Rants and Raves

Rants, Raves, Tangents, and other misc. stuff!, PLUS the NEWEST stuff

Subjects covered on this page:

How to sign-up with Delphi
About the daily cartoon
Any ideas to share?
MSDS Brigade
Pricing Nail Salon Services
Getting paid what you are worth
Charging for repairs, etc.
Charging new clients
Copy Right Information

THEN.... The NEWEST STUFF follows next, in the following order (kinda, maybe, well not in any order at all it seems...) totally unedited, waiting to be proofed to be added to a permanent spot in the site! Here's what to find somewhere in this section! (I spent 2 hours getting it all organized nice and then somewhat edited , so as not to offend and all, then, you guessed it, POOOHF, GONE.... so now it really, truly is totally unedited, so PLEASE, no hate mail!)
P & W backfills
Client implement kits
Nail pressures?
Ideal nail station
Nail repair season?
My guarantee policy
Practice clothes pins
Some tips stolen from Vickie Peters
Competition stuff
Being the boss sucks!
Peds and oils
Client nail care tips (I forget where I copied this from)
Wrap fills
Old client cards, my old policy
Gel fills
Nailsplash Newsletter
Acrylic yellowing
What products to use?
Laquer wackers
Agreeing to disagree
What I use
What I like....
Tips for blending
Fills and shortening length
Trial kits
Full spectrum bulbs


Please use the link below to my message boards to contact me....I can't keep up with all the email!....and would prefer to answer questions "all at once" rather than individually, whenever possible, as many people have the same questions, and ALL are curious about the answers (or rather my opinions on the answers!) Just point on the nailsplash.com chat and message boards link below, and log in with your user name and password...[This helps to prevent anonymous and/or non-related subject matter (ie porn etc) from making it's way into our living rooms!]I know some of you are shy about "signing-up" with Delphi to use the boards, but it is quick and simple.

You supply your email address and a user name and then you pick a password...the rest of the info they ask for is to help you retrieve your password should you forget it, so just make stuff up if you must! And be sure to remember it though, just in case.... (I keep info like this in a word document for future retrieval when needed.) Also, for non-vital ID's (such as Delphi, Tri-pod and others) I usually just use the same member name and password to make it easier! Not comfortable using your personal email address? Then get a FREE second email at YaHoo (www.yahoo.com) or HotMail(www.hotmail.com) for just these types of "transactions". Then you get to have a permanent "secret identity" and one place to collect any mail for your nail tech internet stuff!

Re: More About The Nailsplash Message Boards! Some questions and answers and other tips for using them.... I am totally confused with Delphi. I get messages in email from them that I have messages posted but when I go to these boards I don't find anything that I have discussed in the past much less any messages. Am i looking in the wrong place or must I keep a log of the number assigned to each message ? Sometimes even topics that were discussed before are not listed the next time I visit the message board.

HELP !!!
Delphi notifies you when there are messages posted since your last visit to the boards (regardless who they are to or from). It also hides any messages you have already read. In order to view those again you need to click on the appropriate topic in the frame on the left side of your screen. Hope this helps 

Re: Using the message boards
Sometimes Delphi is a little behind in it's messages to us that someone has replied to us. Also, if you have not visited in a while, they seem to auto-generate a message to you just to let you know that OTHERS have posted to the board (as if you could not figure that out!) and that there is new info here since your last visit. And even those messages sometimes are backlogged so that yoyu get one after you have recently visited. Also, if you mark this page in your "favorites" or "book mark" (as I hope you do!), then sometimes you do not realize that one of the options is to be notified every time a page changes by a "detect it" type of thingee...anyway, check that out in your manage lists section of favorites, to be sure you don't have the "notify me every time the page changes" section checked. Here is a sample of the section I am referring to below: Don't show above msgs next time
Show All Latest Messages
Show Latest Unread Messages
Show All To or From Me
Show Unread To or From Me
Find Other Messages As for seeing messages IN these boards....It all depends on what choice you check at the bottom left of the page, under all the messages. You can click on (as I do), "only show me latest unread messages", each time you log in. So then it will not show you messages you have already seen, only new ones since your last visit. If you have not picked (highlighted by clicking on) an option from that list, then it will just show you the last such and such # of messages. So look at those options carefully, and click "on" those you want and click "off" those you don't. Hope I have cleared things up a bit....

General discussion is getting too crowded!, and too hard to find specific conversation threads, so lets restart the COMPETITION thread in Events/Tradeshows!........ Lets put all discussion of buying supplies, favorite brands, discussion of Nailite etc, in RESOURCES, anything about gel nails IN gel nails. Lets put conversations about :"Starting Over", "New Techs", Schools, and Continuing Education (good and bad) in JOBS/NETWORKING.....hope these ideas will help to make these boards more user friendly and easier to follow and use!!!! I know these message boards are a lttle difficult to get used to, but once you get the hang of it I think you'll like it! Also, you get the option to post the message for ALL to READ AND then after you post to ALL, you can hit BACK on your browser and also send the same message you just posted as a personal email as well to the original poster of the specific post you are replying to, so you can be SURE they get the info ASAP! (NO NEED to email me though (Barb), as this program AUTOMATICALLY emails me whenever there is a new post...it emails me EVERYTIME!

So even if I don't check the boards right away it DOES show up in my EMAIL so if you email me too, then I just have double email on the same subject, so just post there for me, I WILL GET IT) ALSO, PLEASE POST ALL QUESTIONS TO ME HERE ON THESE MESSAGE BOARDS!, it is very difficult for me to reply personally thru email, so if you WANT AN ANSWER TO A QUESTION, PLEASE POST IT HERE. The direct address of the nailsplash.com message boards to add to your address book is: http://forums.delphi.com/m/main.asp?sigdir=nailsplash (but of course you can always get there from the menu link here or back at the homepage.....) For more about the message boards netiquette see message # 241 in the bds....

have a daily cartoon source that changes every day....because laughter IS the best medicine....and as a preventative for anything that ails us...aching wrists and hands and backs and shoulders and necks...., frustrating clients, co-workers, bosses.... product that won't behave.... a day of running behind...you know, life as a professional nail technician! Hope you enjoy them! Click on the link from the main menu or the link below to see the "cartoon of the day".

