Archives for June 2020

Biofilm

Several months back, as far back as a couple of years my family and I began the process of helping my parents clean out and move out of their house.
My family is amazing and I love and trust all of them. However, as with anyone we work with it takes a bit getting used to their ways.
A friend of ours who was handling the real estate part of it, would send me a text now and then….hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
This was his way of saying breath deep, close your eyes, visualize the spa
and stay calm.
It seems I’m practicing this a lot during these most trying, physically and mentally draining times with COVID19. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
So in order to stay focused on something besides COVID, here I am approaching another topic of interest which came from my CDS series. A topic which many had never heard of and if they did, they didn’t know much about.
Biofilm IS the enemy. It has been around for years.
In order to know what to do about it, you have to know what it is.
Biofilm

Biofilms are a collective of one or more types of microorganisms that can grow on many different surfaces.

Microorganisms that form biofilms include bacteria, fungi and collection of organisms. One common example of a biofilm is dental plaque, a slimy buildup of bacteria that forms on the surfaces of teeth or the slimy ring around the end of a faucet, or the ooze that comes up when clearing a hairball from your shower drain.

Biofilm usually begins to form when a free-swimming bacterium attaches to a surface.

Swimming microorganisms can be classified into three groups:

(1) bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella

(2) archaea such as Halobacterium and Methanocaldococcus

(3) eukaryotes such as Euglena and Paramecium

Cleaning then disinfection is the only way to rid of Biofilm in your drains.  Due to their protective matrix…bleach, shower cleaners, or any antimicrobial chemicals poured down the drain cannot penetrate the Biofilm to kill all the bacteria.

Shower hoses, sink spickets and faucets can potentially harbor biofilm.  Because of this, there is a wide range of superficial fungal infections which are caused by Biofilm including, but not limited to keratitis, onychomycosis, allergy and sinusitis along with more serious illnesses such as pneumonia. Especially in immunocompromised persons.

Sinks are an ideal reservoir for bacterial contamination. The basic designs of the drain flow contributes to unwanted microbial growth. this makes them prime suspect for producing infections.

Plumbing fixtures contain standing water. The small reservoir of water acts as a physical barrier to prevent off gassing sewage odor from entering the room where the sink is located. Unfortunately, this same reservoir creates the perfect humid breeding conditions needed for bacterial colonies to grow.

 

How does this affect you in your Salon environment?  Think about it…..

We go to the sink to clean and scrub the debris off our foot files/tools many times a day.

The particles are being washed down the drain multiple times per day.

These particles then become part of the Biofilm which is sitting in the drain pipe.

In addition, warm water is ran down the drain causing the biofilm to loosen. Upon loosening, it produces vapors coming up through the drain which….you are breathing in!

In 2008 when I was first introduced to Biofilm, it was through the NASP level 1 course. (I like to give credit where credit is due).

I don’t know if they continue to teach on this topic, however, the information although very basic has helped me in the following years.

When I took on the Micrylium products, it was through my rep, where I learned more specific details. It was where I learned the importance of ultrasonic cleaners.

The story shared with me through my rep, really resonated.

They were called into a Company which works with Medical Devices. Many of their employees they noticed, suffered with scratchy throat, dry cough, dry eyes, runny nose along with additional minor symptoms.

They took action to investigate and brought in air conditioning experts to see if maybe bad air was being aired through their ventilation. They brought in drywall experts to investigate the problems associated with infected drywall. And, in the end they brought in the chemist and leaders of Micrylium who are the experts in infectious control.

Micrylium realized the workers were doing the same thing we as Nail Specialist do.  Always going to the sink and scrubbing their tools and implements.

The warm water they use with soap to scrub was activating the biofilm in the drain. It would loosen the biofilm causing vapors to come up through the drain. Vapors which the workers were breathing in. The same type of vapors, our Technicians breath in.

HOW DO WE MANAGE THIS?

THE FIRST STEP IN MANAGING IT, IT RECOGNIZING THIS IS A PROBLEM

I’ve spoken with many Technicians who simply want to I ignore Biofilm is in existence. Hey…no problem, it’s your life. However, it’s important to realize, this problem doesn’t not discriminate. It exists everywhere. Our homes, our work, hotels, restrooms … all over the world.

