Archives for September 2020

Our challenges have NOT stopped

In March of this year when our sales dropped 90% I would never have imagined the challenges of COVID would still be present 7 months later.

After 30+ years of owning my own Business, I’m aware of everyday challenges and hitting them head on. However, there is no Business class, there is no Book which could have prepared me nor my Business for the challenge continuity.

I don’t know if I expected this whole thing would “just pass”, or if I was just ignorant to the chain of command which consist in our every day lives.

In either case, life is not as we knew it. There is a new norm. And, the affects of Covid will be felt for years to come. Not just in our health concerns, in our daily lives as well.


I realized this past week, I may be the Taylor Swift of the beauty industry. LOL

I seem to write my blogs based on experiences of my own. People I have met and things I have seen.

I get it now. Taylor Swift has the fan base she has, because they can all relate to her experiences. They have been there, done it or possibly going through it at this very moment.

When I write my blogs, I hope you can relate and I want you to know…you are not alone. We are all in this COVID journey together. We are all fighting that daily challenge. The challenge which never lets up.

Reading the Sunday newspaper this morning, I was reminded it isn’t just the Beauty Industry…it’s every Business….everywhere.

It’s the exercise establishments which can’t get equipment because production in China has been shut down for so long, the supply chain is broken.

It’s the exterminating business who can’t sell their products because the components they need for bottles, which come from China are not available.

It’s the furniture Companies which have a lead time of 10-12 weeks because they are short staffed.

It’s the Department stores whose shelves are bare due to their supply chains becoming unlinked.


I am encouraged though, by the perseverance many of these Business owners have. How their creative minds have helped them survive. How they adapted to the challenges and “adjusted fire” because of the situation.

What I see however, in our own industry is complacency setting in. I see many of our Salons relaxing on sterilization procedures and booking procedures. I see topics changing from quality care to quantity care.

I worry this COVID challenge has gone on so long, we are forgetting. We are forgetting the importance of not only safety, we are forgetting to slow down. Slow down to smell the roses.

What my Distribution is dealing with on a daily basis is heartbreaking.

  • Our delivery Companies aren’t guaranteeing deliveries and charging nickel and dime fees for everything from incorrect suite #’s to mis-classifications. Not to mention the ever growing increase in basic shipping cost.
  • Our delivery drivers aren’t going the extra mile needed to ensure a package delivery.
  • Our Mfg’s supply chain has been so unlinked, we literally don’t know from one day to the next what we will receive or what may not be available.
  • Price increases are now starting to take effect. We are preparing for some serious changes heading into 2021.
  • Patience is running thin with Mfg’s and clients

I’m not sharing this with you because I want you to feel sorry for me. Centre For Beauty has been truly blessed because of our venue already being aligned with PPE products. We have been blessed because we have received so many referrals. I personally have been blessed because I have had the chance to physically speak with clients whom in the past never had the time to do so.

I’m sharing this with you because as a Business owner, whether Business is good or bad, we can never EVER get complacent. We have to constantly prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We can never take our Business for granted.

Shortly after COVID attacked, we offered a retail site to our clients in an effort to generate a new revenue stream of income. We had an overwhelming response and I felt great with the orders my Salons were receiving. It’s come to a halt.

Our sales of PPE products were knocked out of the park. Not any more.

We were getting hundreds of request for virtual classes. Those request have dwindled.

My point is…COVID is still here. 

We can’t get complacent because we are allowed to “attempt” to get back to more normalcy in our lives.

The Beauty Industry is still at risk. We have to stay committed to the extreme practices we brought forth 7 months ago. Practices which by the way, should already have been in existance.

I challenge you to answer the following questions…..honestly!

  • Do you allow 15 minutes between clients for a thorough and proper cleaning?
  • Do you follow the Mfg’s directions on proper disinfection contact time?
  • Do you and your clients still wear mask?
  • Do you clean your common areas on a daily basis….or, are you back to “whenever I have time”?
  • Are you still practicing the 6 foot rule?

Whether or not your State has lifted some of the restrictions because of COVID…..we in this industry should not.

We also have to ask ourselves….are we prepared for another crisis?

Many I spoke with and have seen have suffered greatly in their Business financially. It has truly been heart breaking if and I were in the millionaire club, I would help each and every one of them.

I know many who have left the field. I know many who have downsized. I know many who have just closed their doors. And….I still know many that haven’t returned to work yet.

However, I don’t know many who have developed their contingency plan for future disaster.