Have any great ideas you'd like to share, send them here and I'll post them giving you credit, AND FEEL FREE TO USE AND SHARE MY IDEAS, JUST BE SURE TO GIVE ME CREDIT...(see copyright info below....)

I almost forgot about the "MSDS brigade"..., start collecting them, and I'll post a list of what I'm looking for...some companies are very nice about sending them (STAR, CNDS, OPI) whether you use their products or not...some other companies, well, what are they hiding? Also, just TRY and get your hands on an MSDS at a show! I have walked away from booths selling product that I had not tried before because they could not provide MSDS. ATTN SHOW PROMOTERS: DON'T LET THESE PEOPLE ON THE SHOW FLOOR IF THEY CAN'T PROVIDE ENOUGH MSDS TO GO ALONG W/ THE AMOUNT OF PRODUCT THEY HAVE FOR SALE! Also, what are they doing putting demo nails on us without MSDS!!!!!!! Let's all get together and make the suppliers and manufacturers get their MSDS act together! Start emailing those MSDS to me and I'll start analyzing and compiling the list of what's missing...also let me know WHO REFUSES TO SEND MSDS OR DOES NOT HAVE IT AVAILABLE AT THE SHOW AND I'LL PUBLISH IT HERE! We should not have to show receipts to get this info...just because we don't use it...what if the tech next to us does? We have the right to know...what if we find some in the backroom, what if someone gives it to us....geez...our industry needs to wake up and get on the ball!

Getting Paid What You Are Worth! PRICING: Yes, I do charge $40 for a 2 week fill, $45 for 3 weeks, and $50 for 4 weeks. Full-Sets are $85, although I rarely do one because I have a completely full book and have not been accepting clients (from the general public) for almost 2 years now! (I keep a waiting list, and about once every 3-6 mos I "allow" a former client or current clients referral to start service in a standing appointment spot. I actually had to get a separate and PRIVATE unlisted phone number for current clients to call because the "Public" (in the phone book and 411 info.) line rings so much with inquiries that I can't keep up with it AND service my current clientele at the same time!

I am not out in the boonies, I am in a suburb of Chicago, and surrounded by deep discount salons that go as low as $12 for fills! I decided early on in my nail career that I was going to carve out a nitch for myself in the "High End" market segment (That's what the profile was about in Crain's Chicago Business). Just as a Nieman Marcus or Bloomingdales attracts a certain type of clientele, they do not "compete" with WalMart or Super K-Mart or the wharehouse clubs! And I don't feel in competition with the "discount" salons. Consumers demand products and services at all price point and service levels! I do offer many amenities to justify my prices (in addtion to quality nail services!), such as: free nail repairs at or between appointments, free paraffin wax, free U-V dried topcoat, free French manicures......plus other extras such as a fully stocked frig with 10 differant types of pop, flavored coffees, Biscotti's, and many differant candies and snacks (Good and Plenty and Hot tamales are at the top of the list of favorites!).

In future postings I'll go into further detail about how to set prices in general (such as a basic Manicure is about 1/2 the price of a basic fill, a full-set is usually twice the price of a fill. If you are in a full service salon (hair, etc) A full-set should be about the same price as a high end perm or foiling, a Fill about the same as a complete cut and style. Pedicures are generally at least twice the price of a manicure. Add on services (if you charge separately, rather than all inclusuve as I do)are priced at about $1 per minute....remember, these are generalities only! If you have questions or comments about pricing before my next update, please post them to my message board here at nailsplash.com (see link below)and I'll try to answer ASAP!

In my next addition to this page I'll talk about WHY I do repairs for free......there is a method to my madness!

FOLLOWING IS VERY LONG OPIONION OF MINE I RECENTLY POSTED TO THE BEAUTYTECH.COM MESSAGE BOARDS THAT RELATES TO PRICING OF NAIL SERVICES===the conversation thread going on before I jumped in here, had to do with techs afraid to charge for broken nails or nail art or whatever.... for fear of loosing clients to other "cheaper" salons. And how they felt that they (the techs) were being taken advantage of by their clients, and they were not feeling repected enough in their job......all which ultimately lead to job dissatisfaction, lowered self-esteem and BURNOUT!.... Subject: Re: Need some good advice/LONG!!!!!! and opinionated!Body of Message: (from barb@nailsplash, in reply to, and agreeing with, Marjon's post...)

Hi Marjon! Your English is great. And I wholeheartedly agree with you! I think way too many techs in our industry sell them selves short....LITERALLY....they are underpricing their services, and are afraid to charge what they are worth! Whether you do it the way you do pricing wise (a la carte, charge for each service as needed and used) or charge one higher price up front (like I do. I charge $50 for a 4 week fill, which includes FM, topcoat, paraffin, and repairs...mind you, very few walk in needing ANY repairs, because if they did I would not ALLOW them to be on a 4 week schedule to begin with----so you can see that Marjon and I DO charge approximately the same amount for our services!) The goal is to get paid what we are worth (no matter what pricing strategy you use---if you charge a la carte (each service individually), then be sure to always actually charge for every service you render----sure every once in a while you might GIVE something away for FREE, but then you should invoice it into the price first, and then SUBTRACT it back out, so that the client SEES the $$VALUE of the service and APPRECIATES the gift, otherwise the gift has no value and she does not appreciate it AND expects it for free all the time!).

The goal is for us ALL to be paid what we are worth....because it is good for our industry! My personal opinion is that $12 fills devalue our industry and devalue US as professionals, which leads to less job satisfaction and ultimately BURN-OUT!. We are PROFESSIONALS and deserve the pay and respect that go with that title. Yes, in all other Prossional occupations there is SOME variation in pay rates (such as for Doctors, lawyers, teachers, electricians, etc), but no other profession has as large a gap from top to bottom of the pay scale as ours! We definetly need to work on elevating the pay scale for our profession, especially for those in the "middle". Yes, their will always be super-discount salons with rock bottom prices and service, but the rest of us do NOT need to COMPETE with them. Of course when you are first starting out you cannot demand top wages, but you should not settle for the lowest either....I personally think techs would be better off "working" for free (as part of their continuing education right out of school)in a high end salon for a few months, and then starting at a higher pay scale to begin with at the start of their career...so that they (nor clients) never have the memory of being a "cheap" nail service provider.

