Nailing the Business

Deb Blowars takes nails seriously, and for good reason. The nail artist and skincare specialist with Artistic Trends Salon in Perkasie, PA, knows firsthand that nail services can be a financial boon to salons. Each week she sees an average of 25-30 clients, and last year her nail income to the salon was a whopping $42,000. While Blowars admits that some salon owners don't take nails seriously—a former employer once told her it was impossible to make a living from nails alone—many others realize that nails can be just as profitable as hair. Here, she shares the secrets to her success.


"I built my nail business by going above and beyond," Blowars says. "I stay late and come in early. I give clients what they want and then some." To keep customers coming back, she does everything from offering customized nail art and polishes to rebooking appointments to using top-of-the-line sanitation products. Plus, as an educator for Backscratchers Salon Systems, Blowars stays abreast of current trends and innovations and passes that information on to her clients.


Blowars knows that if her hands and feet are in tip-top shape, customers will be more likely to entrust their nail care to her. She earns her client's trust—and keeps her fingers and toes looking great—by adhering to her own at-home regimen and doing nail services on herself. "Sell yourself," she says, "not someone down the road."


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"If you are struggling to get clients to purchase at-home products, look at the reasons why," Blowars advises. "Do you wait until the end of the service to tell them what they need? Do you tell them at all?" To boost product sales, she recommends creating brochures for each service that detail which at-home product to use and why; writing the names of recommended products on the back of your business card for clients to reference; and filling free time slots with such services as add-on nail art, paraffin hand treatments or age-reducing treatments. "Just because clients are only in for a manicure doesn't mean they're not looking for more," she says.


Taking care of customers is essential to building a successful business, so Blowars makes detailed notes on her clients—how they like their nails shaped, which colors they select, what they prefer to drink—and remembers that for their next appointment. When clients refer nail business to the salon, she rewards them with discounts on products. "If a salon is serious about its nail business," Blowars says, "it is often because it sees the importance of building longer-lasting relationships with its clients." —B.G.