Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Supply Shopping

Visalia does not have a professional nail supply store.

I'm sure there are a few stores in town that sell nail supplies that would get their feathers all in a ruffle
if they heard me say that.

But trust me-- I've been doing nails professionally for TWENTY-THREE years-- we got squat here.

Back in the day we had Mel's on Main Street. That was the go-to source for pro supplies when I started out. Then I discovered that their #1 selling and recommended acrylic liquid product claimed a proud >89% Methyl Methacrylate Monomer on its MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) and I promptly had a long conversation with Walt Applegate and his cronies that resulted in a boycott of the store that outlasted the store itself.

Good riddance.

I don't need to be giving my money to so-called "professional" supply houses that knowingly and willfully endanger my health and my license by selling products that they know are in clear violation of the California Professional Codes.

For a long time, that left me with Sally's or a trip out of town.

In case you have never noticed, Sally's Beauty Supply is not a genuine professional supply store.

Oh sure-- they have professional only discounts and some professional only products. As in, seriously, their policies do not allow them to sell those products to anyone who does not present the pink card. But most people will tell you that there are plenty of Sally's stores and/or employees who don't put a lot of stock in policies.

Sally's is also very supportive of the professional industry. I don't hold a grudge against Sally's, and they are very useful for picking up a few things here and there. But they aren't adequate for meeting the supply needs of a professional nail technician (or hair stylist, fwiw.)

For years, I relied on mail order to get the products I needed into the salon where I worked. Mostly Nailco (I think they're just "Industry Source" now?) because they put out this beautiful full color catalog every year with slick, shiny pages; they sold most of the stuff I used and/or needed; and they always put a Tootsie Pop in with my orders. They were the bomb.

Then Visalia got a West Coast Beauty Supply.

I was thrilled to the core of my wee little heart.

West Coast was professional only. (cue appreciative "ooooooooh" noise.) You had to have a professional license to shop there.

Well... welcome to the red-headed step child side of the professional industry. Walking through the doors of the place landed you under the icy glare of the pit bull behind the counter who immediately squawked "This store is for professionals only" in an accusatory tone before the little bell that signaled someone had walked in had stopped ringing.

She had a way of making you feel real welcome.

I watched a lot of other professionals walk through that door. Pitbull chick did a better job of relaxing when someone said they were a hair stylist.

Me? I would assure her that I was an actual licensed professional in the state of California and she would give me the once over and a raised eyebrow as if she didn't believe me. Then I'd ask about nail products and-- especially the first few visits-- I was sure she was fighting the urge to say, "I thought you said you were a professional" in a scoffing tone.

So once I fought my way past the door bully, I would find myself standing in front of the 15 square feet of space dedicated to nail products. The space consisted primarily of CND and OPI products-- some polish, some acrylic powder and liquid, and some fancy, over priced files.


I need disposable files and buffers-- because California got all uppity about disinfectables about 7 years into my career and insisted they are single use items. I'm not going to spend $1.50 per file for something that gets tossed after each service.

And I don't (and pretty much haven't ever) use CND or OPI acrylic. Even if I did-- they didn't carry the complete lines.

Also-- where's the gel?



What do you mean, you've never heard of....????

Then West Coast became Cosmoprof.

Cosmoprof has been friendlier... but less useful. Not only did the nail department not expand, but every single *&@!ing time I go to the store, they have boxes and boxes and boxes of newly shipped supplies stacked in front of the nail supply shelf that serve to completely and most effectively prevent me from shopping for nail supplies at all.

I gave up. Haven't stepped foot in Cosmoprof in 3 years now.

Maly's-now-Saloncentric? Much friendlier. Not any more helpful.

Thank heavens for the Internet! And a couple of small shops in the Fresno/Clovis area for when I'm looking to go on an expedition or just waited too long for UPS.

Meanwhile-- people keep looking at me suspiciously and telling me I don't "need" to go to Fresno for my products. Or mail order them.

"Why don't you just go to Sally's?" they ask.

"Well then, what about that place over by Long John Silvers?" they counter.

What part of I AM RUNNING A PROFESSIONAL SALON HERE is so difficult to comprehend?

  1. I use primarily Tammy Taylor acrylic. Yes-- one of the places I shop in Fresno does carry it. No. Although I'm quite fond of the people at A&M Beauty, I am not at all convinced that they keep their back warehouse adequately air conditioned and move product at a fast enough rate that I can comfortably rely on the quality of the  product.
    1. I purchase my Tammy Taylor supplies directly from the company in southern CA via a very sweet sales rep who hears from me once every 12-18 months. Because I buy my product in bulk in order to get the best price and because I don't love paying shipping on multiple orders.
  2. I buy my consumable items such as files/buffers/sanding bands for the drill from a very sweet little supply house that only exists on the Internet. 
  3. I get most of my gel polishes from A&M in Fresno, and/or various trade shows-- because, "oooh! Shiny!" 
At this very moment in time I am frustratedly banging out this blog post because I can't seem to find a supply source for both Hand and Nail Harmony acrylic sculpting forms AND Marvicide disinfectant.