I personally have an allergy to mold and mildew. I can tell instantly if I walk in a place loaded with bacteria. My head immediately feels like I have a head cold and I get a headache.

THE 2nd THING TO REMEMBER…THERE ARE OPTIONS.

Ultrasonic cleaners do the cleaning for you. No scrubbing, no standing at the sink scrubbing, washing, rinsing your tools.

Ultrasonic cleaner

There are many different ultrasonic machines available. The best advice I could probably offer is not purchasing one which is specifically designed for jewelry. Which, is what is used to clean jewelry.

I can only speak for the one we carry…it is large enough to support many tools including the length of our AngelFeet file. It has up to 10 minute active time and it has a heater. Although, heat is not required for our implements.

In addition, it’s important to know from your Mfg., what solution is acceptable. If you use the wrong kind of solution it could very possibly blowup your machine.

The harsh reality is, whatever procedures you have for sanitizing…you MUST clean first. Cleaning our tools as we know it, is putting us at risk for ailments stated earlier in this blog.

A couple of questions I would be asking at this time is;

  • How is COVID in relation to washing as we do and inhaling biofilm vapors
  • Is there something better or safer I can be doing
  • Does the initial added expense far out way the long term hazards

I hope I was able to offer more insight and even answer some of your questions regarding biofilm.

It exist yet we can control our exposure…for a better quality of life.

CJ Murray, President

CJ Murray
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Are we worth it?

Where do we go from here?

In talking about our services and our service dollars these past couple of weeks, I’ve received so many who expressed YES! YES! YES!

I’m humbled by all your kind comments and so incredibly grateful to be a small part of your growth. I’m also grateful to be a part of the conversation.

I’m perplexed however, and confused.

I’m perplexed (baffled or puzzled) because I’m noticing, not everyone is taking COVID19 and our responsibilities in our Salon seriously.

I’m confused because those same people are bitching that the COVID19 numbers are rising.

Whats interesting however, based on my own experience and what I am hearing from other B2B partners, there is separation within our own industry and sometimes our own Salons.

It’s interesting because it appears our Nail Technicians are on the forefront of precaution, while our Hair Stylists are not so much.

Please…..I am not talking about ALL Hair Stylist, only those which either myself or people close to me has witnessed.

We have to remember, in the Nail Technician world cleaning and disinfection is just part of our DNA. We have to clean and disinfect our tools after each client, our pedicure tubs….Hair stylist put their combs in a solution until their next client. And, have we ever seen our Stylist wash and disinfect their shears?

This doesn’t make them bad people. The type of cleaning and disinfection procedures they have to follow as Hair Stylist are different then our Nail Technicians.

Nail Technicians have to keep logs. Do our Hair stylist? Nail Technicians deal with the skin, our Hair Stylist don’t.

I’ve always said….as a Nail Technician we can cause an amputation or even death. As a Hair Stylist, the worst that can happen is someone having to shave their head.  It’s just a different world.

CirclewFeetv2

I realize we can’t and shouldn’t live in fear. I realize we must get our Country back to work and thriving again. This means our people have to work and we have to be able to enjoy or reap the benefits from working.

There is a new norm though, and we have to realize this and adjust to whatever this new norm may be.

There is absolutely no way, we can conform back to the way we were. Doing so will cause grave damage to our Industry and should a 2nd wave of COVID19 come upon (like they are predicting), the majority of our Industry will be put in the last phase of re-opening.

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were invited by our friends to join a boat parade. We had one boat with 4 of us and another much bigger boat with 6. We were all very conscious of where we had been, who we were with. We didn’t wear mask, but there was enough room on both boats to practice social distancing.

We stopped at an Island away from shore with hundreds of other boats. The next (2) boats closest to us (but a fairly good distance) had literally 20-30 teenagers per boat. Not a darn one of them obviously had a clue of our current situation, or just didn’t care.

Although our guys were thrilled at the eye candy, they and all us girls could not even believe the crowd on those boats. It was just mind boggling. AND….there was the obvious parents or owners of the boats, but they too were involved in the same close contact.

It was shortly after that, we heard on the news the increase in the number of teenagers , contracting COVID19.  No duh!

NEWSFLASH

I’ve spoken with many people from many different Businesses, and I am truly enlightened by some of the COVID19 practices they have put into place.

