Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Don't Go Breaking My Heart

HRTE Networking event, San Jose CA 2009
One of the things that made me realize that doing nails would be my career-- not just a "fun" job on the way to something else-- was the realization of the Industry behind the salon. The vastness of what the beauty industry is made up of is truly enlightening; the science, the chemistry, the education, the trade shows, the competitions, the dedication to the craft and the pursuit of perfection-- the realization that doing nails could be so much more than just doing nails. That I could dedicate myself to being a top-notch professional; an artist and an engineer. That it's possible to take doing nails seriously and bring it to a whole new level over what most people will ever see of what it means to be a nail-lady.

So many people are starting to get to see some of the "Big Picture" that makes up other industries; hair and makeup, fashion, interior design, culinary arts, and restauranteuring for example, through reality TV. I am especially fond of the competitive shows that go a long way toward showing the public just how involved some of these professions are.


Nailpro Cup 2009 competition awards ceremony
Unfortunately, we don't have a "Sheer Genius" or a "Top Chef" for nails yet. Because I think it would be great for everyone if more people understood that while there may be thousands of people doing nails, on every corner, in every strip mall, there are also hundreds of nail techs, nail stylists, nail artists out there who are busting their butts to master their craft and show you that there's a difference between a $20 set of nails and an $80 set of nails-- and trying to teach you how to recognize the difference and why you should bother.

Recently one such colleague posted the following on a major professional networking forum. I asked if I could repost her words.


"Hey Techies,
 
I have a client who used to be a regular gel client until she moved last year. She now comes to me 3 or 4 times a year. It wasn't a problem until this visit. She showed up with NSS, substandard, horrible acrylic nails that are yellowing and have fill lines. She went on and on about how she found a new salon that is so beautiful and the guy she goes to is so up to date on all the latest things and does such beautiful work. I'm looking at horrible, yellow, fill lines and acrylic ( she was told that it was the new powder gel that they were using ) and I want to scream! I pointed out the yellowing and the fill lines, she acknowledged them and then said something about "taking it all off" for her fill. I told her that she would have to soak them off for about an hour and then I would do a full set, for the price of a full set. She said that they just pulled them off, no hour wasted soaking them off. I had to keep my head down so she could not see the horror on my face.
 
What do you say to someone when presented with this kind of mess? I did not have the time to soak them off and do a full set, so, I did not push her to do so. I told her that it was acrylic on her nails and she said that it was powder gel, didn't I know about it? I explained that it was not powder gel it was acrylic and she still insisted that they said it was gel so it is gel. I stopped short of telling her that they are lying rat finks because she went on and on about how much she liked the salon and the "guy" who does her nails and the conversation was quickly turning into an argument with my client defending her "guy's" flat out lies!
 

I could use some advice as to what to say and what not to say. In general I do not bad mouth anyone else's work, but, what do I do when someone is lying their butt off and the client believes them over me? I have certificates on the wall that prove my advanced education and she's heard me go on and on about all the conventions, continuing education, this mailing list, industry web sites and trade publications that I've gotten all my information from for 25 years and she still believes that lying sack of *~#t!!!!! Sorry, I fell into name calling.....not sorry he is a lying sack of _____.
 
She was a good client for about a year before she moved, I educated her while she was in my chair and now she seems to have forgotten all of it. On her way out she saw my old ProFinish two hand uv lamp and exclaimed, "that's what they have, the new two hand lamp! What do you use it for?" I told her that that lamp is a least 15 years old and useless except to get regular polish clients to sit still for 4 minutes. She looked confused, but, said nothing more.
 
I thought about booking 2 hours for her next appointment and soaking the ac off and putting on a new set of gels so she would be reminded of how they should look, but, if I'm doing all that work, I'm getting paid for a full set and she would not agree to that. Besides, she saw my nails and the clients before and after her with beautiful, clear, non yellow, no fill lines, gel nails. Maybe she listened and noticed more than she admitted to and she will find a new salon that actually does gels, not acrylic with a gel overlay.
 
So, Techies, I did a little venting, now, what do you all say to clients who come in with NSS nails and tell you how beautiful they are?"



 I think she so eloquently summed up the frustration we all feel when we are faced with someone who not just fails to grasp the importance of what we are are sharing with them, not just fails to give credence to our expertise, but seems to down right mock us for trying to educate them.

Let me tell you. This breaks our hearts. We genuinely care about not just what we do, but about the health and safety of our clients. Ultimately, some people just don't want to believe us. Some people aren't able to process too much information-- it's simply over their heads. Some people need their nail techs to be "beneath" them, getting intimidated by any simple nail girl who uses bigger words than they do. And some people genuinely can't tell the damn difference in qualities of workmanship.

award winning nails by Maggie Franklin
Whatever the reason behind this behavior, it's insulting to those of us who spend our lives going above and beyond to provide the public with up-to-date, accurate, information.

If you really believe in powder gel and the tooth fairy, that's fine. If you really think that mechanically forcing product off your nails is as safe as, or safer than, taking the time to dissolve the bonds between your natural nail and the product, fine. If you really can't tell the difference between a professional, informed, up-to-date nail tech and somebody who just smiles a lot and makes eye contact while they BS their way through your service-- again, fine.

But if you really can't tell that you're going around bragging on some jacked up nails, you've got more problems than a good nail tech can fix.

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