***** I know my previous statement, about working for free will get up some peoples ire....but consider how SHORT of a time we spend in school compared to say a TEACHER...we spend months in school and she/he spends 4 years....we spend about 2-3 thousand dollars on our education, a teacher spends upwards of 10 to 20 thousand or more...infact she/he pays the school for the semester they WORK as a teachet (student teaching)...so they not only don't get paid for these 6 months, they are still paying out for the priveledge of practicing to be a teacher....and in the end who makes more $ ? I know I make more than an average teachers salary, I make more than alot of teachers w/ advanced degrees (yet another 2-4 years of schooling on their part).

In fact, I and other techs I know make more than some Doctors and Lawyers! (Both professions which aslo work for free at some points in their education/careers...lawyers don't expect to get a good job without first having been an intern FOR FREE at some point). So my point here is that WE CAN ONLY GET OUT OF THIS INDUSTRY WHAT WE ARE WILLING TO PUT IN, and many techs complain about not feeling confident or educated enough....we must all go out and FIND educational opportunities, even if it means putting our careers off for a few months after graduation to "intern" somewhere and briong up our skill level and confidence...the money will NOT come right away...and super low prices are NOT the answer....

To get respect in this industry one needs to know that clients are coming to you FIRST for your QUALITY of work and not because of cheap prices. Quality should be the main reason they come, SECOND, would be VALUE (not the same as price), that they are paying a FAIR price for the QUALITY of services they are receiving! Do not be afraid to charge, and do not be afraid to raise your prices! Any clients lost were not coming for your quality anyway, and those few lost clients will be more than made up for in the added revenue (price increase) from the clients who stay! Then you can refill those "empty" spots with clients who truly respect you as a professional. Here's one interesting bit of reverse psychology....I once truly needed to reduce my working hours for the next 6 month period (to accomodate the birth of another child) by about 10 hours a week, which translated into 13-14 clients per week, or about 50 clients. I had a completely full book of clients I really liked overall, but I needed to cut my hours at the table from 40 to 30.....so I told clients the fairest way to do this would be through a price incresae...that that should weed out some clients temporarily, and then through referalls I would be able to once again grow back to my original workload by time the 6 mos period was up...I would NOT be re-lowering the prices again....

Now in the past years I generally had raised prices based on A) the cost of living PLUS B) a PAY RAISE for me based on my increased skill level...so these raises tended to be about 5 to 10% per year. Generally those raises were raises because I would lose very few people...so for thisincrease I knew I would have to be drastic in order to see an actual drop-off in clientele---so rather than $3.00 (about 10% of my then price of $28) I went for a 25% increase ($7.00---so now at $35!). I explained to clients that it was the only FAIR way to thin out my personal client load...that I couldn't just pick and choose who would have to go, and that it would also not be fair to leave things as a FREE FOR ALL by not having enough openings per week to meet the demand! Guess what....not ONE client left!

Reverse Psychology in action...so I took my huge raise, was able to afford an expensive nanny to help with the kids...was able to work whatever hours I wanted (clients became very obliging and less demanding!) and end of a happy story! So I say again. PUT IN YOUR TIME in the beginning of your career (even if it means working for free or for peanuts as an assistant in high class salon, because it will pay off! Just ask other professional Doctors, lawyers, electricians what they made as interns, jorneyman, apprentices...etc, not even enough to start paying back their school loans, and compared to what they make NOW!..... )!!!!!Because a HAPPY, self-assured, confident nail tech MAKES MORE MONEY and is ultimately HAPPIER IN HER CAREER AND LIFE in general! And the more happy, self-assured, non-burned-out, money-making nail techs we have, the more we get....it's CONTAGIOUS! Bye for now----barb@nailsplash.com!

Generally I charge for a new Full-set even if (especially if) they are wearing nails from another salon, because those nails usually have to be removed and replaced. If I am going to be able to GUARANTEE my work it needs to ALL be my work, from top to bottom.

In the very beginning a policy such as mine can be a real headache (there are complainers who see imaginary faults and have nothing better than to come into the shop daily for these repairs...so at that point you have to take a hardline "structural only" repairs, not aesthetic repairs, those "beauty" and "imaginary" repairs can be taken care of at the next scheduled appt>) But in the long term it pays off 1) It gives us all a chance to see where we may have any technical problems while there is still a problem to be fixed (and the whole nails not gone, leaving us nothing to analyze....even after years of experience there can be problems...either general that could affect all your clientele, or mostly case specific for each individual client....which is why client record cars are invaluable...I track all repairs, which finger, what the problem is, etc, what I did to rectify...

I have codes for all this that make it quick...and of course down the road there is no where near as much to write down anymore....after a while I can even tell them what color they wore "2 times before easter last year" w/out looking....Ok I'm exaggerating a little here now, but you get my point. And #2, it makes for a happier client who is satisfied and trusts me and #3 it leads to fewer and fewer repairs and service breakdowns down the road....which makes everyone happier!

Now for the legalese....yawn....you can skip the next part unless you plan on blantantly plagarising, copying or using my information publicly ....

Copyright Information:"All information and content contained within these pages (collectively known as nailsplash.com) is copyrighted (c) to Nail Splash, Inc.,1998,all rights reserved. Excepted: One printed copy per individual for private viewing/reading only. Any other uses would be in violation of United States Copyright Law." All other uses of any material contained within these pages must contact Nail Splash, Inc for express permission to duplicate, store, transfer to disc, or use the information in any type of public forum...such as a web page/site, educational handout, etc. If permission is asked first I will most likely allow the material to be used in a classroom setting, provided that the copyright information ((C)1998, Nail Splash, Inc)is printed on each page and users are directed to the web site@www.nailsplash.com also. nailsplash, Nailsplash, NAILSPLASH.COM, nailsplash.com, and other variations are Trade Marks (TM 1998) of Nail Splash, Inc., 1998. No likeness of this name can be lawfully used by others

NOW.... The NEWEST STUFF follows next

Fiber wrap fill procedure

1) Standard Prep: Wash hands, sanitize, remove polish, push back cuticles, etc......

2) Shorten nails; with tip cutter (my method, straight across square for now, shaping of nail comes later), by hand file, or drill. Nails should be maintained at a steady and consistent length. Clients should be encouraged to pick their ideal length and then stick with it. That requires that the nails be shortened the amount that they grew between fill appointments.

