Manicure philosophy
Ilona Moon

Manicure philosophy
Ilona Moon

This book reveals the secrets of communication with clients and describes original solutions of tough situations. You will not find practical training except for some gems you would have to spend countless years of practice to acquire. First of all it is a philosophy that provides and arm you with understanding of the filed, the philosophy that when applied enables you to become the best of the best. Illustrator: Liutsiia Ulimaeva. Translator: Irina Smirnova Содержит нецензурную брань.


All the situations and people described in this book are real; however their names and places that are described have been changed.

– Hello.

– Hi, my friend gave me your number and I would like to make an appointment.

– Sure, tomorrow at three o’clock does it suit you?

– Perfect, thank you very much.

Then we talk about details such as address, telephone number. I hang up and return to my client to continue my work.

I used to be a manicurist or just to make it sound more prestigious – a beautician, a master of my craft. I did a manicure, pedicure, depilation of the whole body and eyebrow correction. I worked for six years, very intensively. I had incredibly many clients and loved my work madly.

Working tirelessly I did not watch TV, did not see any commercials, nor did I read newspapers. I learned everything from my clients: what, where and when something happened. Whether the prices rose or fell. What books are worth reading and what movies are worth watching. Where one should go and what there is to do. What cream is to be used against wrinkles or cellulite. What part of the body it should be applied to: face, belly, legs or buttocks and which one of the two hemispheres is to be treated first. Where to buy this pretty blouse. It goes without saying, a steaming vat of freshest gossip, what would we do without them? As well as the life stories, life turns and roads.

We talked about such things that you cannot even tell your closest and dearest ones, that one is ashamed of or scared, and I hid their secrets in a closet that was firmly closed to others. I accepted, understood and kept everything with me until their next visit. I was like a priest to confess to. Sometimes we cried together, sometimes we laughed until we had to hiccup. I nodded at exactly the right moment, said mhm, if they needed my advice then I gave it to them, if not I kept my silence.

So why does a woman go to a manicurist? Many would say – for a manicure of course. You are right, but only for some twenty percent. Well-groomed hands are without a doubt the calling card of a woman, and no doubt of a man, but have you seen the film with Reese Witherspoon “Legally Blond”, when the protagonist has had a really bad day and then she was in a desperate need of a nail salon. Yes, women go for a manicure, but that's not all. They want to speak out, or to listen. To talk, or not to talk. To run away from the entire world, to feel special. They go to rest from work, husbands, children, intrigues, duties, to be alone, to take time for themselves. They are looking for a person who will be impartial when they look at their lives. They come for gossip, news, secrets. They want to be heard, but not accused. They go where they can be themselves, free and without masks. Here they feel safe and courageous.

It is said that a manicurist should be a good psychologist, I am not the one and in no way do I pretend to be, but when a large number of people, clients and friends pass through you, you gradually learn to understand people and feel their needs. What I propose to you is a kind of my own perennial study, which will be presented to you on a silver platter. I learned a lot from clients, myself; I read a lot – books, articles, attended an insane number of seminars. I constantly searched for answers, asked questions. I have always craved for information, clearly stated and expressed. I wanted more and more until I realized that I am running the same distance all over again. In this book, I described my experience and the experience of other masters. The exact thing that I used to look for myself. You can accumulate it and use for your own good.

So, let’s just start.

What is the client looking for in a manicurist master?

In many articles where the advice for the professional beauticians is given as well as in different professional forums for manicurists it has been continuously expressed that your client is to respect you, that no familiarities are allowed, that you are to be formal at all times and etc. Then they wonder – where did all the clients go?

What is the client looking for in the manicurist master? Professionalism, quality – you’d say. You would be right, but first and foremost, what you should have is internal energy. Even if you are at least three times a superb master, if this does not match, the client will no longer come to you. She chooses you intuitively, on a subconscious level. If the client likes your smell – she will come to you. If she likes your laughter or your voice – she will come to you. She gets attracted to your inner spark. She’s looking for a person she is comfortable with, who she can trust, with whom she can open up, relax and rest. Person who she will see eye-to-eye. The client is not attracted by a manicure; she is attracted by this “chemistry”.

