Nail Technician’s Beginner Checklist
Setting out on a new journey is always exciting, especially when it includes applying gorgeous manicures and creating extravagant nail art that helps your clients look their best.
While dreams of owning your own salon may have you pursuing a self-employed career, starting out can seem overwhelming. So, to help you take the first step towards your new career, we’ve sat down with Sophie Doros, owner of Hatfield’s The White Clinic and Bio Sculpture ambassador since 2018, to find out how to get started.
What core products should your kit include?
If you’re planning to work with Bio Sculpture’s wide variety of gorgeous colours, then you’ll need to invest in a UV LED curing lamp. An essential part of any technician’s kit, investing in a lamp you can rely on will make sure you deliver manicures of the highest quality.
When discussing curing lamps, Sophie highly recommended the Spectra Curing Unit, which has been designed to emit a wider range of UV and UV LED spectrums to ensure gentle, yet optimum curing of Bio Sculpture gels.
“If I were to advise anyone on core products that I love, I’d recommend the new Spectra curing lamp, it’s new, and it’s brilliant.”
The next thing Sophie mentioned as an essential part of any kit is a wide range of brushes which enable her to create original sets of nail art for clients of The White Clinic.
Perhaps the most obvious core product is a wide range of different gel colours. This ensures you have enough variety to attract customers who might be looking for a classic French manicure or perhaps something new like the Nights in Rome collection.
“You’ll want to get your popular colours first, reds, whites and purples. I started with a selection of 15 or 20 different shades and quickly found that the more colours I had, the more clients I’d get.”
When it comes to starter kits, at RE:NEW, we provide everyone who attends one of our Bio Sculpture training courses with a free starter kit, so they can get going straight away. This includes the Spectra Curing Lamp, professional-grade brushes and some of the most popular colours.
What Insurance do you need?
Sure, maybe you didn’t need insurance when you were practising on friends and family, they’re not likely to sue, and any mistakes can be simply soaked off. However, expanding your client base does present a few risks and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
You might knock nail gel over a client’s expensive coat, or a loose cable could lead to a trip in your salon, either way, there’s plenty of unforeseeable events that make Public Liability Insurance a necessity. Accidents happen all the time, and this protects you from any potential compensation payments and legal fees. Alongside this, a policy that covers your tools can be important in the case they are stolen, damaged or lost.
How much should you charge at the beginning?
Pricing predicaments can be common when you first start your career as a nail technician. Charge too much, and you could find clients going elsewhere, too little and you’re essentially giving your time away for free.
During our chat, Sophie explained her original pricing structure from when she first started as a nail technician.
“When I first started, I was doing it for around £10. Generally speaking, a set of Bio Sculpture nails typically costs the technician around £4, so I was only making a few quid on each set. However, that was just friends and family to start with and helped generate more business and allowed me to keep training.”
It’s important to remember your client isn’t just paying for the product; they’re paying for your time and experience. So, as you continue to grow and your overheads continue to increase, it’s only natural that your prices will reflect this.
“I slowly upped my prices to £20 and then, when I moved out of my mum and dad’s I had much more experience and charged £28, which I’d stick to for quite a while. Today, with my own business, I can comfortably charge £30, which is the usual rate for a full Bio Sculpture manicure.”
However, price changes don’t just happen overnight; Sophie’s increases were implemented over five years as she built her business and experience.
Adjusting costs can be a major concern for any technician, but if the client base is there and you can continue to provide value-for-money, then you’ll still find new and loyal customers won’t mind paying a bit extra.
How important are business cards?
While some see business cards as a crucial tool, others see them as old-fashioned. However, when you’re starting out as a nail technician, they can help you get your name out there. Sophie believes that business cards are a necessity and was utilising them early on in her career.
“Even when I started out in my mum and dad’s dining room, I was handing out business cards, it just gives a touch of professionalism. Two of the most common questions I get are ‘do you have an Instagram account?’ and ‘do you have a business card?’. So, if you’ve always got some in your purse, bag or even car, then you’ve got something to hand someone, so they remember you.”
However, business cards aren’t the only way to get your name out there, and today, it’s more important than ever to have a social presence. The beauty industry is all about aesthetics, so your social profiles should showcase your fabulous creations.
“For me, Instagram is the number one, closely followed by Facebook. Generally speaking, the younger clientele comes from Instagram, while Facebook attracts an older audience, so it’s important to have both. Currently, I post about 3 pictures a day and save a lot more into my drafts, so when I’m not working or on holiday, I can still post content every day.
If you’re just starting out, I’d say, keep it fresh, engaging and use stories to create polls and present questions, your audience will love engaging with you. Even random stuff, sometimes it’s good to put it up, I did one about Great British Bake-Off and posted a photo of the TV screen. Even if it’s not engaging with potential customers, increasing your following can make you look more established.”
This level of customer engagement could be the difference between a new customer choosing you or your competition down the road.
At the end of our talk, Sophie shared some final inspiring words for new technicians looking to turn their passion into a career.
“If you want this to be your sole job and you want to do this full-time, then you need to smash it every day, so you can go part-time in both jobs and eventually full-time in the beauty industry.”
Sophie Doros started her career with one of our Bio Sculpture training courses and since then has swapped her parents’ dining room for her very own Hertfordshire-based clinic, The White Clinic. To find out more check out our video interview below or follow Sophie’s clinic on Instagram @thewhiteclinic_.