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When $#!T Goes Wrong In The Salon


Almost everything in life follows a certain pattern, cycle, or rhythm. Some consider it the daily ritual while others simply refer to it as routine; then the $#!T hits the fan. It feels like it came out of nowhere. Slowing down to set up certain practices and protocols can be one way to find yourself less on the defensive in these stress inducing situations. Enter Murphy’s Law with a more neutral delivery, “Whatever can happen will happen.” Wondering how not to be at the mercy of such things? The simple answer is planning for worst case scenarios. What are some of the worst things that happen in a salon? As a former salon owner herself and the Young Nails Director of Operations, Tracey Reierson is all too familiar with the splatter. Here is a list of her top five messy salon moments and how to keep the unavoidable crap to a minimum.

Every nail tech agrees, late clients are definitely the worst. Your schedule is set. Your book is full. And then it happens. The straggler client is running late, sets off a chain reaction and there goes your day. Obviously we feel #blessed for every paying client. Yet you can’t help but feel a little insulted when they don’t give you the courtesy of respect. So how do we wrangle and get that respect on our own? We ask for it. We institute a late policy. We make sure every client is very aware of it. Hit them over the head with the policy (in the nicest way possible). It’s posted on your social media accounts, on your website, and at your workstation. It’s sent at the time of the booking and again at the appointment confirmation text. When the late person finally arrives; make sure to address the tardiness straight off the bat to manage everyone’s expectations. As the business owner, you get to decide what you let slide. Respecting yourself sets a precedent. Friendly reminder to look in the mirror. Nothing harder to swallow than a reprimand from someone who is equally guilty of the same crime of tardiness.

Everyone experiences a space case moment here or there. Maybe they accidentally forget what day of the week it is, but whose problem is that really? The No Show client; it’s annoying and nobody likes it especially if it’s a standing appointment every 2-3 weeks. Treat it much like the Late Client. Make sure you have a No Show or Last Minute Cancellation Policy that pays for your time even if they aren’t in the chair. Make sure your clients are aware of it at the time of booking. Enforce the No Show policy every single time. Make no exceptions. This is about being a business owner and respectful boundaries. Communication is key.

When you make a rule, stick to it. Take the instance of your client who thinks it’s ok to bring their kid in. When you make an exception for one client, others will soon follow. We know that not all kids are created equal. As a business owner, you decide what kind of salon environment you want to provide and if kids have a place in it. The problem with kids in the salon is liability and distraction. They can unintentionally eat up time; and suck up all the air in the room. Clearly state your policies on kids and this can be done with empathy.

Disrespect can weave itself into any situation. We’ve talked a lot about our clients' bad habits. Now let’s address the potential of our fellow nail techs. You know the ones with the perpetual case of sticky fingers who “borrow” your products and rarely return them. Borrowing is a chronic disease. Hello salon friends, that kind of borrowing is also known as stealing. Another WTF moment is thinking you’re fully stocked in nail products only to find it’s gone missing. Nail files and art supplies pinched right out of your drawer. Not part of the plan, right? Why should you be put out when you regularly keep your stock piles up? Now is the time to get comfortable with uncomfortable conversations. You must lay down the law. Have an open conversation about when you expect to be repaid, send them a Venmo request for payment or be crystal clear that no one but you is allowed in your supply closet. You must communicate what you think is acceptable and consistently hold the boundary.

Drama Finds Me. It implies a twisted sense of attraction and we can’t figure out why we’re finding ourselves in unhealthy work situations over and over again. Maybe it’s a toxic boss or a fellow nail tech who takes delight in making your life miserable or has a crazy split personality disorder. We can’t control what other people say or do. We can control whether or not we participate in their drama and ingest their negativity. Have the courage to speak up for yourself when you feel like a punching bag. The overriding theme in handling all the worst case scenarios is that you have a strong sense of self-worth. It’s hard when you feel like you are being judged and slandered. The first step in dealing with a toxic work environment is to openly address the aggression you are experiencing directly with the person dishing the negative vibes or with your salon manager/owner who might be able to help smooth things over. We know that sometimes the salon owner is the problem and that they might be responsible for running a hellhole. Whatever the case, if you don’t say anything about how you are being treated poorly, nothing can be fixed. There is nothing wrong with communicating your needs and asking for better work conditions. Keeping it all to yourself can lead to resentment and anger. The bad energy will seep into your client relationships and taint other areas of your life. We don’t want that.

Once you’ve been able to advocate for yourself and things don’t improve take a minute to examine what’s really keeping you there. If you know your boundaries, you can recognize when a new escape plan needs to be hatched and how to steer clear of the salon tension. Often people’s bad behavior has little to do with the person on the receiving end and more to do with the toxic person’s own issues being projected onto to you. It’s your life and you get to choose who is in it. Maybe it might take a little time but you can make a plan to leave. Find another salon that doesn’t let that kind of bullying behavior fly. Toxic unhappy people are everywhere. It can be someone who you work with or just that nasty client who drives everyone mad. Toxic behavior is unacceptable. Take the power into your own hands. Be confident. The universe has your back and you have the talent to move on. A good life awaits you, elsewhere.

**This is an adaption from our YN Biz Talk playlist on YouTube, “BIZ TALK: WHEN $#!T GOES WRONG IN THE SALON”.

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