3) Preliminary shaping of nails: Put preliminary shape into nails so that the rebalance filing done in the next step reflects the proper shape. I use my drill to quickly go through the nails and "round" them for those clients who wear them rounded or squoval, or any shape not squared. If client wears nails squared, then skip this step!

4) Re-balance nail. File the entire top of the nail. Arches need to be moved BACK (even wraps can have arches put into them, through thicker resins or application of layers of wrap) so nail needs to be thinned and beveled at the free edge to accommodate the new arch -placement. Entire surface needs to be thinned (and shine removed for new product to adhere well), to keep nail from becoming too thick with application of additional product.

5) Blend cuticle area with a 120 or 180 grit file to bevel the cuticle area, and remove shine from the natural nail outgrowth. Also push back cuticles some more with the hand file to be sure all cuticle and contaminants are removed to ensure good adhesion.

6) Final shaping of nail: Using an 80 grit thin (non-foam cored) emery board I tailor and taper (as needed) the sidewalls and put the final shape into the free-edge. Hold client's hand facing you, vertically, to really see the shaping.

7) Dust nail thoroughly (I use a surgical scrub brush).

8) Sanitize the nail per manufacturers instructions with sanitizer, pH balancer, or 99% alcohol.

9) Apply 1 thin coat of resin. Activate (to "dry") or NOT depending on your brand.

10) Apply stress zone fiber strip or full coverage fiber as recommended.

11) Saturate the fiber with resin and activate (with brush-on or spray-on activator/dryer).

12) Add additional layers of fiber as needed and repeat the step above.

13) Add additional layers of resin as needed and activate as needed.

14) Do finish work as per your usual technique in any application: Check free-edge shape, contours of convex and concave shapes, placement of arches and apex, bevel cuticle, buff, etc..... wash-up, take payment, set next appointment, polish nails.... DONE!

15) This is EXTREMELY generic and general information to be used as a guideline only.... please check your manufacturer instructions for specifics!I used to run a lot of mailed coupons such as val-pak, etc.....

I am a little leery of this quick turn around time on this coupon company. I have never heard of only 2 weeks lead time before a mailed coupon pack goes out (6-8 weeks MINIMUM is what I have experienced! The ad has to be laid-out, proofed, printed, dried and cut, stuffed, then sent to the bulk-mailer to be addressed, then to the post-office where they can sit a while, then the individual postal routes at their ultimate destination where they can SIT awhile again!!!), so do some checking up on this company and this rep before investing any money! (FYI, usually it is 1/2 now, and 1/2 after the ad runs Generally about $250 to $600 per zone you mail to) Also get some type of written guarantee for the week of delivery (usually they give you a week or 2 weeks RANGE of when they will go out, since they are bulk mailings they are not an exact delivery date), so if you are going for Mother's Day's specials they could be outdated before they ever arrive.

So I would go with just GENERAL specials and info rather than a Mother's Day theme, just in case they go out late! (As in AFTER Mother's Day!) Think of your target audience as well.... men don't tend to read the coupon packs (ie, "junk mail") so they may not see the Mother's Day specials anyway! Pick the coupon co. you do biz with carefully, what image do they promote? Who are the other advertisers? What image do these other advertisers promote?

Advertising 101 (stuff I learned in college), and some do's and don'ts with couponing nail services ( what I have learned through my own experiences).... Potential new clients will not "trust" a business until at least their THIRD (3rd) exposure to it! (ie they have seen ads from you 3 times) So don't expect a lot out of your first ad impression. Advertising can continue to work up to 3 years later*! (so really THINK about your IMAGE in these ads!)

Unfortunately, it also takes some people 3 years to RESPOND at all. So don't think of advertising as a one shot deal, think of it as a long term program! Future ads will generate more response because of the aggregate effect of your past ads. (* People still comment about my "Barb's Back" promotion I ran w/ my picture when I returned from my last maternity leave. I was only gone 2 weeks, and I continued the ad for months after.... but NEW clients didn't know that!) Response rates on coupon advertising average between 1/2 of 1% or LESS to a high (and this is very high) of 2%. So a mailing of 10,000 pieces (that is the standard) can generate approx 50 to 200 calls for additional info. (Not necessarily appts, so how you handle your phones will be a #1 priority, see later sections here for more info!) Pictures in your ad will generate more interest in your ad. Customers respond to pictures! Keep it simple! Don't clutter the ad with a lot of text. Make the ad enticing enough to get the customer to want to call for more info! Make a "call to action", such as "CALL NOW!" Try to promote your services benefits more than the "price" specials. (Emphasize Quality!) Such as "highly trained and/or experienced and/or award winning Nail Techs" in some areas "English speaking" is a clincher!; "Highest sanitation procedures"; "Evening and Sat hours", etc, whatever makes your salon stand-out from others. Make the price special an added benefit, not the ONLY benefit. Give the ad or special an expiration date; No more than 90 days max from the time the ad goes out, preferably no more than 30 days!

This gives the ad urgency and another call to action. Make an attention grabbing headline! Otherwise they (the customer) won't READ the rest of the ad. Again, this is where a picture can be very helpful as it is attention grabbing. (The pictures of my staff in front of and on our electric sign out front where very popular) In coupons, use $$ off, not % off....The majority of ad readers won't do the math or comprehend the $$ savings! Make the $ off the "headline" in the coupon section of your ad.(Make the "coupon" section separate from the text section describing your services) Spell out the prices and the savings....Such as:

----$5 OFF!!!----
Deluxe, Pampering, Spa Manicure
Reg $20, $15 with this ad
Hurry! Expires June 1, 1999
Call Now For Appt and Details!

