future nail industry blog professional beauty
I was recently scrolling through Facebook and came across a post from a nail tech who had just experienced something all too familiar; a client negotiating her service price. I know those of you in the pro beauty industry are already nodding your heads. This is not an uncommon occurrence, but it does seem to be happening much more often. future nail industry blog professional beauty
The client in the above example wanted a pedicure for $5 as that was “all she had,” and when the nail tech refused, the client walked out of the salon, over to a food truck and bought a decent-sized meal. The fact that clients have the audacity to question service prices is one thing, but then to see your client walk over to another business and happily pay full price? An absolute gut punch.
Over the weekend, there was a similar social media dustup over the price of an in-home manicure that involved a singer and the nail tech she solicited for the service. When the celeb balked at the price for an in-home service based on what the same service costs in the salon, she decided to blast the nail tech to her considerable social following. While many people agreed with the nail tech, there was a vocal group that expressed outrage over the $200 price tag.
Where We Are
I was making my coffee this morning while thinking about these stories, and they brought to mind several topics I’ve been pondering over the past few months. When I started thinking about why this happens so often and is so universal, I considered all aspects of our industry and how we are at a major crossroads. Get ready for a bit of a long read, but I think it’s important that we are all aware of what is to come, and where we stand. future nail industry blog professional beauty
I look at clients bargaining for services as a symptom of a larger disease. It is a disease that has infected every aspect of the pro beauty industry; not just nail services. This disease is one hundred percent to blame for so many problems that we all see on a daily basis, and it is unfortunately all around us. The good news is, we aren’t the only industry affected, but there is major work to be done.
If you’re not convinced that the industry is on the brink of some major change, just look around you. Have you noticed that the memes circulating right now have a decidedly anti-client vibe? From “Pinterest isn’t a menu” to “get a savings account because I charge a lot for color correction,” the frustration with the current landscape is clearly at a low boil. Walk the nail aisle of your local major distributor, or the nail section of your favorite trade show and tell me there isn’t change brewing.
This whole discussion started rolling around in my brain when Amazon Professional Beauty launched this past Summer. That day, the stock prices of Sally Beauty Holdings dropped 20%, and the point was made; the traditional methods for selecting and buying the products that support our services has changed forever. These feelings have been circulating within the professional brands as well. Look at how many pro brand portfolios are currently for sale, and you’ll see the same thing I do; change is imminent.
This change will take many forms, and they are starting to become apparent. How many states have introduced legislation to deregulate the pro beauty sphere? How many beauty schools have dropped their nail programs entirely? How many of you have decided to rent a suite instead of working in a nail or full service salon? What percentage of your services are booked through a mobile services app or online booking platform? Adding all of these things together, they reveal an inevitable truth: we must evolve or stay reactive and make petty memes about how things “used to be.” future nail industry blog professional beauty
With the trend decidedly moving toward the individual, (meaning service provider-focused, not salon teams or the industry as a whole driving the change,) we have to be in charge of our own destiny. In the face of deregulation, discount salons, white label generic product of dubious origin, and the “price is the only factor” mentality of some clients, we have to be out in front of this change, leading the way.
Leading The Change
It’s time to name our enemy, and its name is value. We are collectively failing at the main value proposition at the core of what we do. If clients think that all nail services are the same, then we are to blame for failing to communicate the value of what we provide. Taking price out of the equation, what is the actual difference between a sculpted gel full set with handpainted nail art and Swarovski crystals compared to a full set of dental acrylic thrown on over tips? To the uneducated client, the end result is essentially the same. They’ve received the “fake nails” they wanted. If we can’t get past this as an industry, then we deserve what is on the horizon.
At the end of the day, the services we provide aren’t essential to live. One doesn’t require a pedicure to continue walking around on this planet. The sooner we all accept this and stop acting like nail services are on par with food, water, and shelter, the better. Because the next step is realizing that our services are a luxury. Once this truth is our driving force, clients can better understand the value of a luxury service. Once we begin operating this way as nail techs, we can start to have the value conversation that actually matters.
If we better communicated the value our services hold, the silly $5 pedicure client goes away, or at least becomes embarrassed for asking. Right now, clients believe all nail services to be the same, no matter what salon they visit or what tech performs the services. That’s just how it is. The same thing applies for professional brands. Right now, many nail techs believe that buying product off of AliExpress is the same thing as what’s in the branded bottle, so why pay more? future nail industry blog professional beauty
Price vs. Value
Don’t confuse value with price. Price isn’t even part of this discussion. The inherent value in what we do is that the client doesn’t have to perform the service herself, at home. In a world of DIY, on-demand, work all-hours, hustle until you bleed, we are the shining beacons of luxury, self-care, and relaxation. Having someone else slough the dead skin off of your feet is a luxury that until recently, only the noble classes enjoyed. BUT JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN DO IT AT HOME THEMSELVES, DOES NOT MEAN YOU HOLD THE SAME VALUE AS THE DIRTY PUMICE IN THEIR SHOWER. The value comes from our education and the fact that we won’t be passing them a nasty disease in a nicely appointed environment. The value comes from the act itself, and the fact that someone else is handling it for them, to the highest standard. Value comes from providing an experience unlike any other they can receive elsewhere, whatever that means to them. Clients are the ones who determine the value our services hold, and their perception is reality.
I want you to think about who and what is currently thriving in our industry. Which trade shows are a must-attend. Which brands consistently deliver. Which media outlets tell the truth. What brands or influencers you trust. Ask yourself why they are head and shoulders above the rest. The answer will always be: value. They’ve succeeded in communicating their value to you, which is why you renew your subscription every year, why you buy every seasonal collection, and why you lay down the money for classes and travel. Then think about the shows you’ll never attend again. The classes you wouldn’t recommend. The brands you’ll never patronize. Why? Because for you, the value wasn’t there.
As we move into 2020, my wish for this industry is to recognize our value and how to better communicate it to the world at large. We need to master this concept in order to stay at the forefront of the changes that are coming our way, to not only better serve our clients, but ourselves in the process. future nail industry blog professional beauty
future nail industry blog professional beauty