Monday, March 26, 2012


So, a few months ago, I traded Zoya's "Rica" for Zoya's "Twila" with a polish blogger, THE NAIL FILES. I *do* know her real name, but you don't get to have that information because she swore me to secrecy (hehehe). As a nail tech, I actually am not using many of my regular nail polishes anymore, so trading works great for me.

About three weeks ago, TNF posted a photo of her FB page of a broken neck on a bottle of OPI "Unripened". I know this is considered a "vhtf" (very hard to find), so I felt bad for her. Fast forward to early last week. She mentioned that she had a new bottle of JULEP polish up for trade. So, seeing as I own zero JULEPs (they are a monthly mailed subscription polish), I sent her an email, offering her my own bottle of "Unripened"; used once.

She was over the moon happy, & offered two JULEPs (giving me my choice from five she had) in trade. Then, she asked if I also happen to have "Mad As A Hatter" (another vhtf). I did, but that one had been used a couple times. She asked for photos, and after I sent those, said, "I will give you all five of the JULEPs I listed below if you'll send me Unripened & MAAH!"

Since, as I said, I own no JULEPs, I agreed. I'm not using these polishes; they are sitting on my racks collecting dust. I could sell them to the highest bidder, but I'm not like that. So, I agreed, and sent them to her with a couple of other goodies (CND pedi sampler pack & a little chocolate). When she got them, she sent five beautiful JULEPs in a keeper box.

They're gorgeous; seriously. I don't need to swatch them 'cuz I've seen what they look like on blog sites. For the record, I now own: Elizabeth, Rachel, Brooklyn, Gayle (not my fave, but pretty), & Leighton. I'm thinking these will be great on my toes (since I never wear regular polish on my fingers)...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

All Done! Well, For Now...

Last Monday was my last CND class for a while... I think. I now have my Master Painter (Shellac and Colour&Effects), Master Architect (CND's liquid & powder class, formerly known as "acrylic"), and my Master Sculptor (Brisa gel line). I just did a two-hour, Shellac basics & spa mani/pedi lines, class, as well, titled "Flavor of the Season". All of these classes got me a beautiful certificate.

All of these certificates should be professionally framed, as they are not standard frame size. Luckily, Ace has an old high school friend who owns a frame shop in SE Portland. For Santamas, Ace had my first (Master Painter) certificate done; yesterday we took in the other three to be done to match. The fifth will be my official "GRAND MASTER" certificate, which will also be framed by Brooke.

I *do* have a GelColor (OPI) class in May, but after that, my big push for classes is done... for now. As I've said before, continuing education is important; even if your state (or, if you're not even in the beauty industry, even if your chosen career) doesn't require it. If we don't open ourselves to new, bigger, better things within our scope of practice, we can't grow as a professional.

It seems that the goals I've set for myself (see that list here) are slowly, but surely, getting checked off. Oh, per that list: I'm actually getting the INTUIT version of the credit card tool, my husband is working on my shelving as we speak, and I think I actually may do my room in a pretty light purple...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Upgraded & Updated

Well, my print materials, anyway... Every two years, I raise my prices. My cost of living goes up, my cost of product goes up, I take classes to raise my skill levels, sometimes my rent goes up; I am the only one who *can* give me a raise. In the eight years I've been in business, the only clients I've lost have been ones who've moved or died; not due to my prices.

Monday's visit to Tanya's was super successful. Not only did she fix (this is why we all should continue our education; practice, practice, practice!), then "blinged out", my left hand's nails... she also went over all my promo stuff. New prices start January 1st, 2013 (well, technically, the 2nd; I'm off on the 1st), & I thought "Who better to help me with this than someone who's been in the industry for more than 20 years?"

1. My business cards: Will now have my full (legal) name, title ("Grand Master, Nail Stylist, & Artist"), name of my business, address of business, my cell number, email address, & my work page on FB --- in that order. Basically, I'm adding "GM" to my title, removing the "office" number (since it now directs you to the salon owner's cell, and she then forwards the messages), scooting everything up a line, and adding my FB account.

2. My promo cards: Will now have Shellac info on one side, and Axxium & GelColor info on the other. Shellac price list will be removed; in its place will be a blurb (possibly pic, if I can find or make one) that says, "If it doesn't say *CND Shellac*, it's not *CND Shellac*. Don't settle for imposters!"

3. My brochures: Will have an updated map, & directions from different highways, on the back (the old baseball field has a different name and the business next door has been sold). My basic services will be priced the same as they are now, but my enhancement & specialty services are going up. I also eliminated "Gel Top Coat" (decided to just include that as part of the acrylic service, if needed, instead of hand buffing to a shine), and added a second art section (one for simple painted things, one for "bling" like glitter, pigment powders, transfer foils, engraving, etc).

Now, I need to get all the new images on a disc, and arrange a time/day Megan will be available at the UPS Store up the road. She has a Graphic Design degree and already helped will my printables last time, so I'm going to stick with her for the updates. I may, down the road, have her design my website, too... but that's at least a couple years down the road (maybe for my 10 year work-iversary).