Don't run too many specials at once, it just clutters up the ad. You can always tell them about other offers or services on the phone or once they are in the salon! Your ONLY goal right now with an ad is to GET THEM IN THE DOOR! Once thay are there, it's up to you to keep them coming back. *Don't bother with a lot of disclaimers* beyond the exp date, they clutter up your ad and they don't read them anyway. (* such as "good with selected techs only", "only valid for new clients", "must mention ad/coupon/special when booking appt to recveive this price" etc.) You can try the standby "restictions may apply" but most new clients tend to take offense if they feel they are being tricked or manipulated (even when they're not) no matter how clear you try to make the restrictions. Your best bet, and least heartache in the longrun is to just offer the special to everyone! This way you can talk about the special over the phone with a new potential client, whether she has mentioned the special or not, and then book her appt with the techs you want to fill-up, and not the tech who doesn't need nor want to do any "sale" business!**

After the ad breaks, dealing with the response: Be prepared with a telephone script for everyone to use promoting the benefits of your salon and services, NOT just the price. You MUST SELL, SELL, SELL! Even if they are already ready to make an appt! You need to ensure that they KEEP the appt! Be sure to ask if they know where you are located. Even if they say yes, still clarify, with a statement like, "great, you're familiar with the intersection of 31st and Wolf, that you can't turn left off of 31st, and you know that our parking and entrance is in the back of the buliding?".... Always reclarify the clients name, service, and the day and time of the appt at least twice, preferably 3 times during the phone conversation. End with something like," Great Mary, we look forward to seeing you next Thursday, the 27th, at 12:15 pm, with Vanessa for a manicure, here at Nail Splash! Please feel free to call us if you have any questions or need to make any changes to your appt. There are a lot of no-shows and cancellations with ad response clientele. Remember, it was your ad that got them thinking about nails. It was NOT their own idea (ie, they did not look up nail salons in the phone book, those people are READY to buy NOW and have taken an active effort in looking for a nail salon).

Basically, your ad or coupon "fell" into their lap and they had an impulse buy type of feeling. The feeling may pass before the appt time comes! **BUT.... Be prepared to honor the price with all techs, at all times, when necessary. Be prepared for clients to call the day the special expires, to book an appt for 6 weeks after the coupon has expired, and still expect the coupon price! Also expect current clients to bring them in, new clients to keep bringing them in 3 mos after they expire, and photocopies of the coupon as well! Also, clients overhear each other talking and get offended if they don't have a coupon and are paying more... also the clients who bring coupons in AFTER they receive service and want a rebate. Coupons worked wonderfully for my salons name recognition and building up new techs FAST, just be ready for the headaches they bring as well! SOOOO,

A) Get coupon responders in ASAP (today or tomorrow!!!)

B) Be prepared to cover extra work hours (extra staffing personnel and hours!)while you have an add running to accommodate these impulse buyers!

C) Be extra sure to give reminder calls the day before for these new clients.

D) Be sure to have at least 12 hour a day phone coverage the first week a new ad breaks.

An answering machine just will not cut it! (Otherwise you are just wasting your $$$ on the ad.) Get mailing addresses of coupon responders*. For sure AT the appt... try during the phone call, say "can I get your address to add you to our mailing list for future special offers and promotions? (Mostly manicure/pedicures) *These names are a gold-mine for building your OWN mailing list for future specials when promoting a new tech or during anticipated slow times. We had a "stable" of about 100 clients who would only come in during price specials (they never learned to appreciate us at full-price, some just never will!), but we could count on them to come in for sure when we ran a sale, so we could just send out our own flyers to this specially targeted audience at a huge cost savings! Sometimes we would just CALL them to say we were running a sale for a new tech for a 1 month period... so they would immediately book NOW and for right before the special ended! One last thought: Not all coupon mailer companies are created equal! Think carefully about the ones that you personally have responded to in your own home! If you never open a certain coupon companies mailers, then will your clients? Hope all goes well for you...

P & W Fills
Honestly, it took me 2 years to perfect this procedure to the point that it took me the same amount of time as a "regular" fill, and another full year until it finally took LESS time (because of the "no polishing")than a "regular".I've been doing nails about 10+ some years now, and started doing P & W's on a regular basis 4 years ago.... before that I would give-up on them because of all the extra time it took.... but like any other procedure or skill in our industry, I found that in time and PRACTICE it finally came to me. Now I purposefully schedule my book so that my last appt before I leave is a P&W so that I can look forward to no polish drying time and so leaving the salon 10 minutes sooner!

Personally, I like the Atwood Industries backfill bit designed by Lisa Comfort (it cuts a really nice trench, IMO). Sorry, I don't have link for it, but I will look and post, ASAP!And YES, you do need to file off about 1/2 of the old white from the FE to re-cover with the new white (at the new smile-line and out over the FE), in order to get nice, even white colorant on your FE (free-edge).
What product line you use may or MAY NOT contribute to your speed and skill level, I don't have any personal reccomendations in that area that I feel are relevant, but I do have some othet tips that you may or may not already know, but here goes.....

Here are my over-simplified (or maybe not so over-simplified? Maybe the better description is "short version"....) P & W back-fill steps.
1) Regular prep... wash, saitize, remove polish, push back cuticles.....

2) Shorten nails (I use a tip slicer, others use a drill or by hand), whatever your usual and customary method.

3) Rebalance the nail. By hand-file or by drill, move back the arches, take down thickness at the FE (free-edge), remove about 1/2 the white there, allowing for more white application, so it doesn't get too thick! (Sometimes this CAN mean removing almost all of the old white, so a drill is most helpful!) Bevel the new FE.

4) Blend the cuticle and side-wall areas.

5) Trench the new smile line with the back-fill or FM (french manicure) bit of your choice. Trench from where the new smile line should be to where it used to be, maybe a bit more.

6) Re-examine nails for any other re-adjustments necessary, but don't drive yourself nuts!

7) Do all your usual pre-product application stuff.... dusting, pre-primers or dehydrants or pH balancers, primers, etc!

8) Apply your white FE. Let it set-up a bit if needed before moving on to the next step. (With acrylics this should be a very dry ratio to keep it strong and crisp.)

9) Now, continue with your normal fill..... apply product at cuticle area and then in middle of nail (or use 1 ball method if you prefer), and pull out over your new white FE.

10) Do your usual finishing work.... (which should be VERY minimal if you sculpted well to begin with). Blend culicle area gently, check side-walls and FE. Now contour top ONLY as needed, if at all! (Strive for no contouring to reduce lifting later, sculpt with your brush, not your file.) Buff and oily buff as per your usual procedures, then 3 or 4 way buff to a high-gloss shine!

11) Send the client to wash (yes, even if you're not polishing, removal of acrylic chemical residues is critical to help prevent long-term client sensitization!).... take your payment, book her next appointment, and NOW you're all done.Hope this has helped, let me know how it goes.... Remember the "100 Full-Set Rule" and practice, Practice, PRACTICE! Take Care, I have many, many clients who travel abroad all the time, or travel every week for a living,(along with myself and other educators who travel the country and the world) and I have NEVER heard that one yet!

