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How the Pursuit of the Perfect Nail is Ruining Your Business

We may have baited you in the past with phrases like, “Practice Makes Perfect”. We owe you an apology. We made a mistake. The saying should actually go, “Practice Makes Pretty Damn Good Progress”. The idea that every single nail you file, build, and polish must be perfect in every way possible, in order to build a solidly booked nail business, is a myth. We hate to break it to you; but the pursuit of the perfect nail has zero place in your salon business. It’s completely counter productive and unattainable.

We’ve all been brainwashed by Instagram or (back in the day) in the pages of magazines that show a set of nails lit to perfection. You know that kind of perfection doesn’t actually exist in real life? It’s a smoke and mirrors illusion, art directed and manipulated under meticulously controlled conditions where a small army of professionals work for several hours on a hired hand model for a single look that is further digitally edited to represent unattainable ideals of beauty.

First, let us clarify. We are not condoning slacker or sloppy work habits. We’re actually encouraging you to perform to the best of your abilities. Know your work, identify your strengths and stretches. What’s crucial is that you find your flow and create optimal work conditions to be your best self and offer services from that positive space. Set yourself free from the mental prison that comes from chasing perfection.

In our experience, that kind of manufactured perfectionism sets the tone for a constant and steady state of panic and lays a pretty clear path to a nervous breakdown. The inner critic, that voice in your head sets the trap for you to fail before you even start. It undermines your work. It’s like a frenemy. It’s well disguised negativity. In life, there is no such thing as true perfection. Perfection is narrative that says you are not good enough.

Everything in nature comes with irregularities and imperfections to form a unique beauty of its own. We have to recognize that a beautiful set of nails is not flawless. We have to limit self-sabotaging behaviors and treat ourselves with a certain respect. Do not tear down your work in front of your clients. If there is a small detail that doesn’t meet your expectations; keep it to yourself. Take a mental note for the next time. Nail techs who complain of picky clientele might benefit from seeing how they talk about their finished work in front of them. It’s shocking to note, they’re the ones initiating the critique.

Over here, we’re fans of Progress not Perfection. Progress is profitable; perfection isn’t. Progress is real, rock steady, and life changing. This is the true transformative pursuit you should strive towards in your everyday business.

Habib Salo, CEO
Young Nails