So we figured it out, but now a few words about professionalism. The client comes to the salon where you work, on the recommendations of her friends and acquaintances. For example, many masters think that if you put all your diplomas and certificates onto the walls in the office this will prove the skill and amazing abilities. This is not entirely true. A client does not pay attention to them; she can throw a look, but most probably will not get a grasp of them anyway. She will look at you, at your appearance, at your behaviour, listen to what you say and how you speak and evaluate all of the above making her own conclusions what kind of a master you are. My diplomas are buried far in a closet and not a single client had a desire to look at them.

Furthermore: anyone can become a person providing manicure, pedicure services and etc., but only the chosen ones become masters of their work. How to become a true master, who will be admired, respected and appreciated? Read on.

Master of the craft

If you want to be a professional in your field – then this philosophy is meant exactly for you. Read everything related to your profession, go to seminars and not just attend it to get a piece of paper that is called a diploma, but listen closely. Yes, when you attend countless seminars, you begin to notice that information is repetitive, you just sit there and think – I know this, I know that, and then bam – just one sentence, a trifle, and your world turns upside down. For example, in the courses I attended, they talked about the cuticle on the nail, that it should be pushed back, but they never told us why and what for. It turns out that the cuticle grows to the nail plate and slows down its growth. Just one sentence, but everything immediately became clear.

Listen and ask questions. If you hesitate to ask them when there are other people all around you, you can always go to the moderator after the seminar and ask the questions that are important to you. There is no such thing as too much information. It may sound smug, but remember, who owns the information – owns the world. In our case – the world of nail service. Moreover, there is no limit to perfection.

Just for example. Once a beginner asked me for a lesson she wanted to see everything with her own eyes and during the procedure and explanation to her, I also communicated with my client. The student at this time was absorbed in her smartphone, and before each next step I had to pull her out of there in order to explain some technical issues. In the meantime, she missed one of the most interesting topics – communication between a master and a client. If you came to get some knowledge, you are to absorb each and every bit of it like a sponge, every tiny detail because you never know when all of a sudden it will come in handy.

Read, check for accuracy, verify, share your knowledge with others, work to be the leader. About ten years ago, in the market of nail service, a new product appeared – gel nail polish. Masters-manicurists took it rather reluctantly, as they had to learn a lot. Six months later, in one of the popular newspapers, I came across an article that the procedure of painting gel nail polish or rather the use of lamps designed for drying polish, causes skin cancer. A woman is an amazing creature, who has her own logic, she will be petrified of some kind of beauty procedures, but she will still have them, since the wish to be beautiful is stronger than the fear. Recall the old days when women whitened their faces with powder with lead, poisoned themselves, but continued to do so. I realized that nothing will stop clients in their desire to look well, but they will start asking questions, so I went to Google for answers. I read everything – researches, scientific works, medical indications, I looked at the statistics of diseases available for the last twenty years that nail lamps have been available on the market, I read the characteristics of ultraviolet lamps. Funnily enough, I have just managed to relay everything that I learned, acquired and accumulated in just several sentences. When a client came to me concerned about this issue I was able to explain everything in a normal language and she was satisfied, soothed and boldly took advantage of the desired procedure.

* When gel nail polish appeared on the market it hit the finances of the masters, because the materials were expensive, the training also required money, and not everyone wanted to change, so an allegation that this procedure spoils the nails occurred without any basis. And again I spent a couple of sleepless nights with my friend Google. Having compiled a sufficient amount of information I went on to compare my work with that of other masters’, called some of them, questioned them, argued with them. The result – gel nail polish or the procedure itself does not spoil the nails but on the contrary, it protects them. Nails are spoilt by irresponsible manicurists who are too lazy to learn and do not love their job. Who, instead of admitting a mistake, correcting it, just disclaim responsibility and misinform the client. At the same time, they lose client confidence. All they had to do was to read, find out and learn.

One should also mention that it is a common situation that innovations are met with great distrust and meet much resistance on their way as stagnated groups do their best to postpone the innovations as they see them as a real threat to their businesses. So you can see for yourself that gel nail polish as well as everything that is connected with it is not an exception in this case. Summarising my own extensive experience I can give you only positive feedback.

A couple of examples:

* Every season, fashion magazines publish articles and trends of new shades of nail polish for the next season. Although it must be noted that trendy colours do not always suit a particular client and her image. One crucial example: just imagine it is winter; it is windy and chilly the client's hands turned slightly blue or there are some people who have natural bluish skin tone. The trendy colours, the novelty of the season – faded brilliantly blue, or grey with a tint of lilac, or cold silver. As soon as you use these shades for the nails of the client, her hands would look like the hands of a drowned man. Trendy colours are not the ones that someone wrote about and named, but those that suit your client. I would also advise you to learn the colour scheme.