I am blessed to have a husband and even more blessed that we had already began a contingency plan for our future. However, when my Business dropped 90% in 1 month….I was scared. I honestly did not know if what I had planned for would be enough.

My Business mind automatically kicked in and I changed my purchasing habits, I became creative for my clients to help in any way could and I cut back where I necessary. And, I took advantage of as much Government assistance was allowed.

However, in going through what I went through (what we all went through), I immediately began beefing up my emergency fund. There is one thing about me…..if I don’t like a situation I’m in…..I will NEVER let it happen again. For me, with COVID….I never EVER want to be that vulnerable again.

So I ask you to answer THESE questions honestly….

  • Are you still managing your expenditures carefully?
  • Have you started a contingency plan if you didn’t have one and/or stepping it up?
  • If you did have one, have you reviewed it and made adjustments accordingly.

Being in Business is not a game. Whether you are a big Business, a small Business or you work on your own….YOU being out of Business will affect more people than you realize.

As the title of this blog states. “Our challenges have not stopped”. We are still knee deep in COVID life and we have to do all we can to not become complacent.

As we discussed in the early days of COVID…

Following proper protocol

Following proper procedures

Going over and above the call of duty

Being diligent in all we do

Being safe

All these and more should still be our ultimate goal. Not just for the safety of ourselves and our clients….for the safety of our Industry.

CJ Murray, President

CJ Murray
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Why Educate?

When I wrote my article last week, I was a tad bit apprehensive. Even my husband thought I was taking too much of a risk.

However, the many responses from all channels that I received, solidified the need to bring attention to the matter of Education in our schools.

There is a common denominator in the many responses. That being….most of us learned pretty much nothing in school and those of us who have succeeded….are self taught.

THAT is just crazy. Why even go to school?

Well, the fact of the matter is, we have to go to school in order to obtain a license, to perform Nail Services.


The real sad part is, if sleeping in a chair instead of teaching your students, if ignoring your students and letting them be “self taught” is a thing….why put yourself in a teaching position in the first place?

I’m afraid the answer is ugly. I’m afraid most (not all) of our Nail Instructors are tired of being behind the chair, they are physically not capable on continuing to do nails and/or, they are just burn’t out.


My parents have told me that I’ve wanted to teach almost as soon as I could speak.

When playing school with my siblings….I was always the teacher. My entire professional career, I always found myself in positions of authority which always involved some type of teaching.

Whether it be teaching about a product or how to use a product…the product didn’t. matter, I was always teaching a lesson.

I’ve always been (so my parents tell me) the helpful one. I was the go getter, the one to make things happen. I was also the inquisitive one, like the time I asked a Sister(nun) friend of ours…if she had legs underneath that black skirt or even why my skin was a different color than then the lady at the check out counter of the store we were in. (Actually a great and funny story)

I just was constantly wanting to learn.

However, I was constantly wanting to take everything I did learn and share it with others.


Teaching for me was (and still is) about helping other people grow.

I thrive on passing knowledge. Helping others succeed has always been my #1 reason for teaching.


My husband and I were watching a TV program last week. I’m not even sure what it was. For all I know, it could have been a news channel. My husband flips channels continuously.

The caption read “the majority of our generation under 40, have never heard of the holocaust”

It caught my attention (from my mindless iPad games) and the story went on to a teacher of holocaust history.

This teacher went on to explain the damage this ‘lack of knowledge” can have on future generations.

He explained “we teach not just because of the knowledge, we teach so history doesn’t repeat itself” Knowing the history of the holocaust, helps us to realize what we shouldn’t do for future generations. If we don’t have this knowledge, we chance history repeating itself?



I thought about that statement. It struck me really hard.

I related it to nails and I think about the very first class I took which started my path to foot care. I knelt at the side of my bed after the first day, and I thanked my God my “lack of knowledge” has not brought harm to my clients in prior years.

I’ve thought about the advances we have made in our Industry and how, if we never learned…we would have never known.

  • MMA is a dangerous product
  • Formaldehyde is a carcinogenic … just to name a couple

If we didn’t learn of the dangers these two ingredients have on us, on our clients, we would never advance to the next level. Which, makes me wonder about those whom still use products containing specifically those two ingredients.

It makes me think of foot files and how we have learned the dangers of using Satan’s graters, sandpaper, and pumice on our clients feet. How we are still learning of how they not only damage the skin, how they can be the cause of infection.

It makes me think of the current class I’m teaching on Oncology care, and realizing some of the things we currently do in our foot care service is not healthy for any client never mind a client affected by Cancer.

It makes me think about the dangers associated with hot water and soaking a compromised client for too long, if at all.

