Here are my thoughts on the old days, to the now and what I think the future will hold for this industry. I do not claim to know it all, but I have to share my thoughts of an industry that I love so dearly.

The “GOLDEN OLDIES”

Back in the day before Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, before YouTube……HOW did anyone get clients? How did anyone get to know other techs work? How did anyone learn? HOW did we do anything? Well, before technology, if you wanted the whole world to know about you or if you wanted to connect with others in the industry you had to send in photos to magazines, read magazines, compete, go to networking events, classes and put yourself out there to your peers in person. Your clients were your billboard(not an edited photo either). If someone liked their nails they would tell someone. It took actual leg work. It was a slow process on the number of people that you met, and the classes were sometimes missed by some simply because they were not in the city limits and anything you heard was if you phoned to inquire or received a flyer in the mail. Of course, this is my recollection of when I started….others may remember it differently.
The nails were different as well. People had a clear overlay or a French. When I started in the industry colored gel and nail art was just starting to surface and was an uphill battle to get clients to want to understand it. The integrity of the natural nail was the focus. (For most)
The amount of nail techs out there was a lot less as well. If a nail tech came into “town” you had better make sure you offered the best nails you could and kept up with the times and trends coming or you were replaced. Again, this is what I remember.

In “The NOW”
Now? SO different…….social media is THE way to market yourself for most. For me, it was hard to wrap my head around at first. It was SO instant and so intimidating!!! I didn’t know how a busy nail tech could keep up? Who has time for all of this??? It’s amazing how much you can see from all around the world and how many techs you can connect with on a minute by minute basis if you so choose. The amount of clients out there has expanded in numbers and I believe social media has helped that out as well as they can see what is out there MUCH easier and faster….example? PINTEREST!!!! The downfall is that social media has made this competitive industry even more so……so the same as the past? You better keep up with the times and offer the best nails you can!!!!
The amount of nail pages on Facebook is amazing and now more than ever you will hear EVERYONE’S opinion on products, clients, pricing, techniques, etc, etc. Of course this can be both good and bad. It is ALWAYS good to connect with others but you MUST be careful on the information you take as fact and if you say something, give facts and not opinions. Do your due diligence and research what the facts are.
What we also see a lot of on social media is people doing nails without ANY certification. This is good because the Distributors and Manufacturers can easily check up on these people and not sell to them, and you all can let the Distributors and Manufacturers know who is doing nails without any certification!!!! What we ALL have to try to remember is something our Vice President said to me once “There is an a** for every seat”. The clients that are going to unqualified people obviously know that they are not certified and still go and still give them money…..we do not necessarily want that type of client.
The nails have sure changed now from back then….ART is everywhere and the different “shapes” are trending!!! It is amazing to see and create. What I see getting lost in the art trend is the quality of the enhancement and the integrity of the natural nail intact. I see this so much because of social media. Of course I am the person that has to give some advice with an example. If you purchase a cake and you want someone to decorate it for you, do you also want the cake to taste good? (My answer is YES!!!!) We see the “Cake Boss” on TV and think…I might be able to do that, but what we do not always remember is that he is a 3rd or 4th generation baker….art on it is an addition. The quality of the cake is what makes people buy their stuff. Does this make sense???

The “FUTURE is BRIGHT”

What do I see happening in the future of our industry? I am going to be kind of blunt here and it just has to be said. The future will weed out a lot of techs. The industry is full of unqualified(still certified) nail techs and the consumers are getting smarter and choosier, especially with the economy. The lack of standard out there combined with high prices is worrisome and the future will see a cleanse happen. The integrity of the nail and the standard of the enhancement will HAVE to be(and should be) the primary focus and some will not be able to keep up unless they receive further education and TRULY look at their work and try to set a higher standard for themselves. We ALL have an obligation to our consumer to do and be better, to move with the times, to evolve!!! Evolution, in my mind is a combination of wisdom of the past mixed with forward thinking. Trends come and go. I think the French nail is coming back, but it will be an evolved French. Practice the French nail as I know SO many that claim that if French came back they would be lost. Know as much as you can about all types of nails. Learn how to reconstruct a ski jump or hook nail. JUST KEEP LEARNING!!!
The biggest thing to remember is that social media is NOT the answer to our prayers. Our skills and knowledge is still the most important way to stay in business and thrive.
As you know, I am writing my thoughts. Some may agree and some may disagree and that is 100% OK with me. This is just food for thought. 🙂
With love and respect to you all
Lisa Leibel