The nail industry is a highly competitive one, made more so by salons opening next door to one another and the increasing number of mobile technicians serving both urban and rural areas. In this busy industry all types of nail professionals from salon owners to mobile technicians have their own concerns. In the recent nail survey conducted by Professional Beauty, respondents were asked what their main concerns were.
A staggering 81 per cent said industry standards were their biggest concern, with one respondent commenting, “The lack of trained nail technicians working in the industry and the damage they do to clients has tarnished the reputation of the whole industry.”
Another respondent remarked, “There should be stricter guidelines for technicians; it's not where you work, it's how you work. You have to love what you are doing and generally have a flare for what you do.”
It seems many nail technicians feel the industry has lost touch with best practice, spurred by the fact it is unregulated with unqualified and untrained technicians able to open and work in salons. Hygiene and safety standards are not being met by many salons: “I find the standard of work and hygiene principals has slipped within the industry which has a negative effect on all businesses,” said one respondent.
“Hygiene standards need to be enforced. I have had too many ladies come into my salon with infections they were not aware of from cheap nail bars… I try my best to explain to the client why I am more expensive: hygiene and training,” added another.
In fact, it couldn't go unmentioned that a considerable number of participants commented on the increasing number of express nail bars, which have been nicknamed McNails claiming they often don’t meet the standards of traditional Australian salons and undercut their prices.
Indeed, the second biggest concern was price cutting (46 per cent) closely followed by training (42 per cent) with staff being a concern for just 11 per cent of those surveyed.
Tayla Bergmann, marketing and operations manager for Bio Sculpture, said of industry standards: “The safety aspect of the industry is questionable as the end user is not too discerning about the treatments she receives and specifically the preparation of the nails before the actual treatment is applied. This unfortunately allows for poor workmanship to be accepted rather than questioned and rejected. This is not the case in many European countries, and especially not so in Japan where the consumer is pedantic and well informed about the nail products and standards available to consumers. In these countries, the professional nail technicians are therefore under the spotlight to perform to extremely high standards. Australia has virtually every known nail care brand available for sale and most are sold without any training and education by their distributors.”
Another point raised in the survey was that with the use of MMA rather than EMA in many cheap nail bars, the client doesn’t know the difference. “I do not understand how certain salons can openly use MMA and untrained staff. Where is the health department? All salons, including ours should be tested at least once a year,” commented one respondent.
On training and education one participant said, “More short courses should be available to industry professionals just to freshen up their technique and to learn more about new products on the market. More awareness needs to be raised about the cheap salons using MMA and the dangers of it.”
Nail salons compete for customers in a number of ways, by providing additional beauty services, offering discounts or incentives or simply targeting and appealing to a niche market in order to ensure return custom. However, as the market gets increasingly saturated it is becoming harder to compete and differentiate their salon or service.