All of the above and so much more is so incredibly crucial to the future of our Industry.

The mistakes we make, the damage we cause, the amputations because of infections from improperly cleaned pedi tubs and implements.

If we continue with the pattern of teaching in our schools, our new Technicians will never be able to take our Industry to the next level. We will never be able to change the image of our Industry because we will keep doing the same thing over and over again. The cycle will never end.

One of the topics which resonates with me is sanitizing practices. Our schools are so incredibly archaic when it pertains to this topic. After all, as I stated in my earlier blog…many of the schools don’t even practice proper sanitizing techniques.

Most of our schools are using sanitizing products which are carcinogenic. Most of our schools don’t even “clean” before they “disinfect”. Most of our schools choose price over quality. They choose price over teaching what is right, what is safe and what will help our students in their future career. Which, teaching the right thing, ultimately helps our Industry.

What does this all mean?

It means those of us who educate have to realize (including myself), we aren’t just teaching to help someone grow, we are teaching to help the state of our Industry for years to come.

It means our Technicians have to get out of the “I learned in school” mentality and realize just because it was taught to you in school, doesn’t mean it’s accurate. In means you have to do your own homework, check your resources and know who you are learning from. You have to self motivate, self teach in order to change the future of our Industry….or keep it alive and well.

For me, it has made me realize the importance of sharing the right message. Which is,

Learning is about knowing about products, it is about knowing proper techniques, it is about taking that knowledge into your Salons and teaching your clients.

However it is, even more important to realize, teaching (properly) is about the future of our industry.

CJ Murray, President

CJ Murray
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The Shame of our Nail Schools!

In 1987 when I bought “A Polished Look” Nail Salon in Largo, Fl, I would never ever in a million years imagined I would be where I am today.

The opportunities which are available to us in this Industry, are endless. It isn’t so much as making a ton butt load of money, it’s more about learning so much. It’s about leaving our desk, even for s short time, and being able to experience different cities, meet different people, learn new things and constantly lighting the spark that keeps us motivated.

I knew nothing about the Beauty Industry except that I religiously got my nails done. It was a luxury I could afford and I liked looking “finished”.

I owned and operated an office supply store. We had 4 locations, 30 employees, 3 trucks on the road and were doing quite well. I may not have known anything about Nails. However, I knew how to run a Business.


I went to Lori for 4 years every 2 weeks for my fill. We became friends and managed a lot of Business events between our two Business together.

When she called me about helping her sell her Business, it just seemed natural for me to say “make me an offer I can’t refuse”. She did. I bought “A polished Look” Nail Salon…lock stock and barrel in June of 1987.

You’ll have to read my book to hear all the crazy things that went on from June of 87 through most of 88.

It’s about what happened to me in January of 1988 which brings me to this article. It’s about Business 101…do your homework. Regardless of how well you know someone, always….always… your homework.


In December of 1987, 6 months after I purchased the Salon….I was made aware the Industry was beginning to require Nail Technician Licenses starting January, 1988.  If you didn’t submit paperwork to be “grandfathered” in by the end of December….you had to get a Nail Technician license. 110 hours.

We were so close to the end of the year, I didn’t have enough time.

I was doing nails. I would work 8-9 hours at my office supply business then head over to the Salon until 9pm, 10pm, sometimes 11pm at night taking care of Nail clients.

I was totally self taught. It took me 3-1/2 hrs to do my first full set of nails. Rosemary was with me for almost 20 years. In the end, I was performing the same service in 30 minutes. Acrylic nails, pink & white – completely manual.

However, I find myself in school. January of 1988 I began school at Largo Beauty Academy.

It is so strange when I think about it. Here it is 2020 and nothing has changed. 32 years later the schools are just as bad as they were 32 years ago.

Disclaimer; I know some excellent teachers throughout the USA. They know who they are and know I am not talking about them.

When I went to school, I was able to bring in my own products. They waived the student kit fee because I was a Salon owner already performing the services.

I attended school when I could. If I went for 2 hours, they marked me down for 8.

The kicker however, is I taught myself…..and other students. They didn’t even have a Nail Instructor. They depended on the Cosmo Instructor who never had time for us.

It was pathetic.

I didn’t feel sorry for myself. In fact, I loved it. 

However, I felt sorry for all the other girls who were trying to learn the art. Although, none of this even registered until I expanded my Salon and began hiring Nail Technicians.

Back in the day, some of you may recall, Nail technicians were a dime a dozen.

It was an easy, farely inexpensive class to get licensed in. And, you could make a decent living at it.