Monday, March 12, 2012


Today's "Master Architect" class was the last of three classes I needed for my "Grand Master" certification. This one was all about acrylics. Three interesting things: (1) They have a new acrylic powder they have introduced, but we didn't get any in our kits... and (2) They have new additives (pigment powders, etc) they'll be selling late this Spring, so we got samples of those. Actually, I had gotten samples at my "Master Sculptor" class last month, so this time, I got two more; I now own four... and

(3) Included in our kits was green, red, & black acrylic powders; all of which are being discontinued because of the pigments coming soon. These give me things to play with on my daughter, being as she is currently my only acrylic "client".

So, technically, I don't physically have the certificate that says "Grand Master" (I didn't even know until today that we *got* a "Grand Master" certificate; only that we got the three "Master" series certifications). That one will come within a week or two.

My husband has an old high school friend who, along with her partner, owns a custom framing shop (she owns the frame shop, her partner owns an interior design shop -- they share a large studio space). She did such a great job with my "Master Painter" certificate that I want to use her for the other three, as well.

Tomorrow, I head to my friend (and local CND rep & educator) Tanya's in-home salon to go over (1) my price list & print materials I'm going to redo at the end of the year, and (2) my May calendar to put her clients into my book, while she's out of town for three weeks.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Almost There...

So, next week Monday, I take the last in the series of three Masters classes CND offers. I've already taken Master Painter (Shellac application and their Colour & Effect line of polishes) and Master Sculptor (Brisa gel system, which I've already been using since it came out, but I did learn a couple of new things). All my print materials will have to be updated soon, as well... to reflect all these classes.

This one is Master Architect, and it goes over their new Retention+ acrylic system. They've had Retention+ monomer for a while, as well as a few others, and the Perfect Powder polymer -- these two are what I used most. Currently, the only acrylic "client" I have is my daughter (age 12 1/2), so it will be nice to learn something new & have at least one person to practice on.

I know a lot of people think enhancements on children is ridiculous. As a tech, I'd have to agree... mostly. MOST children have no clue how to take care of their things, nails included. However, since my daughter has grown up within the beauty industry, she does. She's never bitten her nails, always asks me to file/trim them when she breaks one, has regular manicures (not as regular as I'd like, but better than most kids), and consistently uses her Solar Oil.

That said, I would love to add a few regular acrylic clients back into my rotation... if nothing else, to keep my skill level where it should be. And, on that note, I was granted one of the biggest compliments I have ever been given recently...

The CND Education Ambassador who is teaching these classes happens to have turned into a good friend. She also lives about 15 minutes from me (she has a licensed in-home salon). A couple weeks ago, she asked what my May schedule looked like. I said, "Pretty open at the moment; I haven't booked many that far out yet. Why?" She said, "Because I have to travel quite a bit that month, and want you to take care of some of my clients while I'm gone."

Are you kidding me?!?! YES! As an (only) 8 year tech, to be asked something of this nature by a 22+ year tech is HUGE! I love that she trusts me & my work enough to temporarily take over part of her clientele. It's also a bit scary... but I'm looking forward to it.

Part of the reason for these classes, aside from the obvious --- making sure we're all using CND's products as they intended --- is to network. Networking becomes useful when you need to find a trustworthy tech; someone to take over your clients when you want to take a vacation or need to take a hiatus (for whatever reason), someone to refer cold-calls to when your book is full, someone who you know is a good tech.

I am hugely grateful for this opportunity, and looking forward to getting my name & my work out there even more.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Are You "intuit" or just a "Square"?

The "Square" ( was the first to come up with an easy way to take credit card payments from your smartphone. Then came "Salon Swipe" (, with cheaper fees. And, now there is Intuit's "Go Payment" version (, which is even cheaper.

As you know, I have been contemplating getting one of these devices. The basic gist is:
1. Free app you download onto your smartphone.
2. Free card reader.
3. Small per-swipe percentage paid.
4. Slightly higher percentage paid if you have to manually enter the card for any reason.
5. MUCH cheaper than having a standard credit card machine (percentages are smaller, and for at least two of these, there is no monthly fee for anything).

Since one of my goals this year is to up my retail from practically non-existent, to an actual money maker, I know one of these swipers would be beneficial. But, which one?

I work 30 or less hours per week, and last year, my gross reciepts were close to $10,000 (that's less than $1,000/month). I know Intuit's version charges a monthly fee is you do more than $1000/month... but I also know that isn't happening any time soon.

So, I'm asking my readers if any of you have any experience (on either side of the salon chair); which is the best option for someone like me?

Got an email from the local rep -- she misquoted the rates. They are:
The plan is an either/or. Choose EITHER:

$12.95/mon – No minimum charge

1.7% on qualifying charges (swiping the card); 2.7% on mid-qualifying charges (keying in the number); 3.7% on non-qualifying (corporate/government cards)

$.27 per transaction on qualifying and mid-qual charges; $.34 per transaction on non-qual charges


$0.00/mon – No minimum charge

2.7% on qualifying charges (swiping the card); 3.7% on mid-qualifying charges (keying in the number); 3.7% on non-qualifying (corporate/government cards)

I would, obviously, fall under the second case. I'm not sure how many of my co-workers are signing up, but I think it's at least most of us, if not all.