If anything, my traveling clients do the best with their nails as they do less of the daily household stuff, like laundry (heavy wet clothes out of the washer, into the dryer. handling clothing is drying to the skin and nails, so now out of the dryer, folded into stacks and into drawers, ironing, etc!), grocery shopping (groceries into the cart, out of the cart onto the belt, out of the cart into the car, out of the car into the house!), dishwashing, child washing!, bed making, etc! Many of these same clients also skydive, scuba dive, ski, etc, etc, and no nails just popping off ever....

Clients will say just about anything they think you will believe! The longer you've been around, the more likely you are to have heard every story, so clients are less likely to even try them.
So while I don't doubt some type of "pressure" got to these clients nails.... I don't think it was air pressure... more likely TEETH pressure!----Barb I think the ideal width for a nail tech station is 18 to 20 inches... if you are tall then 22 may work, but 24 is way too wide (and that's the "standard" desk size, which is what makes our quest for a perfect table so difficult!). Small stations are made at 16, but that is just too close for my comfort!

Recently I found a computer desk (Busch brand at home depot or office max and several furniture stores like Wickes and Homemakers )that works well and has tons of stroarage. That slide out shelf where the keyboard would go is a great place to work from for acrylics, gels, primers, etc, to keep them out of the light and the dust!

I have also found that conferance tables work well. They are 18 inches wide and available in 5 ft and 8 ft lengths. They are the ones you see in a class or seminar where eveyone is facing forward, ie only seated on one side of the table facing the speaker. They are available from "serious" office supplies (have never seen them at Office Max, etc), usually special order, although I have found them in-stock as well, and under $100. But twice I was able to buy used for about $40 each (they rent them out alot it seems, and then are willing to part with them in time).

I just covered with contact paper to match my decor, and changed the paper as it got "yucky"... not as good as a laminated surface, but the tables are good for many other purposes afterwards when you find your "dream station", I'm STILL looking! (BTW, they are also easy to drill through to install ventilation)----Barb This is "repair season"!!! Really, honestly, truly!

Every spring I have to look back through my records to reassure myself that it's not me, that more repairs do just show up at certain times of year, and "spring cleaning"/Easter time*, is the major offender! Also, this is a slow time in a way for a lot of people.... they don't have a lot going on, so have the time to complain and obsess about their nails. Soon, people get really busy again (sports and other things start-up again, big projects start at work, etc). It's almost over, ("reapair" season, that is!) just hang in there.

Also, new clients* bore quickly of coming in all the time, well, most do eventually, anyway! And once clients are wearing there own nails under their enhancement overlay (ie no more extensions from tips or sculpted)breaks become less and less frequent. (*Think about the timing and how it realtes to the December Holiday season, and how many of these clients were new in DEC, and so now their nails are just about grown-out underneath the enhancement? Or clients who were so rushed for time at the holidays and so may have skipped or skimped on appts, or were late or asked to be squezzed in, forcing you to work under pressure and at a faster pace, and so maybe some things got a little bit "fluffed" over at fills, tiny, minor little things that take a while to show up structurally, things we let slide to be accomodationg to everyone. Just more food for thought.....)
Regarding guarantees: Here are some suggestions I have used......
************Remind Clients, (post a note or write a client newsletter even) that nails are guaranteed if they follow your professional recommendations for LENGTH, SHAPE, FREQUENCY of appts, and HOME CARE. *************** (this is the foundation to keeping my sanity with a guarantee program!!!!)

So if she is wearing tham too long, then tell her to maintain the guarantee they need to be shortened to the length YOU SAY.Explain that untill her nails "settle down" she will need to keep more frequent appts (I have put some people on WEEKLY in the past!). If she is obviously gardening without GLOVES, then she is not doing her part of home care and is voiding the guarantee! Those stipulations in the guarantee also give you lots of manuevering room to "punish" truly abusive clients (I know that sounds harsh, but some clients must be "trained" to become good clients!) For instance, clients who claim nails are popping off and only wear color.... I make them wear clear or frenches, with the reasoning that then they will be able to SEE the beginnings of a nail that is about to "pop-off" and call me BEFORE it does so I can SEE it and the "potential" problem (yes, I know we are delving in psychology here with this phantom "popping" nails syndrome, but we have all had clients who claim to get this otherwise unknown "disease"). Clients who prefer "round" nails I have made to wear square (because it's STRONGER) until their nails start behaving! These methods do work, and if related to the client in a knowledgeable and professional manner, with facts and reasoning.

All the while that all this is going on, I make a point of letting the client know that I am trying every means possible and keeping careful notes. (Trying diff primers, pre-primers, diff glues and tip brands, switching between forms and tips, etc. All while carefully logging which nails broke, how it's broken (chip, break, totally off?), and what measures I took to repair). A client worth keeping will see your ernestness and usually come around and behave. AND, As time goes on this "arms" you with info you need to eventually, CONFRONT an "abuser" when all else fails and "release" them as a client.

For chronic offenders, resort to reminding them that nails are repaired free, only ONE at a time. Multiples are charged $$$ each after one, meaning that they must come in separately for each. That they must come in when there is only one broke! They can't come in with 2 broken and ask you to fix just one today and one tomorrow! NO< if they ever come to you with 2 broken, that second one will be charges.... even if you don't fix it till the fill!
The purpose of the guarantee is to get them to really pay attention to their nails and respond immediately, thereby giving you the opportunity to see their wear and damage patterns and make adjustmets accordingly.

