NASN Atlanta! April 18th

NASN - Atlanta-salon-gurusSalon Gurus will be there with bells on!  Are you joining us?

This day-long networking event gives you access to product owners and representatives like no other venue. You’ll meet like-minded estheticians, owners and managers that are dealing with the exact issues you face every week. Come join us!

Going Solo!

The time has come; you need to leave your current salon in order to begin the next phase of your career. How do you handle this change? What can you do to ensure that your clients will be able to find you? Follow these guidelines for a smooth transition.

Giving Notice: Do You or Don’t You?
An unpleasant reality of the beauty industry: Often, when a nail technician gives notice of her intent to leave the salon, the owner reacts in fear and terminates the working relationship immediately. We’ve all heard stories about messy scenes that disrupt a salon’s business and damage client relations. However, your move doesn’t have to follow that script. Depending on the reason you make your move, you can take several preemptive measures to alleviate the owner’s concerns.

It Depends…
Primarily, why are you leaving the salon? If you aren’t happy in your current situation due to strained relations with your boss, it stands to reason you won’t discuss your departure in-depth with her. However, if you plan to leave to further your career, she could be understanding. Be professional and give a proper notice—in writing, preferably. How much notice you give depends on what you feel the owner expects. A good rule of thumb is to give at least the amount of time equivalent to one pay period. For instance, if you receive payment every two weeks, give at least two weeks’ notice. If you’re a booth renter who pays monthly, give at least one month’s notice. Anything less than two weeks could send the owner into a panic. If possible, take into consideration the owner’s need to reorganize and start the hiring process. She should be assured that the salon’s clients will be taken care of.

In the event that the move is spurred by strained relations, a protracted notice may not be honored and you may be asked to leave immediately. You can try to avoid this scenario by behaving in a completely professional manner. Follow these suggestions:

• Be forthright and neutral in your communications. Don’t place blame. You want to walk away whole.
• Don’t discuss your move with everyone in town except the owner! Be discreet.
• Take into consideration the fact that some clients will want to stay with the current salon for convenience; it’s not a personal slap at you, and you shouldn’t make it personal.
• Assure the owner that you won’t be soliciting the salon’s clients. Two reasons why you shouldn’t: First, because it’s not a necessary action—the clients who want your services will come to you; and second, it puts the clients on the spot and creates unnecessary awkwardness.
• Reassure the owner that you don’t want to wreak havoc on her business—you simply need to make this move as a career choice—and wish her success.
• Give an appropriate notice, but have a plan in place that will allow you to calmly walk out the door if need be. Be sure you have cleared your gear and personal items into a single location. On your downtime, get yourself organized and remove all superfluous items from your work area.
• Work on good communications. Write down your thoughts and read from a checklist when you confront your boss (if necessary), but try to keep your brain engaged and your emotions in check.
• Finally, don’t burn your bridges! By being the consummate professional, you can help defuse any possible threat the owner may feel.

Doing everything you can to assure the owner that you don’t wish to disrupt her business will pay off for you. Not only will it make the move easier on you and your clients, but it will also pave the way for clients who ask for you at a later date to get accurate information about where you are.

-Karen Hodges

Levels of “Clean” – Sanitation, Disinfection, Sterilization

Microblading and other PMU demands high levels of infection control.

As an educator of several advanced safety training programs, I would like comment on the topic of aseptic protocols. ALL salons (or tattoo establishments, in some states) need to strive for perfect infection control – it’s not achievable, of course, but the closer you are, the better. The cost is simply not worth one, single, solitary infection.

First, this is a new field. It’s an ancient art, but permanent makeup is sweeping the land with “brows on fleek” Instagram swiftness. There are no long-standing proven protocols for safety and infection control. Therefore, we are responsible for writing them…and following them…ourselves.

There are three levels of “Clean” –

SANITATION is “removal of gross debris” according to the CDC. This means physically removing anything that might impair disinfection. Scrubbing something with a stiff brush under running water is said to remove 99% of all pathogens…but does not take care of micro cracks, nooks and crannies. This needs to be done BEFORE either disinfection or sterilization to prevent any area from being physically occluded.

