worry about it for a whole year!
10. Create Custom press-on nails for your clients.I have been creating and selling custom press on nails for years. Usually to customers who follow my work but don't live close enough to have an in-person service. It's really easy to do and you probably have most of the items you need to start straight away. If you would like more information or have any questions about this, you can join Custom Tips Creators Support Facebook Group.
11. Revamp your price list.When was the last time you adjusted your prices? I know nail techs, and I know that a lot of us are not charging what we are worth. You have time now, so sit down and work out exactly what it costs you to create a basic set; of each service you offer. Mark it up, allocate an hourly wage and calculate the cost of extras. When we do get back to work, clients may not be financially stable enough to pay the new higher price, but you can always do an opening offer of 10% off or whatever suits your situation. It is much easier to end a special offer than it is to raise your prices. Most loyal clients will understand, they've probably been telling you to raise your prices for years anyways!
12. Sell products to your clients that they can use at home safely.A lot of people will be left with grown out nails and they won't have a clue what to do with them. Put together some removal kits with acetone, wraps, files, oil etc. Your clients can stop by your house and collect them from a safe location and pay you via bank transfer/PayPal etc.
13. Practice Photography.Did you know when you became a nail tech that you would also need to be able to take good photographs? Photographs of your work are the first contact between you and a new client. Do you know zero about photography and you feel like your pics don't do the nails justice? Take this time to do a little research. There are lots of great articles online about basic photography skills that can be applied to photographing nails. There are even articles based solely on photographing nails. Practice with your own nails, or full cover tips that you've practised on. Try out some new poses, get some good lighting, find an editing app that suits your needs. When we get out of lockdown, people will be admiring your pics and wondering how you made the change from amateur to professional nail photographer so quickly.
Lastly, there will be clients who are ordering supplies to do their nails at home during this time. They are going to be bored too and they don't have the luxury of having the best job in the world to entertain them during isolation. Don't let this discourage you or make you feel like you will return to work with no clients. Creating beautiful nails is no easy task as I am sure you are aware. Yes, some may continue to do their own until their income is disposable again. ( Remember that a lot of people are going to be out of work for a long time, not just us nail techs) But after playing catch up, they will return to their trusty old nail tech. When they do, you need to be understanding and supportive of their decision.
Everyone stay safe during these uncertain times. Follow the government guidelines and keep your hygiene standards incredibly high to prevent the spread of this virus. We're going to get through this, together. And remember...