Finally, don't take it personally! Try and see all of this as an opportunity to really disect your work and make longterm improvements! If someone is really getting to you (making you doubt your self, chipping away at your self-esteem), then take control, get the upper-hand.... do not be at their beck and call, make them wait when they just show up or do anything else that makes you feel as if they don't respect you! I've always been a fan of clothes-pins.... the old fashioned typed wooden ones (no hinges, find them at dollar stores usually in bags of 50) are great for putting a form onto (sculpt right onto each of the wooden ends, holding the top as the finger)... and the new-fangled hinged type are great for simply holding (gripping) a tip to sculpt over... no glue, no muss, no fuss!---Barb! Sounds like those lines are brush strokes. And if so I think you are pressing into the acrylic too hard when you apply at the cuticle. You can do this with any brush. Remember you must have a light touch when applying acrylic and it should not be up agianst the cuticle. It should flow smooth near it. There is no law that says the acrylic has to be right up agianst the cuticle - that causes lifting anyway. When you apply pick up your ball of acrylic (medium to wet small ones near the cuticle) and drop it just below where you want it. WIPE THE VERY TIP OF YOUR BRUSH WITHOUT WIPING ALL THE LIQUID OUT OF IT. By doing this your product has flowed a bit and has set up some so it is not so sticky and easier to work. Then gently press it towards the cuticle (not too much you will have a dip) into place and wipe down the nail. The ideal goal is to do this before the product sets completely so it continues to flow a bit and continues to set so it is smooth. Sounds like your playing with it too much. It is all about your liquid to powder ratio and knowing your product. Practice on a piece of tin foil by making small squares and playing with them until they dry so you familiarize your self with the setting process. And don't get frustrated that your nails are not perfect before you get out of school, trust me none of ours were! Get some private training from a seasoned tech in your area to help you with your technique. It takes time.Good luck,

Vicki Peters If you must blend a tip for a natural look here are some tips to save from filing on the natural nail. 1. Dip the edge of the tip in acetone before applying it to melt it a speck to make the blending easier. 2. Use a tip blender after you glue it on. Wipe the tip blender on the area you want to blend, not the whole tip, let it set and use a very soft mylar file with a bit of pressure and roll the melted tip you are blending off - be sure to file sideways (from outside in on both sides) not up and down (from cuticle to tip) this way you don't need to file.
Using a 100 or 180 file is a but coarse.
Tip blending is a waste of time. Cut the well completely out with your tip clippers and reshape the smile line of the tip with a file. After filing finish the edge with a touch of acetone on your finger. Then place the tip right on the edge of the natural nail where you want the smile line and glue it on. You can use the smile line on the tip for a guide line when applying the pink and white. No need to blend anything, you already have a sharp smile line and the acrylic will stick to a shiney tip. This is a big time saver not having to blend. Make sure you have a good arch and stress area for strength. Hurray for you! Entering your 1st competition... putting yourself and your skills on the line, to be displayed and to be judged in a public forum.... of course you're nervous!
Most nail techs NEVER put themselves on the line like that! But relax... you are "risking" nothing... this is only a win-win situation! You just can't loose! Competition is a learning experience that just can not be duplicated in any classroom, or by any number of years experience!
The things you will learn about yourself that day... your technical skills, your orginizational skills, who you are as a nail tech AND as a person in general.... Competing will bring on a whole new evolution of YOU.
Be prepared... for about 1/2 who compete this is their one and only competition.... but for the other 1/2 of us (and I'd be willing to bet that includes you!) competition becomes a passion! Those who compete regularly do so not just in hopes of winning .... but because of the tremendous educational value! Each competition is like 10 or 20 classes crammed into one day!
If you can, seek out the judges to help you critique your work after the comp. This will help you to train your eye to see flaws you may not have noticed. Even though "competition" nails are not the same as "salon" nails, the concepts of what to look for in perfection are similar: "C" curve, slightly more than a salon nail (Pinch those forms!). Concave and convex: Equal and Thin, thin, THIN! Apex and arch: consistency of course, but slightly closer to the cuticle and elongated compared to a salon nail. Length: Consistent of course, but longer than a salon nail, but suited to the hand. Shape: any shape suited to the hand, but keep in mind that it should have dramatic, first impression, WOW appeal.
One last thought.... Photograph some of your practice sets to see how they look..... The image I keep in my mind as a judge when looking at the competitors nails is : "How will these nails photograph?" Winning nails are always photographed after the comps. As a judge I want others who see those photos to think.... "WOW!"
I don't want to put my "name" (as a judge) on winning nails (whose photos will be seen around the globe) on anything less than "fantastic" photographically.
Good luck, but more importantly; have fun and LEARN! (about your nails and about yourself perhaps!)
(FYI... long before I entered the nail arena I was an AAU long-distance runner (still run to this day!).... so I was extremely familiar with "competition" and all it's emotional riggors.... Competing in nails the first few times totally blew me away though! For one, I was not prepared to loose (I performed terribly, don't even ask!), but I was really not prepared for the education I would recieve about "me" as a nail tech and "me" as, well.... just ME!)
Good luck, and more importantly have fun!
barb@nailsplash It sound like she may not have completely understood how expensive an employee is. On an average it takes an employer 18 months to see ANY profit from an employee. The first 6 months the employer takes a loss. The next 6 months the employer breaks even (just even, no profit!). The 3rd 6 months the owner makes up for the losses they took on the employee in the first 6 months. At month 19 of employment the employer will see their first tiny bit of profit.... if the employee is still around that is!

Given this knowledge you have 2 choices:
1) Look elsewhere for employment in a salon that understands the true biz scenario (that's why so few salons even offer a gauranteed salary) or

2)Try and make things work-out here if you think it's worth it. Look at her side of the equation and see what you can do to make it worth her $$$ to keep you on as a salaried employee.? nailsplash.com.

When a nail has a greenie as I call it it is becasue the overlay has lifted and bacretia, not mold has gotten in there because there is a warm dark place for it to grow. Proper cleansing and removeing the overlay and leaving it exosed to the air will kill it. If the greenie has been there a while I would not cover it agian and would leave the acrylic nail off inbetween fills, uncovered, before I would re-overlay the nail. However if this is a regular client and the greenie was not there last time you saw her for her fill (2 weeks approximately) I would feel comfortable replacing the acrylic.