DISINFECTION is the “kill of pathogens and spores affected by the particular disinfecting agent.” Not all disinfectants have the same kill rate. None are effective against every pathogen. They all must be done in STRICT accordance with the manufacturer’s labels. It must be mixed FRESH, and kept clean and uncontaminated. I recommend dilution with distilled water (tap water can have so much chemical saturation it can affect the efficacy of the disinfectant) so simply open a new jug of distilled water, pour out a few ounces and pour in the amount recommended per the label. Pour from this to fill your disinfectant tray, and change it out throughout the day as needed. (many implements, many change-outs).

STERILIZATION is the ultimate level of clean – it is defined as “annihilation of all microbial life” – bacteria, fungus, virus and spores. It is the only verifiable level of “clean” – your pouches with indicators on them will tell you whether or not the cycle was completed properly. Spore tests conducted monthly will reassure you of sterilization.

Some things to think about:

There are more “super bugs” out there than ever before. MRSA has left the hospitals and is now called “CA-MRSA” (Community Associated MRSA) and the strains of staph that have evolved are resistant to first line antibiotic drugs. Herpes is very common. C-diff is present nearly every time someone takes antibiotics. All of these are present and viable on the skin for up to 48 hours before a lesion is manifested.

The cost per service of perfect infection control is nominal over many services. You should be charging for your time, your talent and the materials you use: high grade pigments that are proven to be stable, quality needles and cartridges, good hand pieces, excellent numbing products. Why wouldn’t you ALSO spend a few dollars making sure you offer the “cleanest clean” you can?

Black light shows microbe contamination on every surface touched!

This is NOT the time to cut corners! You can buy cheap table covers….or inexpensive head bands, etc. but you don’t want to cheap out on infection control. Better to charge more and have absolute confidence that your clients AND you are protected from carrying infectious pathogens home.

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“Glove Etiquette” – it’s a “Thing”

Glove Etiquette is made up of the various protocols and activities required in the safe and effective use of gloves as a PPE.

Have you noticed on TV the docs holding their newly gloved hands up in the air and awkwardly using their shoulders to push doors open? Yeah…that’s a thing because they don’t want to contaminate their new gloves with any crud that is on every single surface! Even more important is after the skin has been broken, you do not want to touch anything outside your work zone with a contaminated glove.

Gloves are very important barriers between you and pathogens. They are also important as barriers between YOUR CLIENT and pathogens….when used properly. I shudder when I see videos of gloved practitioners reaching into a supposedly sanitary container, or touching every cabinet door around them to get things…ugh!

Set up your work zone properly by dispensing enough disposables, product, prep materials, etc. every time in a Sanitary Materials Area (SMA). Many use a Mayo cart (tray on wheels) or similar hard surface tool holder. Dispense plenty of everything before the service — throwing away a few unused gauze pads is less than a penny…never put them back in with your new ones. If you have to get more out, take both your gloves off, properly turning the first one “inside out” as you pull it off, then holding it in the other hand and turning it inside out over the both of them, containing the contaminated surfaces inside the second glove. Reach over and get whatever you need to continue, then re-glove. Make it a habit to NEVER touch anything in your space wearing contaminated gloves. And nothing comes out of that area and back into the environment without being disinfected on the outsides.
Of course you are going to wipe down every surface after every service, but peace of mind knowing you are wiping away “normal” contamination from daily living instead of blood or blood serum from contaminated gloves is priceless.

Gloved hands? No touching anything but your immediate work materials and your client.

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I was Inspired to “Clean House”

In reviewing the last year I have been thinking that I want to “run leaner” and get rid of some of the unnecessary “stuff” in my business. I became inspired to clean up my house, so to speak. I invite you to take a look at your books and clean up outstanding items:

Purge clients that you haven’t seen in 12 months – if they haven’t been to you in 2015, you would want to completely start over with any treatments you would recommend anyway. Their (skin/hair/nails/whatever) is not going to be in the shape you sent them away with!

Review unredeemed Gift Certificates – I used call the recipients of outstanding Gift Certificates. I would suggest they purchase product with the amount they were gifted with and inform them that they needed to either use the outstanding Certificate or I would be crediting back the purchaser. If I didn’t hear from them, I would call the purchaser and tell them they could use the GC within so many days or I would donate it to —— charity in their name. I chose this rather than sending unused money to the State as unclaimed property. Not a single client ever objected. Properly accounting for Gift Certificates means recording them as an outstanding liability on your books…they are something that you “owe” people for…and it makes your balance sheet look bad. Clear them off!

