Welcome to the Precision Nails Blog

As a salon owner and licensed manicurist, my perspective on the nail industry could not be more practical. While some may be offended by the opinions expressed, please understand that I want to share information and stimulate discussion. Whether you want your nails done or do nails professionally, I hope you find this blog both useful and interesting.

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Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bridal Beware!: Special Clients Expect Special Treatment

Article Published in Stylist Magazine, May 2010

The decision to cater to special occasion clients deserves careful consideration. That’s because clients who believe they are “special” expect special treatment, treatment that is somehow different/better/less expensive than what you provide your many satisfied clients on a regular basis. Of course, it’s not every day that someone gets married, and what bride or groom doesn’t want to look their best on their big day? But that being said, it’s our job as beauty professionals to do our best work for all of our clients every day. Our ability to make our “regular” clients look attractive and feel special keeps them coming back. And when they do, they trust us to provide a quality service every time. Even the most basic service could, and should, be the highlight of your client’s day, if not their week or month. One of the best compliments you can receive is when a regular client considers the time spent with you a special occasion.

Our exclusive nails-only salon happens to be located in Carmel, Calif. a very popular wedding destination. There’s no particular wedding season here as venues such as the Carmel Mission and the Lodge at Pebble Beach fill quickly. In preparation for their big day, most brides will contact local salons to make hair and make-up appointments months in advance, and even go so far as to schedule “practice runs.”

You’d think that a bride would also arrange to have her nails done, considering her hands will be featured in a close-up photograph and that nearly every guest will likely hold her hand at some point during the reception to admire the ring. But in our experience, and for whatever reasons, many brides do not plan far enough in advance to have their nails done. We understand that nails may not be a priority, but it never fails to amaze me when a bride calls our salon 3 days before the wedding expecting to have “nails and toes and stuff” done for her bridal party of 12. Simultaneously. Really? Even if we could clear our schedule (not that we ever would for someone we’ve never met), we don’t have the space or staffing. It’s presumptuous, if not insulting, to assume that a manicurist’s schedule would be that available or flexible.

And then there’s the assumption that we offer discount pricing or a group rate. Don’t misunderstand; we’re not offended by the question, but brides certainly should not expect or demand anything more than what’s advertised. At our salon, they’re not going to get it. If we’re going to reward anyone, it would be our loyal, regular clients, not new ones. If that sounds harsh, it’s not meant to be; it’s just the reality of the bridal business. While the wedding itself may be an emotional/spiritual/once-in-a-lifetime event for family and friends, it’s all business for the “hired help” (the caterer, the photographer, the florist, etc.). But we’re not even in the bridal business, we’re in the beauty business and compensated well to make our clients look beautiful every day.

So while some salons advertise specifically to attract bridal parties, we tend to avoid them. When we do accept a bride as a new client, all of our salon policies apply. New clients prepay the entire cost of their first appointment, avoiding any unpleasantness (i.e lost income) that might otherwise arise from a no-show, late cancellation or other change of plans. Through our website and brochure, we make very clear what our services include, how much they cost and how much time should be allowed. We also strive to minimize any disruptions during services by discouraging clients from bringing guests, children and/or pets, or talking on their cell phones. Every client deserves our full attention and their salon experience should not be compromised by any other clients in the salon.

We’ve learned that it’s in our best interest to never provide service to brides on their big day, or even the day before. There’s too much going on and they’re so easily delayed, distracted and disorganized. Instead, we recommend an appointment two days prior for natural nail services; for enhancements, we recommend an initial application appointment two weeks prior with a maintenance two days prior to the wedding.

It’s much easier to meet the nail-care needs of the men in the bridal party. The men tend to be more relaxed about the whole ordeal wedding, and they certainly won’t obsess about what shade of polish will perfectly complement their cummerbunds, or the  flowers in their boutonnieres. They’re happy to be pampered, as are all of our clients, regardless of the occasion.

A special thanks to my regular clients without whom I would not have a successful business.

By Jaime Schrabeck, Ph.D.

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