This was way before we were even introduced to the Oriental market of Salons. And yes…that’s what they were called at the time.

All I had to do was “think” I needed someone new, and 5 people would be knocking at my door within 24 hours.

I hired plenty of Nail Technicians back in the day. I hired experienced and I hired right from school.

The experienced Nail Tech’s were known for being a pain in the ass. LOL  Don’t you know? We know everything, you can’t teach us. Most of us were self taught and we just kept that brick wall us because you can’t teach us anything new.

Therefore, I stayed away from them. My hiring 99.9% of the time, came from the schools.

It was sad. These poor students didn’t even know how to hold a file, a nail brush or a pair of toenail clippers.

They didn’t learn the basics of proper table set up which helps in time management.

They didn’t learn techniques to build their speed or how to properly shape a nail.

They didn’t learn the proper sizing of tips or how to properly blend.

Sadly, they aren’t learning it now either.

I developed a specific training process of Nail Technicians. It was all based on producing beautiful nails in optimum time.

They had a goal. The perfection came first, then we would work on the speed. If they perfected the nail however, they could at least take nail repairs and start earning a little income and get used to working with clients.

It required a commitment to find 20 people as models. I always knew, the ones that found the models were keepers, the others not so much.

I loved what I dd and I taught a lot of Nail Technicians. However, my taste of the schools will always be sour.

Therefore, when time came for me to send my daughter to nail school, I followed the same advice I gave to others. Find the cheapest school possible.

To this day…..that is my advice!

After being on the advisory Board of two Technical Schools in my area, I’ve come to realize all schools teach the same thing. They have to.

They are regulated by their States to teach certain things….and they only have x amount of time to teach these things in.

In Nail School they barely touch upon Pedicures. Don’t you think that should change? After all, you can die from a Pedicure.

In Nail School they barely touch upon cleaning, disinfection and sterilization. Not a surprise, as most of the schools I visit don’t even practice what they do teach. Don’t you think that should change? Especially given the current environment?

I have seen this going on since 1988. I have tried to address our Florida State Board, with no avail. I have written letters, with no avail. It disgust me and it still makes me sad for our current students.

In fact, I speak from a personal experience, happening right now.

My niece (my goddaughter) asked me for my help in her decision to get into the Beauty Industry.

As I tell everyone who ask, go to nail school first. I feel getting your feet wet in nails, will help you decide if this industry is truly for you.

She listened and found a school near her.

I told her this type of education is self taught. I told her she has to go to school to get her license, unfortunately though, that is all she will get. She will get the bare basics.

Everything is self taught.

I sent her my DVD “Fine tuning and enhancing your nail training skills”. I’m compiling a list of influencers she needs to follow. I’m sending her products to practice and i’n telling her the same thing I told my new hires. 20 people……20 people. THAT is the magic number.

Sadly I am still right on the money.

She’s not been pleased at all with her school. The disinterest in training, the lack of commitment from the instructor. They junk they use in the schools? All of it.

In fact, take a look at this picture. This is her instructor. Sleeping on the job.

My message today is;

Our schools have never been the key to our success in regard to Nails.

If you are a Salon owner looking for a Nail Technician….know your needs. If you expect someone right from school to start working with no availability to training, you will fail. You will get fed up with trying to find a Nail Technician, and possibly shut that department down all together. Which, is a shame because that arena can gross you over 50%

If you are a new Nail Technician, get educated. Earn your license but google, utube, social media yourself to death. The world of education is literally at your fingertips.

Don’t stop. Seek out the opportunities this Industry has to offer. Keep searching for ways to keep that spark ignited.

If you are a Salon attempting to hire someone with experience, let go of the leash. 

Experienced Technicians will do well by you, if you just let them.

And, speaking to you experienced technicians, open your mind up and break down that brick wall. 

Now, before any our schools and/or instructors out there get all pissy over this article. If you are offended, maybe you need to revisit your teachings. If you aren’t offended then you know I’m not referring to you.

Not all schools fall into this category. There are some excellent instructors and some excellent schools.

However, it’s the curriculum which first needs to be changed. It can’t just be updated….it needs to be changed.

In addition, we need to qualify our instructors better. Are they teaching because they are “tired” of being behind the chair? Or, is teaching their life long passion. There is a HUGE difference.

Our profession will never go away. Our Seniors need us….everyone needs us.

We need to be educated and if we need to understand, we are on our own.

There are hundreds and thousands of mediums to learn from. Do your homework.

CJ Murray, President

CJ Murray
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