As I was scrolling through SM this past week, I’m overwhelmed with all the brands, the products, the options we have available to us as Nail Technicians.

Every day there is a new polish line a new gel line, a new glitter product, a new foot care brand. I’m reminded of how little we were aware of before the SM scene came into play. You can look at our trade magazines and see how “thin” they are. Mfg’s aren’t using print media as much….they don’t really have to.

I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. It’s good because we want to make sure we stay abreast of the newest, latest, greatest. But yet, it’s bad because does product hopping build stability? SM creates instability. What a dilemma. I certainly don’t envy sitting in your chair in today’s world. How do you decide?

I was recently at a client of mine who carries OPI nail & gel  polish, CND Shellac and Vinylux and we just added in the LCN brand of nail polish and gel polish.  Just the storage on how to display all these polishes have been a  challenge.

I was curious.  I asked my client why they feel the need to carry “it all”.  The answer was simply….it’s what our clients ask for.

The first thought in my head was “our clients are running our Business”!  Are they?

In a million years, I wouldn’t want to own a Salon these days.  God Bless all of you who do.  When I had my Salon, the options were minimal.  If we were to hear about a new product, it was via the trade shows or we read about it in a magazine.

It’s not only that though.  Staff didn’t have as many options and our clients didn’t have as many options.  Heck, I remember clients telling me I had to many polish choices one time.  I think I had maybe 25 at the time.  They said “too many choices makes it’s too confusing”.  They were right.

That’s how I feel when I look through SM.  It’s one new thing after another.  I see the same people over and over again endorsing each new product.  It’s mind boggling.  Did the one you just endorsed a month ago go bad all of a sudden?  I’m confused.

Like all of you, I receive my “memories” in my feed on a regular basis.  Memories of trainers absolutely “in love” with the line they represent, “it’s the best”, “wish I knew about this earlier” etc. etc…..only to see them totally dissing the line a year later.  It’s sad really, to see how much product hopping there really is.

Let me share what I know about product hopping;

  1. It reduces credibility – How do your clients believe what you say about a product being “the best”, if the best changes every month.  I’m not talking about adding additional products, I’m talking about complete replacement
  2. It is costly – What do you do with the product you just bought?  It sits on your back shelves.  That’s costly.  The math equation on product waste would be exasperating..
  3. It is confusing – How does your team become educated and specialized?  It’s difficult enough AND time consuming to learn everything there is to know about a single product.  Having to start all over again and over again and over again…..has to be confusing.
  4. It is unprofessional – yes, it is.  It shows lack of loyalty and it shows lack of commitment.

I can’t help but think of Salons this way.  You have the Brick & Mortar and you have the Amazons.

The Brick & Mortar Salons are specialized.  They are well adversed in their area of Business.  They specialize in a couple of things…not all things.  They are knowledgeable, they present well, they are customer service oriented and when you enter into their Business, you feel the Professionalism.

The Amazon Salons have it all.  They don’t specialize in anything in particular, they product hop, they are not educated on the products they carry, they are more industrial.  They are more about the quantity then they are the quality.

There is a vast difference and it is very noticeable.

So how do we control our Business.  What do we do about all these newest, greatest, latest products flashing in our faces all over SM.  For me, it seems rather simple.  I just follow what I have always followed.

When I chose to add another brand to my venue, it took me 9 months to find a brand.  Why?

  1. I had been teaching and preaching for 7 years how amazing the brand Footlogix was.  If I all of a sudden came in with a brand so different, what would all of you had thought about me?  About what I have been sharing for 7 years.  Would all of a sudden everything I had said mean’t nothing?  How could you trust me.
  2. I knew my clients and I knew what you were missing.  I needed to find something that was the same…..yet different..
  3. When I recently added PodoSafe to my venue, it was the same thing.  The same, yet different.  It was the Missing Piece to what we needed in the Foot Care room.  I had been looking for at least a year for a product which could make us more money in our Salons, be the same yet different and a product which, would allow me to branch out to grow my Business.

In short, there are many opportunities which come my way as a Distributor.  It’s as important for me to think about what I bring in, as is it for a Salon.  Brick & Mortar or Amazon.

So do our clients run our Business?  I guess in some ways they do.  But, we also have to be sensible enough to consciously think about what we do, how often we make changes, how it looks from the outside in and what it is doing to our bottom line.

CJ Murray, President