How to grow your nail business – expert advice from Marian Newman
Marian Newman is one of the best known names in the nail industry. Not only is she the author of The Complete Nail Technician, she’s recently been appointed to the advisory board of the British Beauty Council and is the go-to for fashion legends and pop stars who want awesome nails on the catwalk or in their videos.
We caught up with Marian to get her expert advice for anyone running a nail business - no matter how big or small. Read on for her top tips...
Marian’s advice for growing your nail business…
Is your appointment book full? Then now could be the time to expand your business says Marian. “You know it’s time to think about expanding - whether that’s employing someone else, giving someone the opportunity to be self-employed alongside you or going from a mobile business into a high street salon - when you start getting to the point where you can’t take on many more clients.
“That’s the time to think it might be possible to make your business bigger and take on someone else for example. The way you make real money is to get other people earning for you.”
Yet if you’re struggling to fill your appointment book, hold fire on any big plans. “If you’re only getting a few people in a day or week and you want it to be bigger, that’s not the time to expand as you’re not pulling in enough clients.”
“There is no such thing as you’ve finished learning and that you know everything there is to know. I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years and I still learn every single day”
Marian on why you should ‘dream big!’
Just qualified as a nail technician and bubbling over with ambition, or keen to go freelance and start your own business? Marian’s advice is start planning for your future as soon as you can!
“Nothing is unattainable if you’re that passionate and that hungry. If you want to own that chain of salons, start planning now. Look at your business to see what works and what doesn’t work. How much things are costing you, what do you do that brings in clients? Start dreaming and start planning - anybody can do it with the right attitude and work ethic.”
Marian on the importance of education…
No matter how long you’ve been working as a nail technician, Marian recommends you stay on top of new industry research and continue to educate yourself.
“There is no such thing as you’ve finished learning and that you know everything there is to know. I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years and I still learn every single day.
“And it’s not just new techniques you need to learn. Technology and science moves so fast - I’m always looking online to see what the experts are researching and developing: from ways to improve application to colour stabilisation. New scientific facts are coming out all the time.
“The best example of this is the cuticle. What we’ve called the cuticle for years ISN’T the cuticle! That’s because what we’ve called the cuticle is living skin when actually the cuticle is dead skin. What we thought was the cuticle has instead got a very unsexy name, the proximal nail fold. This is something I would hazard a guess more than 50% of the professionals working in the nail industry today haven’t caught up with.”
Marian’s advice for setting your prices…
Not sure how much to charge for your nail services? Marian has this advice:
“Don’t just think, ‘the salon down the road charges £20 so I’m going to charge £18.’ That’s not the way to approach it. There must be a reason why you come to that cost of the service.
“You need to understand the commercial side of your business: look at overheads, cost of products, whether you work from home, are mobile or own a salon. There are always overheads and they need to be taken into account when you’re setting your prices.”
Don’t feel you have to slash your prices to compete with the cheaper nail salons either. “You see so many people in this industry are doing it so cheaply because they want to beat the price down on all the other people in their area. But often they are actually earning less than the minimum wage.
“I know there are so many people new to the industry who are so scared of the discount salons because they are so cheap. My advice is ignore the discount salons. If that salon closed down tomorrow those clients are not suddenly going to come to you. They are discount clients and you’ll never get a discount client to a premium client.
“It’s like people who go to the pound shop because they love a bargain, they’re not going to suddenly start shopping in Harrods. So don’t be scared by the discount salons. You set your own fees - work it out commercially. Charge your worth. Charge a commercial fee that is going to give you an income.”