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My "I can't even..." rant video and bonus explanation

11 May 2017 9:30 PM | Michelle Pugh (Administrator)

Well, here we are again. I have no problem opening my trap and calling out something I think is BS as the BS that it is! In my latest controversial rant on "Nails Over Coffee", I knew that I was going to get some people hot under the collar. And I totally did. Yay me! A goal for this week accomplished. 

Seriously, if you haven't seen the video yet, you can see it right here...


So now that you have watched that (hopefully in it's entirety), I can make a few points that I feel strongly about which might have gotten missed in the delivery...

First off, I am NOT attacking anyone personally. Ok, well, maybe a few people who I don't particularly care for who don't really like me either, but mostly I am calling out the BEHAVIOR, not the person/people. Professionally I have a great deal of respect for a lot of our industry leaders, and personally I think most of them are pretty cool peeps. 

Ok, that being said, on to the disinfection component of the rant. Basic life lesson here- it is important to know what you don't know. Nobody knows all the things about anything. Stephen Hawking does not know all the things about astrophysics, so I think it's fair to say that no nail industry person knows all the things about nails. So while I am fairly educated in science... from a college... I know that I don't know all the things about disinfection control. What I DO KNOW is that there are people who's job is to know the parts I don't know! 

Insurance has one part of what I don't know. There are people who sit in tall glass office buildings who's entire job is risk analysis. They examine the facts, the statistics (yuck, my least fave), and the history then make an assessment on how likely there is to be a claim or a lawsuit, and how much that is likely to cost. Then they look at the pool of people who will be purchasing said insurance, and they charge a rate that will allow the company to make a profit even after defending in lawsuits and paying settlements. And those number crunchers have decided that $99-$200 a year, roughly, is sufficient to do that. How much do you pay for car insurance? Medical insurance? Life insurance? Yep, you guessed it, they have decided that we are pretty low risk, and that can be inferred from the prices they charge. AND we HAVE to have it by juristiction law in most places (which generally drives up prices because it is not optional). AND they are trying to MAKE A PROFIT (after all their other business expenses like payroll, advertising, sales, et al). We can infer by how low the price is that we are actually IN FACT fairly low risk. Just for comparison, doctors in the United States pay anywhere from $5k a year to upwards of $100k, and even more if they are in certain states and a specialty surgeon. Most of us pay more than $100 A MONTH in car insurance, even if we have never had a claim. I hope that helps explain my train of thought.

I also trust our regulatory agencies in places where we are regulated. So here in my state, Washington, our board is pretty on top of it. Remember the fish pedicures thing? It took only about 2 months for our board to say "Fish can't be sanitized and you can't swap out water with fish in it, so NOPE, you can't do that here". Period. Ok. And they said "MMA is causing a problem in nail enhancement services, and the FDA has said it is not appropriate for cosmetic enhancements, so NOPE, can't even have that present in your salon here". All over it. So, if they have deemed that taking an implement, cleaning it of debris in soap and water, soaking it for manufacturers recommended time in a hospital grade EPA registered disinfectant, rinsing off, drying, and storing in a non airtight closed container until use is appropriate.... then I tend to believe them. Especially since I have never once seen a problem from tools disinfected in this manner... from my business or anyone I have crossed paths with. WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING WORKS JUST FINE. THE PROBLEM IS GETTING PEOPLE TO FOLLOW THE STANDARD... not creating a new one that really appears to be overkill.

But see, all that really doesn't matter and is just my opinion. I get to have one of those, and it is based in factual reasoning as I have explained. Here is the point that I think many who have negative things to say about it are missing: if you don't think that disinfection is good enough... then by all means autoclave! If you think sterilization is the only way, all the more power to you! Go for it! Make it a part of your overall business strategy! Do it properly and charge your clients more! Get it, you professional nail tech, you! I have NO PROBLEM with people deciding for themselves that the standard is less than what they want and going over and above. You do you, nail artist! Think jetted pedi spas are the devil? Don't use one! Think that efiles can't be used safely on the natural nail? Don't do it! THESE THINGS ARE A PART OF BUSINESS STRATEGY! Don't look now, but you are plotting your brand! GO YOU!!! I am all for that. Just don't tell me I have to do things the way you do, and treat people like crap with snotty and righteous remarks when they think the standard is good enough. THAT is not ok. 

There are people leaving our industry in droves because they "can't make any money". Yeah, it is nearly impossible for most nail techs to make a profit AND:

  1. Have a nice place to work in, set up with a $500 nail table;
  2. With $1500 in ventilation;
  3. In a $4500 pedicure throne with disposable liners;
  4. With a $2000 autoclave system and supplies;
  5. To buy quality products from pro manufacturers and attend their training, plus have a workable selection of nail art supplies;
  6. and not charge prices that drive away about 90% of your target market in any given area, and in some areas much more than that.
Can it be done? Of course it can. Should it be done by everyone? NOPE. The customer segmentation exists whether you like it or not. I may not know everything, but I do know quite a bit about consumer behavior and marketing strategy, and there is a market of salon clients who are PURELY PRICE MOTIVATED. That is why there will ALWAYS BE people who DIY, people who frequent discount salons, people who pay a mid range price for an above par service, and people who pay top dollar for a top experience. Do you know why people don't stop going to salons that are dirty, destroy nails, and do half-assed work? Because they don't care enough to pay more. Right or wrong, that is what it is. Just like some people will NEVER see the value in salon services. And just like some people will pay top dollar for all the things. We DO NOT ELEVATE our industry with excessive regulations, we divide it. That is exactly WHY there is a constant fight to keep us regulated- the powers that be are totally cool with the "invisible hand of the market" letting us sort ourselves out, and we are not helping our cause by infighting. Let's instead set a goal of getting minimum disinfection standards met consistently in every salon regardless of price, and let the other stuff be optional positioning strategy.