Shipping rates are astronomical. Partly because they have to be and partly because there are a lot of companies (not just beauty related) that screw you on shipping.

California actually allows companies to charge sales tax on top of shipping charges! WTF? California does not charge sales tax on services--shipping is a service-- sales tax should be calculated PRE-shipping.

You think California's going to tell people to give them less money?

Here's a thought-- where does that money end up? When all is said and done at the end of the quarter, do companies that collect tax on shipping really turn that in to the state? I bet they don't.

Because I have a CA resale permit. I fill out that paperwork every year. They don't ask how much I collected in taxes. They don't ask what I collected taxes on specifically. They ask what my gross retail sales were that are subject to sales tax.


So I can't help but suspect that all these companies that are charging me tax on top of shipping are pocketing the extra few pence because-- hey!-- shipping is a service that is not, technically, subject to sales tax.

Another problem is HAZMAT fees on shipping. A  lot of my products can't be shipped by air. So they have to take a slow truck/train/boat to get to me. And since a lot of my products are flammable/combustible/subject to spontaneous polymerization-- there are additional handling fees associated with shipping them.

In their sweet, thoughtful hearts, a lot of companies try to make shipping charges simple. So I end up paying shipping based on the price of my order. Sometimes this comes out in my favor (500 files are heavy) sometimes not.

The forms that I want. Really want. Because I really like them. Cost $13 for a roll. BTW-- that's kinda pricey for forms. It's not even a 500 count roll. Ouch. But they are so nice to work with. (And that's why I don't do $20 sets of nails.) But these forms are the ONLY thing I need or want from any of the sources that carry them.

I don't want to pay $15-20 shipping on a 2 or 3 rolls of little stickers. That's insane.

People think I'm crazy for making the 45 mile one-way trip to Fresno for supplies. I've done the math. My little car gets ~33 miles to the gallon. Even with gas at <$4/gallon, it can cost me less to drive to Fresno for supplies than it does for me to pay shipping to order what I need from 3 different sources.

Guess who gets to go to Fresno this weekend?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Join the Waiting List!

The Art of Nailz is currently unable to accept new clients. 

Sorry folks-- I'm just too busy with the ones I already have!

If you would like to join the waiting list, send me an email at and make sure to include the following:

  1. First Name
  2. Last Name
  3. email address
  4. phone number (preferably where you can receive text messages)
  5. the services you want
  6. days and times when you are available.

As of now, I am booked approximately 6 months in advance, but I will be sending out emails as openings become available.

Online scheduling is currently available ONLY to CURRENT clients as of May 1, 2015. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Recruiting New Talent

That's a fancy way of saying that the Art of Nailz will be hiring soon:

Kristen will be moving out of state soon, leaving an opening for another nail tech to start work around the end of summer.

  • A valid California manicuring or cosmetology license is required. 
  • Some salon experience would be good. 
  • If you don't currently have any clientele, you'll need to be ready and willing to do your part to get them. 

What any nail tech who works with Maggie will need to do:

Pink and Whites -- on nails and toes
Rockstar -- on nails and toes
Nail art
Acrylic-- overlays and extensions 
Hard gel -- overlays and extensions
gel polish
Pedicures -- waterless

And you need to be able to sculpt extensions ON FORMS.

Safe, Clean work habits  are non-negotiable practices and must be followed: 
NO MMA, Proper disinfection, files/buffers/sanding bands are single use items and must be discarded after use.

  • Qualifying nail artists will be expected to adhere to, and be willing to enforce, all salon policies.
  • The salon serves an eclectic clientele-- you need to be able to adapt to different personalities, and not be easily offended.
  • You must be reliable and punctual. 
  • You really need to be enthusiastic about a career as a nail artist; eager to learn and grow as a professional and motivated to contribute to your own success.
  • Worker classification and compensation plan is negotiable.

I am beginning the process of expanding the salon and am looking to build a team of like-minded professionals to grow the salon and establish the Art of Nailz as Visalia's premier destination for professional nail services.

(I'd also love to find someone who wants to do nothing but toe services: pedicures, rockstar toes, etc.)

If you think you're interested in working at the Art of Nailz with the world-famous, award-winning, controversial-and-slightly-eccentric professional nail artist Maggie Franklin-- shoot me an email at

Please be patient, as August/September is vacation season for me; it might take a few days for me to respond.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Training in Progress-- Help Us Out!

