Introducing Sara Day, Salon owner of The Retreat Beauty and one of our Bio Ambassadors for 2018. We caught up with Sara to hear her story about how Bio Sculpture and running a busy salon fit into her life.
Why did you decide to start a career in nails?
It was all by chance. I had trained in beauty, but then specialised in massage and trained to be a homeopath. The salon I was working from had no gel nail technician but a high demand for the treatment, so I decided to train with Bio Sculpture.
What made you choose Bio Sculpture?
I chose Bio Sculpture to train with as 12 years ago the brand was already the market leader we know today. To me Bio Sculpture was at the front of the gel revolution. 12 years ago gel was still little known and everyone getting their nails done was still having acrylic nails - something I’ve never had nor had any desire to train in or use. To me it was important to be able to use a product that was kind to nails and encourages natural growth, while also having incredible results. The majority of my clients i see every 3 weeks - some every 4 weeks, returning to get their gels re-done while still having immaculate nails, just re-growth showing. I don’t see many products that offer those results.
Why does a career as a manicurist suit you?
I love fantastic results, seeing people and making others happy. I spend my days chatting away to lots of different people, all of who have such amazing life stories to tell, from experiences, travel, history, family, social, while i apply them beautiful and perfect Bio Sculpture gels and they leave happy. what more can one ask from a day! I love being able to run and grow my business which gives me the mental challenge i need while also being able to go into work in a space thats beautiful, relaxing and happy.
What is your favourite Bio Sculpture colour? I love all the Bio Sculpture colours, and gosh there are a lot! If you push me to choose one i’d say No.208 or No.130 - I love bright colours, even in winter.
What are your top three tips for someone wanting to make a career change and become a manicurist?
1) Be a perfectionist, perfect your art at gel application, getting as close to the cuticles as possible without touching, make sure the client is always happy with their finished nails before they leave. Your clients nails are your BEST advertisement, and people will always ask where someone has had their nails done. Make your work environment special and somewhere your client wants to return.
2) Long hours, if you are able; work hard and work long, building up your client base, getting a good reputation for yourself is key and that comes from being the best at what you do. Offering evening and weekend appointments is important, as most people work 9-5, but set the hours and days you work rather than being free at anytime.
3) Love what you do - if you love your work and what you do, that will shine through in your results. I love seeing my clients, some i’ve had since i first trained, the clients make each and every appointment different, all my clients are lovely. They are coming in for a treat to get their nails done and I love making that treat extra special for them with little extras, especially remembering details about my clients - colours they like, how they like their nails shaped, if they like tea or coffee, important family events, things they have done. I let the client lead the appointment with conversations - some people come and chat and share everything with you, and some just enjoy the peace and relaxation of the treat. I love what i do and have never once dreaded the long hours, long days or not wanted to go to work.
How many hours a week do you work?
Pre-children (up to 7 years ago) my business had grown to me working 4 days a week of 12-14 hour days seeing clients and 1 day a week for paper work. I was crazy busy and loving every second, clients loved that they could see me before work or after work. When i had my first baby I started down the route of employment. I employed 2 girls to take over my work load and it worked well. I did loose a number of clients, some people do just want to see you for they like the way you do their nails, or personalities match better etc. I went back to work 6 months later while still employing the 2 girls i had taken on as there was no way i could work such long hours with a young baby who was now my priority. 22 months after my first chid was born i had my second baby, and also opened my first salon and increased the staff from 2 to 6. 2013 was a very busy year with a huge amount of juggling, and some how i managed to juggle building the new business, a new baby and working. Family were a huge help as were the amazing girls working for me - i would juggle putting a clients nails on to soak, going upstairs at the salon to breast feed and then coming down to finish the clients nails, ensuring they were in and out the door in an hour! In 2015 i had my 3rd baby, and yes i have still managed to find a way to work while also having quality time with all my babies.
Now, with a 7, 5 and 3 year old, I work 24 hours a week in the salon over 2 and a half days and fit in all my paperwork at night when the children are asleep. This gives me a wonderful work/life balance. I am very lucky that i have the most incredible staff at the salon - 2 who have been with me since the day i opened - who run things seamlessly when I’m not in. The other girls also apply the gel in the same way as I, so clients always have the same treatment when they come into The Retreat
How do you find your clients?
Recommendation and a great high street location. I wish I was better with social media, but my time constraints just don’t give me the time to put into doing this. However saying that on recommendations and high street location alone, business is booming, and our focus at the salon is always about giving the best treatments and ensuring each and every client leaves happy and with the desire to return.