One of our local Financial firms have succeeded in doing the epitome of COVID safety.

  • Most of their employees have been working from home. Just this last week, if that task is challenging because of kids or poor set-up, they are allowing them to come back to work. However, only 20% of  their particular office count
  • They check their temperature at the guard gate. If they are spiked, they are not allowed through. If okay, they get a sticker. Once through, they are sent to another off-site office for legal documentation. Once they sign they have no signs of illness nor have been around anyone with COVID, they get a wrist band. And, they also have to sign stating they won’t sue if they get CVOID19, even if they think it came from their office.
  • They also have some type of device which tracks them. At any given time, if someone test positive for COVID19, they will immediately know who has been in their Company which gives them the ability to notify that person and reduce the spread.
  • They are 100% required to wear mask
  • Only 4 people in an elevator.  Big company, big elevators
  • Everything now is electronic. There are no handling of any paper trail

This is a multi billion dollar Company with 8 buildings on their property. They just re-built one of their office buildings with newly designed portable units and an effort to put more people in a smaller space. They are reconfiguring again….6′ apart, glass partitions etc.

This isn’t the only Company making changes. Many are doing the same thing. They are adjusting to the new norm.

Many of you know, and I’ve shared all sorts of information on the challenges we as Distributors are having. For us, these challenges aren’t going away.

We still have Mfgs not being able to provide us our products. We are still on allotment for many items and having to pay up front to even be “put on the list”. We still encounter everyday, items we thought were on allotment and now have gone into the “can’t get” category.

COVID19 has NOT ended, or at least the effects of it. Life is NOT back to normal. The new norm is STILL important and although we are back to the chair, we STILL have to have our PPE and our precautions in place in order to operate safely.

Where does this fit into my articles of the last two(2) weeks? The Perfect Pedicure and Perfect Pedicure pricing?

THERE IS A PRICE TO BE PAID FOR SAFETY

I have heard so many stories of Salons who are allowed to open, yet choose not to until all their new practices are put into place.

I have been bombarded with calls on cleaning, disinfection and sterilization. My CDS series has the largest attendance of any class I’ve hosted. My autoclave webinar scheduled for June 29th, has the most registered attendance of any webinar I’ve ever presented.

This all comes with a price. A price you should be passing on to your clients.

I have sold more ultrasonic machines, autoclaves and disinfection products since the inception of my Business.

Technicians have shared with me the “new” Business they have obtained. Why? Because they are following safe procedures. They are following the rules and in some cases, going over and above.

THIS…..COMES WITH A PRICE

Then…..we have the naysayers. The Technicians, Stylist, Salons who feel for some reason, they don’t have to play by the rules…or after 4-6 weeks of being back in Business, they are already becoming complacent.

  • Is it a bitch to wear a mask all day?  Absolutely
  • Is it a bitch to lose 1-2 clients per day because you have to leave more time in between? Absolutely
  • Is it a bitch to clean more, clean better, clean correctly….absolutely!
  • Is it a bitch to take your clients temperature, have them sign a release form, make it mandatory they wear a mask?….and, whatever other changes you require?…absolutely!

 

 

What will be a bitch….is having to go through what we just went through all over again

We have to break this pattern. We have to be responsible until we know there is a vaccine for COVID.

Whether you believe what the media is telling us or not. The fact still remains…there is a disease out there and we are all susceptible. We owe it to ourselves, our team and other people around us to follow safe procedures and protect ourselves and each other.

WE HAVE GOT TO BREAK THE PATTERN

So….If you wonder whether or not you are “worth a price increase”, if you wonder if you will “lose clients” because of it? If you aren’t doing what you need to do to keep yourself, your team and your clients safe., then don’t change your prices. If you are, and you have spent time and money preparing as such then you are justified. Don’t let a crisis go to waste. Learn from it and do what you did good….even better!

You will either be the Salon everyone feels comfortable with visiting, or you will be the Salon that people talk about, and it won’t be in a positive manner.

CJ Murray, President

CJ Murray
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Perfect Pedicure Pricing

Last week I talked about the Perfect Pedicure.  While writing, I thought back to the days when I had my Salon and what I did as well as what I didn’t do.