I always respect whatever works for anyone else, it's all about choice. My point is that NOT ALL the acrylic is old when you do a soak off and new full-set... some is only 2 weeks old, some only 4 weeks old... so why not just remove the "old" acrylic at the ends/tips of the nails as part of preventaive maintenance at all fills on a regular basis, (if that is what you need to do due to your acrylic brand... but I used to use NSI and I never had that problem with it yellowing...?---I also competed with it (and won) several/many years back---in the days before EZF (that's what I would use if I competed now, but now I judge).....
Acrylic also yellows if the tech works it too wet , and it gets brittle if the tech works it too dry... (a fine line to walk I know)). I worry that soak-offs and re-do's send the wrong message to clients, that our service is temporary... and that as long as their nails are off anyway, why just not leave them off for a bit... and maybe or maybe-not return to nails later.
I prefer my clients to see a removal as a major trauma, life changing incident, to be avoided at all costs, and not a "routine" part of nail wearing... put 'em on, take 'em off.... put 'em on, take em off... now maybe leave them off! My concern is only for our industry's reputation and level of respect as a whole.
If individual techs do it that way, that is fine with me... I just don't think that they should "advertise" it as if it's a "natural" part of wearing enhancements, because it sends the wrong message and de-values our service and our industry (my opinion).... It just does not need to be done that way!
Our clients don't give their hair a rest from coloring, or their faces a rest from make-up do they? They don't suddenly decide to shun fashion or give-up jewelry? Our job as nail techs is to promote our service as a life-long enhancement, not as "fake". And as such it is our job to educate clientele and ensure through our methods that they can wear them (nails enhancements) FOREVER without any necessary reason to take time off. In all my years of doing nails and having some clients with me for over 10 years, I have NEVER removed nails for the sole purpose of "resting" the nails, it's just not necessary! Nor have I ever removed nails and applied a new-set because it was "time", there is no such timetable. If fills are done properly all along then a new full-set is just not EVER needed*. Change your philosophy to ENHANCEMENT services instead of "artificial" services. * just a note here... now of course we have all had times where something has just gone terribly WRONG (especially in the 1st few years of our working as nail techs) and experienced total service-breakdown. Then removing all or most of the product and starting over IS warranted. But not on a regular schedule or timetable. This is as needed and not on every client, and usually not ever again on the same client! So if the nails are wearing well then there is no need to remove them, ever! If they are not wearing well (or looking good all the time) then it is time for the tech to get some more education and re-analyze her application, or time for the client to get a new tech! If that is the way you CHOOSE to do it that is your perogative (put a new full-set on every 8 fills). But there are other (and better) ways to do it! SEE ******* below.
But newer techs need to know that it does NOT have to be that way. Acrylics don't have to yellow or become brittle. It IS possible with experience to apply product so that it won't yellow or become brittle EVER.
I worry about the "message" it send to clients longterm; that our service is a temporary one and that their nails are "fake". Rather than the preferred message, that their nails are a permanent enhancement.
What would we think if our hair stylist insisted on stripping all the color out of our hair to "start" over every 3 to 6 months. Or if our esthitician sold us one collection of make-up one month, and the next said that it is ALL wrong and we should throw it all out and start over. We'd fire her!
There are methods of "replacing" acrylic(if needed) that don't require a complete "start-over". I believe it only does a dis-service to the professionalism of our industry.
****** If a tech truly believes that acrylic gets "old" and wants to replace it then ONLY replace that "old" acrylic at the end of the nails as you go along at each fill, not all at once in a new full-set.*******
FYI..... 1/3 of my clients wear pink and whites, and 2/3 go 3 or 4 weeks between fills with no breaks. I NEVER replace the product. None of my clients (some 8-10 yrs running) has yellowing or breakage problems. BTW..... My fills take me 30 to 45 minutes, I have a full-book with a long waiting list, and I charge $40 and up for fills. (And yes, there are $12 discount salons on every corner here as well!)

In Reply to: Re: Nicking cuticles posted by NailDzyner (Susie ) on March 06, 1999 at 23:20:42:
Besides swithcing to a softer file (higher grit) and the zebra type like Susie suggests... you could also try a boomerang style for filing around the cuticles. And slow down and concentrate a little more too! Last thought, leave your acrylic a little bit further away from the cuticle (and thinner too!) so that you don't have to file so much by the cuticle to begin with!
Happy filing! :-) barb@nailsplash FYI Tammy Taylors book has some good tips on filing (her website is at tammytaylor.com, and I have a link to it from my site nailsplash.com as well)

Yes, you do shorten first BEFORE filling the nail. Your goal with a fill is not just to "fill" the cuticle area but to rebalance the entire nasil as well. The arches (stress zone, apex, etc) will have all grown/moved forward since the last fill. So once you have shortened the nail (by hand file, drill, or one-tip slicer depending on your product and your skill level), you now need to REBALANCE the nail. This involves thinning the free edge to move the arch BACK, reshaping and beveling, etc. You want to do EVERYTHING you can before product application to help ensure that you need to do as little filing as possible AFTER product app during a fill. Excessive filing after product app can lead to lifting. All shaping, etc, should be done before the fill in your fill prep steps. The only filing you should do AFTER product app is to buff out your new product application. Take care, barb@nailsplash

Yes, the full spectrum bulbs are wonderfl, priceybut worth it. Duro and other companies still mae the Vita lights (ad oher brand names) all the way up to the 4 ft overheadfixture size. You can find them in pet stores and gardening stores (they mimic REAL sunlight rays (sans any tanning properties as far as I can tell!) and are mostly used for caged animals (like reptiles) and for growing plants indoors! I have 16 of them in my salon overheads. They last forever so don't need to be changed as frequently, also no humming or flickering or glare! (True colors! with no hadaches from fluorescents) For better prices try some of the pet supply wharehouses mail order catalogs!
Trial kits offer a wonderful opportunity for you to experiment and expand your education. TRY THEM ALL!!! Or as many as you can, while you still have time. Once you have a full-book your opportunities to experiment become limited. So enjoy and learn as much as you can now!
So NO, I am not going to tell you which ones I like/prefer, because almost ALL professional products are good! It's mostly a matter of personal preference and experimentation! Have fun, and wishing you well on your new career! barb@nailsplash.com
In Reply to: White airbrush paint cracking when top coat is applied ???? posted by NailDzyner (Susie) on January 30, 1999 at 13:18:30:
Most likely you are applying the paint too thick, and that is why it is cracking when you apply the top coat over it. The paint should be dry almost immediately to the touch (dulled) after you apply it. If you have to wait at all for it to dry then it is too thick. Try doing lighter, thinner coats rather than 1 "thick" coat to achieve the opaqueness (non-see-through-ness) of the white you desire. Maybe you are holding the airbrush too close to the nail. Maybe you are delivering too much paint flow in each pass to the nail. If that does not work then consider trying differant brands of paint to see if that resolves your problem.