Still with me?

BUT EVEN SAYING ALL THAT, if that is all you think this is about then you are really missing the big point.... WORDS MATTER AND TALKING SHITTY TO PEOPLE WHO DON'T DO THINGS "YOUR WAY" NEEDS TO STOP. If you think I am talking to you right now, you are probably right. Let's go deeper with a few examples: 
  • social media group #8437 has a post about a funky looking nail. Educator nail tech Jane says "OMG, I can't believe you are even touching that without gloves on!" HOW ABOUT INSTEAD---- "That really looks from the picture like it might be infected. I usually would wear gloves with that, and it may be something you don't want to work on until it gets better." WORDS MATTER.
  • instagram post from @popularnailperson is a short video where they are getting monomer all over the skin. Jane Q Nail person says "Stop slopping monomer all over the skin, that's how allergies happen." HOW ABOUT INSTEAD---- "Your finished work is really beautiful! In my experience, I have seen lots of contact dermatitis from long term exposure to liquid monomer on the skin. If you would like to talk about that, I'd love to go into more detail. Message me! :)" WORDS MATTER.
  • facebook nail group #906 has a post of a set of lonnnnng nails with a lot of art, asking for helpful hints. Manicurist Suzy Q says "EEEEEWWWWW! Those are gross! I would never do those on anyone! And they are really close to the skin, so that's gonna lift." HOW ABOUT INSTEAD ---- preferably, Suzy Q Judgemental would just scroll on by and keep her trap shut, but if not... "Wow, those are long! Long nails are hard to do, so you did a great job with that. I personally don't do a lot of extreme lengths so I can't comment about that, but it looks like you may have gotten a bit close to the skin on some of them. Not a problem in the first few days, but eventually could contribute to some lifting, especially with the weight of the gems added. Thanks for sharing! :)" WORDS MATTER.
  • on a public facebook page on a post about "What primer should I use?", an industry scientist in the process of explaining why we should use the primer that the manufacturer recommends for the system, states that nail techs as a whole are under educated by choice and really don't care about doing nails safely. HOW ABOUT INSTEAD ---- "Of course, my specialty is the science aspect not the salon service aspect. I encourage all technicians to seek out education in their preferred product line and to use their products to manufacturers instructions. The answer is always MORE EDUCATION! :)" WORDS MATTER. 
Even if you truly believe the tech was crazy for not wearing gloves, the monomer is going to cause a huge problem and how can they not know that, that long nails are vile and disgusting things, and that nail techs are not concerned with education and as a whole are not interested in doing things the "right way".... keep the snarky thoughts in your head and put the polite ones into the world, whether that is on social media, in a classroom, or at a show.

See the difference? YOUR WAY IS NOT THE RIGHT WAY OR THE ONLY WAY, AND HOW YOU TALK TO PEOPLE MATTERS. If you do not have the time to be polite, save the link to the post or page and come back to it later when you do. If you educate or sell a product, clearly you believe in it, but you need to know that a) your product is NOT the "best" and b) successful people use other products so yours is not the only solution. If you can't say something constructive and in a nice way, then don't say anything at all. Disagreeing is fine; great, even! Disagree respectfully is all I ask. Is that really too much to ask?!? Notice I keep using the word 'polite' instead of 'nice'. It would be, well, NICE if we were all nice but I'm a realist. I'll settle for polite.

Every time I go off on a tangent like this, I get dozens of private messages from people thanking me for saying what they are too intimidated to, and how they don't really interact in the industry because of the attitudes of the people who are the LOUD MINORITY. When you blast someone who is barely making a profit because they are not doing things a very expensive and overkill way, but they love nails plus HAVE A FAMILY TO FEED and are eeking by meeting standards, it makes you look like an ass and them way less likely to ask for help in the future. And that is a recipe for a short life in the nail industry, and then we complain about turnover and not being able to keep good techs! Our industry has grown so much, can you imagine what it will do if we all work together? Oh, the places we'll go!

In closing:
  • WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING WORKS JUST FINE. THE PROBLEM IS GETTING PEOPLE TO FOLLOW THE STANDARD.
  • I have NO PROBLEM with people deciding for themselves that the standard is less than what they want and going over and above. THESE THINGS ARE A PART OF BUSINESS STRATEGY! Don't look now, but you are plotting your brand! GO YOU!!!
  • WORDS MATTER AND TALKING SHITTY TO PEOPLE WHO DON'T DO THINGS "YOUR WAY" NEEDS TO STOP.
  • YOUR WAY IS NOT THE RIGHT WAY OR THE ONLY WAY, AND HOW YOU TALK TO PEOPLE MATTERS. 
  • We have to find a way to come together, or divided we will fall. That is how we elevate our profession and create a prosperous industry for all of us.
Thanks for taking the time to read all of this. If you want to reach me, I'm only an email or messenger message away! Oh, and one last thing... not one ounce of my self esteem is tied up in being a cool kid, or in what the in-crowd thinks of me, so trust me when I say that your opinion of me doesn't matter in the slightest. ;) 

Always first a NAIL TECH, and PEACE, LOVE, NAILS!

Michelle CP

Copyright 2015 Michelle Pugh dba University of Nails
Michelle Pugh is a sole proprietor in Washington, United States. 15 S. Oregon Ave Box A-6, Tacoma, WA 98409

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