I spoke of the after life.  Many times you’ll hear me say, “I really don’t know how I knew this…it’s just innate”. (inborn; natural).  I think back to many things I did in my Salon which proved to be “proper”  Things which I just knew I didn’t want…..like jetted pedicure tubs.  

There are reasons why we do or don’t do certain things.  Is it because of our belief? Is it because we are followers?  Is it because we are big dreamers?  Is it because we have to?  Is it just because?

When it comes to pricing our services, I know there are many people who do NOT price their services where they need to be.  Whether they think it’s because they want to be fair?  Is it because they don’t know how to price their services, is it because they are thinking they want to stay competitive?  Or, is it because they don’t think they are worth it?

I think of my good friend Nellie Neal.  We all know how glamorous and eccentric he is.

What’s interesting to me about Nellie, he is the epitome of be who you are and let that reflect in your services and your service dollars.

Nellie had a price increase in February.  He just had another price increase due to COVID19.  Many of you don’t feel this is the time to “raise your prices”.  Is it?

Many of you shake your head at what Nellie charges.  What you don’t realize though, Nellie feels and knows he’s worth it…..THAT’S the difference!

Knowledge is Power-2

Raising prices during COVID19 has been a big topic over the past couple of months. It’s interesting watching comments from all over the spectrum.

What I would ask you is “have you raised the bar”? Have you changed the way you do things “for the better”?

Forget the idea that you have to spread out your clients and maybe take one(1) less client a day. I’m talking about making your Business a safer place for you, your team and your clients. I’m talking about better sanitizing procedures. I’m talking about Education.

Knowledge is Power. Going back to Nellie. Nellie isn’t knowledgable about just one(1) thing. He has a little knowledge about a lot of things. Knowledge that he has learned over many years attending many classes, trade shows etc.

You may think his appearances at Trade Shows, are just that….appearances. However, he uses that time visiting other Vendors, learning of new items, new processes and how to continuously improve the trade he is already great at. He never stops learning.

His clients know this. They look forward to the new he might come back from a trip with. They appreciate the time away, the travel, the lost income to make his travel all possible. They respect him for it.

Therefore, they have no problem with paying for his knowledge. THAT is how he is able to charge the prices he charges.

Nellie Neal

When I bought my Salon, I bought into already established pricing. Over the course of many years I adjusted accordingly.

When I built my new facility from the ground up, I did research around the area I was building. I was appalled by the general pricing. I couldn’t conform.

I charged the pricing I did based not only on Business expenses. I priced according to the knowledge of my staff and the products I was using. The more knowledgeable we became, the more the price went up.

In 2008 when I met Footlogix and changed my entire service venue from Gena products to Footlogix, my pricing went up $25.00 per pedicure. We went from $45.00 – $70.00 We had no challenges with the increase.

My clients knew of my introduction to the brand and we were able to show them the difference in the quality. And… they appreciated the growth.

During COVID19 we, as a Distributor have experienced things we have never experienced before.

  • Major price increases
  • Delayed deliveries
  • Backordered-out of stock products
  • Allotment of products
  • And more!

These COVID19 times are stressful.

I chose and have shared with you, to absorb much of the price increases I’ve experienced…at least for a few months. I chose this not only because my Salons were out of work. I choose to do this and notify you for future reference, so you can make your plans for what you need to do.

In this case, it’s a hard good. It’s not about my personal time.

Trust me, because of the change in logistics with hard goods, I’m working 60 hours per week and getting a lot more grey hairs really fast. It has not been easy.

However, I know this is only temporary. It will change.

When it comes to your services and what your Salon policies are going forward…these are forever changes. You never go back. You only go forward until the next change….forward.

So, how then do your price your Pedicure services?

First and foremost you have to know your cost.

  • Square footage cost
  • Cost of products

Square footage cost includes everything it takes for that square footage to break even.

Cost of products is everything used in the service. Tools and equipment should be considered in your square footage cost, not your product cost.

I personally feel the biggest mistake most people make, is determining cost based on flat rate instead of percentages.

  • What percentage should your rent be of total income
  • What percentage is your labor cost of total income
  • What percentage is your product cost of total income

You can google and I know there are some great people like Tina Alberino who wrote books on determining your cost which you can reflect to.

When it comes to Business…it is all relative. 10%, 25% increase in sales is amazing. Doesn’t matter if it’s 10% of $100 or 10% of 100,000.00.

