How to Set up a Nail Salon Studio
by Robert Geoghegan
First things first - you must get trained to be a professional nail technician. You can receive training at any number of establishments, so look in your local yellow pages for beauty or nail courses. Maybe working for someone is the next step, so as to gain experience.
Once you are qualified and feel confident that you can hack it at fending for yourself in the business world, then proceed to the next step. If you feel that you can offer a service that clients are going to want to pay for, then the next step is to find a location.
You may decide that to go mobile is right up your street, in this case your overheads are going to be a lot lower than having a shop to look after.
Location, location, location
All too often you see budding entrepreneurs opening up right next to each other, this is great if there is enough business to go round. Don't expect to be able to undercut the competition and put them out of business - this isn't groceries and people don't always go for the cheapest. You will have to do some research and try to find out how much potential business there is, find out from the local authorities the population and the ages and income. You must also have a 'good feeling' for a particular area.
If you have a wealthy partner then 'bingo' you can get them to pay for everything. All other mortals will have either saved or borrowed their way to self-employed freedom. Finance is an angel and a devil at the same time - try to make sure that every penny is accounted for and don't over commit yourself, especially at the start. When the money starts rolling in, then you will know how much debt you can afford and investing in new equipment or fittings for your salon will give the edge in a competitive market.
After you have found your premises and negotiated on the lease - remember, some landlords can be nicer than others and rent free periods may be available or you may be able to negotiate the rent. If the rent does seem too much, then look elsewhere, but sometimes premises in a good location which may seem expensive could actually make more money for you. Good premises do not come up for sale very often, and when they do you are going to wish that you had a very rich partner.
Choose you decor wisely, and don't go over the top unless you have deep pockets. You are creating an image, the style is up to you and it could make or break you. Spend some time researching this and I would suggest visiting establishments to get ideas e.g. restaurants, bars, hotels even shops - the big companies spend huge amounts of money 'fitting out', probably more on the designers fees than the actual fittings. These companies know what's right, and you should copy them or if not copy, steal a few ideas. Do a lot of the work yourself to save money, and you will feel a sense of achievement knowing that you did it. The devil is in the detail, so make sure that you pay attention to the little things - it can make all the difference.
These can be a fickle bunch; they know what they want (sometimes!) so just hope they want you. If you have done everything right, everything should be fine - so don't worry. It may take a while to build up a client base, so you must have finance in reserve to support you until you are making enough to support yourself. Do your research and offer the new fashions that are all the rage elsewhere in the world e.g. nail art. Nail art has so many variations these days, even a specialist can usually only master a particular type. Digital nail art which is provided by a machine may be a good option as the training although intense does not take years to master and the results can be fantastic.
If you have thought about setting up in business for yourself, but never had the nerve then you will never know what you have missed. Don't think that its easy to be your own boss though, you need special qualities - leadership, initiative, ability to make quick good decisions, low stress level and above all a good sense of humour (helps when everything is going wrong).
Robert Geoghegan, Operations director of Digi Printers ltd, based in the UK. An electrical engineer by trade, but happened upon nail art technology through his wife's beauty business. Now has an in-depth knowledge of digital nail art machines. Digi Nail Art Machines
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