Sunday, July 15, 2018

So What Are You Saying, Maggie?

I retired from 25 years in the nail biz in March 2017. 

I packed up my supplies, sold off most of my stuff, gave the key back to the landlord, took my glitter and moved to Tahoe.

I spent a little over a year in an authentic cabin near the lake, working in the independent publishing industry-- writing, editing, proof-reading, and creating cover artwork for indie authors.

Then I got bored. 

I guess "bored" is a good term.

After 25 years of holding hands, laughing and talking to other people ALL DAY LONG-- I thought I'd love the solitude and the sound of nothing but my mechanical keyboard as I type.

And for about a minute, I did.

I did love the opportunity to embrace my night owl nature. I went to bed with the sunrise and woke when darkness fell like a true vampire.

I also loved not being tied to a schedule. As long as I had my trusty laptop with me and could find wifi for at least a couple hours a week, I could go anywhere! And I did some of that as well: I chased the solar eclipse all the way to Seneca, Oregon; I spent 10 days in Cartagena, Colombia; I got in some hiking and some camping and a good, long trip to the Rice Shoe Fence out yonder past 29 Palms, CA.

Then a friend of mine-- one of those people who emerged at the last minute and elevated from "random person who was always sorta around but not close" to "one of my closest friends on the planet despite being one of the most unlikely candidates" decided to raise cattle full time.

Now THAT is an entirely different adventure! And primarily someone else's at that. But-- after months of hearing about his attempts to make it work, I finally got a tour of the ranch while I was passing through the Valley on my way to Disneyland.

And I never left. (Well, I did go to Disneyland. Duh!)

Partly because when I showed up that April morning, I was immediately put to work.

And then I did something that NO ONE WHO HAS KNOWN ME FOR THE LAST 48 YEARS WOULD HAVE SUSPECTED: I volunteered to come back to the ranch the next morning-- at 6 AM.

Late spring and early summer of 2018 has been a lot of trips back and forth between South Lake Tahoe and a small calf operation currently located somewhere in the Devil's Triangle of the Hanford/Goshen/Kingsburg outback. 

So just this week, I did something else that I never expected to do: I moved back to the valley. To get up at 4 am and work on the ranch 7 days a week for the foreseeable future.

So what am I saying?
Why am I telling you this? 
On my NAIL BUSINESS website? 

Well maybe-- just maybe-- I miss talking to people.
Maybe-- just maybe-- I miss the smell of monomer.
Maybe-- just maybe-- I'm thinking I could probably handle a few clients a week again?

I have some ducks to get back in a row before I can make any promises-- but maybe-- just maybe-- the appointment book is about to get dusted off.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

All Good Things Must End

I never thought the day would come when I made this particular announcment but....

I'm retiring.

I enrolled in the nails only course for my California manicurist license in February (the 19th, I believe) 1992.

March 1, 1992 was my first day of class.

I graduated the course in July 1992 (I had a slight gap when I transferred to a different school.)

I took my state board and received my license on Oct 2, 1992. (Back then it took FOREVER between graduating the course and actually getting your state board date.)

I have been doing this for 25 years.

For most of those two and half decades, I truly believed I would be doing this till they pried my file from my cold, dead hands.... or at least until I was about 70.

Things change.

March 23, 2017 will be the last day I call myself a professional nail technician. But not the last day that I will be a licensed nail technician. Because I worked hard for the license and I worked hard to make that license mean so much more than the state California requires it to be-- and because the future is not yet written and it's always good to keep your options open.

I have always promised that my website would remain up long after I was out of the business, so the site won't be going anywhere. You can still email me from here. I can't guarantee the future of any of my social media accounts or the phone number.

What happened? Where am I going? What will I do next? Check out the personal blog and get up to date.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

YES! That IS a "schedule now" button!

Openings are limited, but for the time being, ONLINE SCHEDULING IS BACK! 

Yes, that DOES mean I have a few spaces for NEW CLIENTS!

BEFORE YOU BOOK: Please take a long moment to spend some QUALITY TIME with my prices and policies information so your first appointment goes smoothly.

Looking forward to meeting you!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Online Booking No More

You may notice that all the "book now" buttons have been removed from the website and the Facebook page.

That's because The Art of Nailz is currently not accepting new clients. Current clients can continue to book their appointments online through saved links.

I decided to take down the buttons because I know it's really frustrating to people who have been trying to get in. It doesn't help at all that the online booking program shows openings in the schedule to everyone.

It's difficult to explain that those openings are temporary-- they won't be there for long as they get gobbled up by in house booking and current clients.

For the time being, I have also stopped keeping a waiting list. Everyone who is already on the wait list is still there-- I promise! And as time opens up, I'll contact you and offer you what ever openings come up.

It's been a long time since I had space to offer to new clients and watching the wait list grow with no idea how long it might be before an opening will come up kills me.

Monday, January 25, 2016

New Prices are Overdue

It's been nearly 7 years since my expense account invoices and calculator spent some serious quality time together.

I worked very hard not to make any major changes to my prices through the recession and for the years of recovery immediately following.

And now I can't put it off any longer.

I'm here to break the news-- prices are going up.

Normally, I don't feel compelled to make a big deal about price increases. They happen all the time in every industry. Restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations adjust prices constantly without notice. We've all learned to look before we purchase in those industries.

People, unfortunately, take their salon services for granted. They get used to paying the same amount week after week, month after month, and often walk in with their checks already written. I expect consumers to understand that prices fluctuate as needed in the salon industry as well.

In calculating the new prices, I had to account for the rise in cost of doing business over the last few years, I had to account for the increased demands for appointments, and take into consideration my years of experience, advanced certifications, and other achievements within my industry that add to my level of expertise.

I understand that this is a substantial adjustment to the pricing structure that has been in place for the last several years.

I assure you-- I have done the math.

Please Check the New Prices

All clients will get advanced notice of new prices in person and take affect by the end of February.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Not Taking New Clients

Over the last year and a half I have had to shut down the online booking several times and put out the message that I'm not able to take any new business.

Openings have come up on occasion and every so often, I'm able to contact someone on my wait list.

Unfortunately, closing the online booking presents problems for several of my regular clients. So this time, you may notice that online booking remains active. However, it is only open to current clients.

If you have not been to the salon in the last 6 weeks, you will not be able to access the booking system.

My biggest concern with this method is that there doesn't seem to be a way for me to make the schedule invisible to people who do not have the password to the system.

So I'm just putting up the blog post to assure anyone/everyone that even if you see openings in the calendar-- I have learned my lesson the hard way-- that does not mean that there's a spot open or that it will remain open for long.

If you are hoping to get in for a full set for a special occasion and don't need a recurring appointment-- contact me by email and let me know. I am far more likely to be able to accommodate one-off services, but I don't have the openings for regular clients.

By all means, you can contact me at any time to have your name added to the wait list, but you should be prepared that it might be six months or longer before you hear from me.

Also...I'm another one of these people who almost never answer the phone these days-- please text.

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?