KNOW WHAT YOUR PERCENTAGES ARE

Once your square footage cost is determined, the next factor is your worth!

I’ve said this before….”If you are going to work for $15.00 per hour, your may as well go to Starbucks or McDonals to where you at least get the benefits”.

KNOW YOUR WORTH

When I was hiring for my Salon, I always asked the following;

There is no right or wrong answer;  IF YOU COULD PAINT THE PERFECT SCENERIO…what would it be?

  • How many hours a week do you want to work?
  • Do you want to work nights or days?
  • What services do you not like to do?
  • How much money do you want to make?

If you can answer these questions, you can determine your worth. Much to my dismay, the answers were dismal…or they didn’t know how to answer at all.

They couldn’t dream. They couldn’t commit. They couldn’t imagine. They weren’t right for me.

It’s so strange to me that people don’t know the answer to those questions.

When I began raising my prices at my Salon, I posted a banner on the front of my building….

WE FIX THOSE $15.00 NAILS

It wasn’t intended to put down the competition, it was intended to let people know…we are qualified in the services we offer. We are knowledgeable in our Profession and we want to brag about it.

So, the last thing you want to do in determining your pricing is making sure you have the credentials to earn it.

  • Are you using quality foot care products
  • Are you continuously educating yourself
  • Are you, are your services worth what you are charging

If you don’t know how much you want to work, nor how much you want to make….how the heck do you determine your cost?

Are you going based on the Salons around you? Are you following what you think might be the norm? Are you afraid you may not sell your services if your prices are too high?

If you answered yes to any of the above….you be forever in a rut and never get anywhere. You will always be working harder and not smarter.

To price your services properly you need to know your worth.  Ask yourself these questions;

  • How many hours per week do I want to work
  • Do I want to work nights, days, weekends?
  • How much do I want to make?

in addition

  • Am I educated
  • Am I staying educated
  • Am I providing a safe environment
  • Am I doing the best I can for my clients

Once you know your square footage cost, once you know the answers above….only then you can begin to determine your prices….and go after it.

Getting back to Nellie.

He for sure knows the cost associated with his services and there is absolutely no doubt he knows his own worth. Which….changes upwardly yearly.

However, he also recognizes, perceived value is just as important. He recognizes giving the client more than what they expect is important.

He also knows, he makes no apologies for asking the price he deserves.

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    The Perfect Pedicure

    I think if I have the opportunity to return in an “after life”, I can see myself coming back as a psychiatrist. The after life from the COVID19 pandemic, has been nothing short of amazing to watch.

    In the course of the past two (2) months, self education has been at an all time high. Awareness to cleaning, disinfection and sterilization processes is on steroids and the energy felt is electrifying.

    Salons are re-opening like it’s the first time starting their Business. Technicians are not just “revamping,” they are starting new. Retail sales are moving up and service venues are being re-modified.

    In segment 4 of my CDS series, I asked “what other education would you be interested in”? I received multiple request. The #1 request was “Pedicures”. You not only want to know what a “perfect” pedicure would be, you want to know pricing AND you want a video.
    I am here to deliver. Today we will talk about the “perfect pedicure”. Next week we will touch upon pricing.  And, I commit to you, a video will be available by the end of June.
    me,getting a pedicure

    Whenever I do anything which I know other people will either see or hear, I always put myself on the other side. I look at what I’m saying and/or doing from another person’s perspective.

    Sometimes, it can truly be a curse…In most cases though, it makes me more thorough, more meticulous and more detailed.

    The curse? I’m a virgo so everything I just mentioned is who I am. Doing what I do looking from a different perspective,  just magnifies those traits.

    Since my early 20’s I have been one way shape or form, involved in the Beauty Industry. I’ve had manicures, artificial nails, pedicures, facials, hair services and whatever other service you may think of.

    The very first time I got my nails done, I remember specifically chewing them off (after paying $70.00). Why? I didn’t like the shape.

    The Salon I visited was near where I worked at the time (an office supply store). There were two (2) ladies, probably the age I am now. They wore pink smocks, smoked cigarettes and talked more with each other than they did with me.

    Consequently, the Technician did what SHE wanted. She never asked what length I wanted nor what shape I wanted. I hated them.