 It often comes as a terrible shock to the general public-- but Beauty School ALMOST NEVER actually teaches us to do any of the techniques and services that we will perform on a daily basis as Salon Professionals.

It's a total crock, and I have vehement, out-spoken, and (surprise, surprise) controversial opinions on the state of cosmetology programs and state licensing programs.

Never the less-- in order to legally work in a salon and charge for services, one must successfully complete a program in beauty school and then pass both a written and practical State Board examination in order to obtain a State issued license.

All this means for us-- you, the Client and me, the Salon Owner-- is that newly licensed professionals are often underskilled:

A newly licensed professional usually takes considerably longer to perform services-- partly because they are trying very hard.

Partly because they lack the muscle memory built from repetitious movements from hundreds of services.

Partly because they are still trying to remember each step along the way, are still creating their routine, and are still very nervous about making sure their client is satisfied.

Here at the Art of Nailz, we have been expanding our staff  and we have been working very hard to develop a training program for our new techs that will help build their skills, confidence, and speed.

What we need now are a few models with open schedules who are able to come in and sit for practice services as the next step in that training program.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Maggie via email at and let me know what your availability is, as well as what type of services you are willing to participate in: for example-- acrylic, gel, natural nails only, pedicures, rockstar toes, etc.

Remember-- this is part of a training program and all services will be performed by trainees.*

*Trainees are licensed, professional nail technicians and/or cosmetologists.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Some Overdue Photos

We're way overdue for showing off some of what we've been up to!
Don't forget, you can book your appointment online from the "schedule" now button in the righthand sidebar.

Nautical theme on coffin shape by Sheshe

Pearls and roses on nude by Maggie

Paisley on teal by Sheshe

Mixing it up with stripes and rockstar over pink by Maggie

A little hand painted accent with glitter and peach by Maggie

"Don't Bosa Nova Me Around" with some polka dots and glitter by Sheshe

"For Audrey" by China Glaze with a little glitter by Maggie

Colorful mylar with Fleur De Lis by Maggie

Rockstar with Rhinestones by Sheshe

Color acrylic with handpainted detail work and rhinestones by Maggie

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Welcoming a New Nail Tech!

The Art of Nailz is excited to announce that our staff is expanding!

This April, Kristen "Sheshe" Alford joins the Art of Nailz as a junior nail tech.

She's recently licensed and is still developing her skills-- she needs opportunity to practice on living people. So keep our Facebook page watched for specials that we'll be offering over the next few months.

Kristen is already very good at turning out beautiful nails. Now it's just a matter of getting enough practice to build speed, perfect the art of sculpting on forms, and develop confidence.

Appointments can be booked online through the "schedule now" feature at the top of the site.

Please follow the salon on Instagram @artofnailz and Kristen @sheshe_nails and "like" the Facebook page to stay up to date with our work and watch Kristen grow!

Sheshe concentrating on sculpting an acrylic nail.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gel Nails or Gel Polish?

Been getting lots of calls for "gel nails" lately and it turns out-- a lot of people don't know the difference between "gel nails" and "gel polish."

So I put together a little photo demo that will hopefully help clear this up so you'll know what to ask for when you call a salon:

This is Gel. A lot of salons call it "hard gel" now.
Most hard gels come in little pots, sometimes you see it in a bottle that can be squeezed out onto the nail.

The gel is like thick honey-- some are thinner, some are thicker.
This is being sculpted on a form. It can also be brushed over tips, or overlaid on natural nails.
It has to be built up in layers and every layer has to be cured under a UV lamp:

Most gels take about 2 minutes under a traditional UV light.
Some can take a little less time, some can take a little longer.
LED lamps are getting very popular-- they cure much faster, but not all gels will work with LED.
LED is the type of lightbulb, not the type of light. LED lamps still emit UVA light.

There: much better. Filed and shaped.

A finished gel nail with top coat gel applied. I didn't get all the dust out from underneath or it would look much clearer-- but this was just a quick demonstration nail, I wasn't trying to impress anyone with my mad skillz.

This is GEL POLISH: "Suzi Says Feng Shui" in OPI Gelcolor.
It gets applied like polish, then cured under the UV lamp after each coat.

Two coats of color, plus base and top coat. Just like regular polish.
GEL POLISH is popular because the UV curing process means it's COMPLETELY DRY at the end. No waiting for polish to dry, no worryiing about messing it up.
GEL POLISH also has superior adhesion properties, so it lasts on natural nails-- usually about 2 weeks.

GEL POLISH on natural nails
with pure pigment brushed on tips.

GEL POLISH on natural nails with hand painted art work.

A "Rockstar Gel Overlay"
Using Hard Gel to strength the natural nails, with glitter embedded in the gel.

A little of everything:
The Red is gel polish over acrylic nails,
the glitter is Rockstar in the acrylic.