Clean up outstanding “traded services” – if you owe someone a service, contact them and tell them they need to come in by (set date) or you will write them a check for the value of whatever it is they did for you. If you are OWED a service…ask them to settle up with you. Say you need to be paid for the service you performed in the amount of $$. Be cordial and professional….but make it clear that you are cleaning up your accounting for the year. Keeping outstanding trades open is “white noise” that you don’t need in your life. If you can’t collect, write off the loss against your income and at the very least, pay less tax. Clean them up and move on.

Clean out your supply closet – if you haven’t used something in 6 months…evaluate whether or not you actually would use it in the next 6 months. If not, find it a new home! There are two FB groups I’ve successfully purchased and sold items – Esthetician’s Mall and Second Hand Salon. When I closed my old studio I went on Amazon and found “stores” that carried things similar my items. I contacted the store owner directly and informed them I had stock they carried I wanted to find a new home for…and they bought me out. (Mind you, not professional product–but I used to sell a lot of things like face washing cloths, magnifying mirrors, make up brush kits, etc.) At any rate, clear out anything you are not using—it’s only clutter, after a time.

Look at your menu of services and weed out unused offerings – when we write our menus we sometimes have this idea that we need all these choices to offer so we will appeal to the widest possible client base. Reality is that we need the services that we enjoy performing and for which we have become specialists…and that’s it. Do you really want to break down your facial bed and rethink your room for a single mud wrap service? No? Then don’t offer it!

There are a myriad of other ways you can “run lean” (not mean!) and I challenge you to review the way you do things to be sure you are purposeful in your set up and offerings. “I have always set it up this way” is not enough reason to keep something around taking up space and cluttering your business…or your mind!

I am sure we would all be very interested to hear YOUR year-end house cleaning ideas! Please share!

It’s a Journey!

by Karen Hodges

Two friends (I would say “old friends” but I think Janet would smack me!) traveled to a regional nail tech networking event the summer of 2014. Driving worked out the best, so, yeah…road trip!

Janet McCormick has been a mentor throughout my esthetics career. I attended her week-long, hands-on “Survival Skills for Estheticians” and learned so much from it, I attended a second round. She’s been a reliable source of contributions and quotable quotes for the articles I’ve written over the years and our loose collaboration on a piece here or there has kept me in touch with her. My interest in advancing and elevating nail technicians from the “red-headed step-child” of the salon has kept her on my radar via the ANT program.

As we drove along, various topics came up…and Janet’s comment was always, “I have a course I wrote about that…”

Finally, I looked her in the eye and asked, “Just how many courses have you written?” Her answer was, “Umm, “I don’t really know–but lots!” So I said, “Well, we need to get them out there for people!”

So it seemed natural that somewhere in Georgia our talk turned to “what do you want to do next?”  Well, I told her I’ve had this dream for a number of years that there would be some way for the salon artists that have helped me along the way to somehow be able to gather their wisdom, package it and let it give a little back to them while being available to the techs who need it.

I have had so many Gurus, and their collective knowledge base is an awesome thing. It’s too bad it’s so scattered; not every newly-licensed technician has had my great fortune in bumping into some of the industry’s best just when I needed to learn a new skill. I told her that I wanted to figure out a way to somehow get something organized so people could find what they want without resorting to freebies on YouTube that hold back all the good stuff.  My vision is a platform where the best in the industry can collect and catalog and showcase their knowledge and be financially rewarded by their appreciative followers.

“Like you, for instance…how can we somehow present your courses?  And what about others…there are so many who have amazing knowledge…”  And that is when Janet said, “How about we put your dream together with mine? Several years ago I decided I wanted to put up a website with videos, books and information from knowledgeable people of the industry for the same reason as you! It never happened…. but I think now it can! Let’s do it!”

And the idea for Salon Gurus germinated and grew–just like that! I couldn’t wait to get to the hotel and WiFi so I could register a domain name!  That was a really great weekend–there was a ton of great nail tech shop talk, Salon Gurus was coming together…the more we talked and dreamed and schemed…the more enraptured by the possibilities we became.

We worked hard all summer to develop a website with an awesome webmaster, create Facebook accounts and the structure for a community of nail care, skin care and salon success learning. We produced several educational presentations (several more are in various stages of development) and we’ve tossed the idea out to a few of the experts in the industry we admire and have heard enthusiastic “OMG! I want to be a Guru!” responses.  We’re getting awesome ideas and are eager to get going with many.

When things come together so perfectly…you know you’re on an amazing journey in the right direction. Come along with us…