* Another thing, different women's magazines like to publish articles for example – “Home pedicure”, people love free stuff, but as we know, free cheese is only in a mousetrap and only for the second mouse. A client reads an article then follows their advice, and you will be the one who has to solve these mistakes.

Now look at the situation. The article my have unconfirmed facts and consist of the imagination of a journalist, who was tight on time and simply did not re-check the information. It was read by about a thousand people. Out of these people who troubled to read the article, only twenty have come to you the rest went to other masters, and we cannot be sure that those other masters were as prepared as you were. Next – only about three clients of these twenty, whom you told and explained how everything should be in reality, will relay the right policy to their friends. Can you imagine the scale of the dissemination of misinformation?

So keep your finger on the pulse, independently follow the trends from professionals, compare the facts, analyse, befriend the doctors, other professionals in your business, learn to think with your own head, and you will become an unsurpassed master – the master, who will be talked about with reverence and advised to all friends to visit.

What if you suddenly do not know the answer? Admit it honestly: “I do not know the answer, but by the next time you come – I will have it.” It is crucial to keep your word, but most importantly, once again – do not misinform. Some masters, again because of fear of losing a client, begin to say any nonsense, because they don’t want to seem ignorant. Practice shows that such masters still soon lose their clients. Do not think that clients are stupid as they feel, see and hear. Be honest, it always attracts. “And may the force be with you” from the Star Wars.

Fears of masters

What are masters afraid of? The main fears that hinder work are the loss of a client and consequently cash income, and of course competition. These fears cause, quarrels, intrigues, they make masters to make mistakes.

How to get rid of these fears? First of all – don't count your chickens before they're hatched, so we remember – a client chooses her master herself. Secondly, there will be enough clients for everyone.

At the beginning of the practice, you need to create a base of clients. It usually takes a year or two. It depends on the place where you work, on your knowledge, on your attitude towards clients, on time – you have to wait it out patiently. Some clients leave, others come. This is normal. If you did everything right, but the client has not returned to you for the second time, relax – this is simply not your client – yours are still to come. The universe does not tolerate emptiness. Do not stress yourself, worry and envy other masters. This will lead to strain in your health, loss of clients and friendship with other masters. It is better to engage in self-improvement, hone your skills, learn, spend this time with benefit. Knowledge gives confidence, understanding of the business and fears will disappear, not immediately, but it will be so. Then there will come a time when your life will be filled with wonderful people, the very people you deserve. Even more, I would say, the freedom of your choice with whom to work will come. After all, not only your client should feel comfortable with you, but you should also be comfortable with the client.

Share your knowledge with other masters. It often happens that the masters, knowing some secrets of the work and craft, don’t give them away, because of the fear of competition. There are only about twenty percent of clients who absolutely don’t give a damn which master will serve them. The rest, as I have pointed out, choose their masters. So, is it worth being worried because of these twenty percent? To quarrel, to be offended, to sort things out? Release this fear. Feel free to share information, tell, support and grow wings for each other and then you will have colleagues, not competitors.

Fear of changing jobs. During my short practice, I have changed five places of work and once again no less than eight times somebody tried to lure me to other salons. Six to seven people worked per shift in the first salon. There were two shifts, and sometimes they got overlapped. The salon was in a well-populated, crowded place. It was a great practice in the speed of work, speed of reaction, switching from one client to another, as well as in resolving conflicts both within the team and with clients. I still advise all beginners to find such a place. The second place was prestigious, but with a bad financial policy that taught me to appreciate myself. As to the third one, it was a magical time with a wonderful team, where I found teamwork, support and friendship. When the salon closed we all felt very sorry that we had to go our own ways. And even though we were scattered around the world, we still remember this time spent together. Well, the fourth gave a final understanding that I can do everything myself from that point on. The fifth is already my freedom, to work self-employed.

What am I talking about? Only for the first time is it difficult to change the place of work. Especially if you have a good relationship with the owners, the salon team. One is usually afraid to start it all over again. I know manicurists who continue to work in bad places for years, only because of the fear of changing something, losing clients when moving to a new place. Believe me it is not worth it. It is never too late to acquire experience and get a lesson. You will find new clients, plus your old ones will find you. Remember – you should feel fine and comfortable. You must feel good. And then everything will be fine in your life.

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