    I hate my nails

    That resonated with me for the longest time. In fact, it still does.

    So, when you ask the question “what is the perfect pedicure”…who should you be asking?

    During the pandemic shut down, did anyone do a survey with their clients? Did anyone ask any specific questions? Or, did you just revamp your service menu to your liking? Or, return to the same ole format.

    Here are some processes in the pedicure chair which I personally don’t like. I wonder how many clients have experienced the same thing, and how many Technicians are losing these clients?

    • Sugar or salt scrub.  They scratch like heck and make my skin feel like it’s on fire.
    • Foot filing.  The rough files I have experienced has take the relaxation out of my experience.
    • Cuticle “pushing”.  Ouch, need I say more?
    • Cold water.  I have been left with my feet in the water for so long, the water is no longer soothing and comfortable.
    • Toenail clipping.  I have left many times, and for days following with pain in my toenails because the Technician cut them too short.
    • Length of time of pedicure service.  To short AND to long.

    When it comes to skin exfoliation you have to remember, ALL you are wanting to do at this time, is to remove the top layer of dry skin which, does not require a foot file.

    This is not, or should not be an aggressive process. Yes, there are many salt and sugar scrubs available. Many of you even make your own. That’s fantastic. BUT…..albeit the fragrance of these products are yummy. How do they feel on your clients skin?

    The same pertains to your foot file. As many of you know, we endorse the AngelFeet file. Truly the best file in the world.

    My endorsement goes far beyond the sanitizing aspects. It feels good. It doesn’t feel like someone is rubbing sandpaper on the bottom of my foot. Ugh! So many times I have had to ask the Technician to stop because it felt so uncomfortable. The skin on my feet is healthy. Using “sandpaper” made to smooth wood, is NOT my idea of feel good, but also not my idea of Professional nor what I believe is best for our clients.

    I remember being in school and reading “how to push back” cuticles. Whether it’s  the hands or feet, pushing is not an option.

    I’ve received pedicures where the Technician was too aggressive with the cuticle pusher. Not cool man. It hurts.

    The same goes for toenail clipping. Using tools which aren’t sharp enough to cut. Cutting across in one chunk instead of piece by piece. Cutting too short around the nail fold. It made and still makes me cringe.

    Length of time to me is tricky. Is your pedicure service too short? Is it too long?

    I’ve been in services whether it’s a facial or a pedicure where they are absolutely amazing. Great products, great ambience, great massage etc. However, they take so long, I have gotten past the point of relaxing. I’ve gotten ancy.

    I may have even dozed off. However, at the point that I “come too”, I don’t want to sit there for another 15-20 minutes waiting for my service to be complete.

    I do believe there is a perfect point of stopping.

    WHAT IS THE PERFECT PEDICURE?

    • The perfect pedicure is what makes your client feel their best. It’s about modifying your pedicure for each client and not getting into a rut of doing the same thing over and over.
    • The perfect pedicure is finding products which work for you, not products which make you work harder.
    • The perfect pedicure is knowing the difference between trying to be too eccentric yet trying to offer something special.
    • The perfect pedicure is knowing your trade. How to properly cut toenails and manage cuticles.
    • The perfect pedicure is knowing about EVERY thing and EVERY product you use. What are their features, their benefits and why they are good for your client.  And, how do they feel?
    • The perfect pedicure is using professional products and professional tools.
    • The perfect pedicure is focusing on your client….always
    • The perfect pedicure is paying attention to client signals
    • The perfect pedicure is one your client enjoys and one that YOU enjoy

    Going back to an after life.

    100 people can read the same thing and have 100 different opinions. We can offer the same service and 20 people love it, one(1) person complains. We can have different political views, different religious views…some people accept that, others thrive on bringing trouble to the differences. The mind is so amazing, and I have a passion for understanding how it all works.

    In our Salons….If we can understand people.  If we can understand our services aren’t about us, it’s about our clients…then we can understand why all the above matters.

    Stay safe, stay healthy.

    Keep doing the right thing in your Businesses to keep you and your clients safe. Don’t relax on safety. We aren’t in the clear yet and our Industry in many States is still in jeopardy. We have to show those States we can do this and do it right….all the time, not just when someone is watching.

    CJ Murray, President

    CJ Murray
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