Spring 2014


Once Upon a Dream

On The Go

BY Irene Chao

The Business of Mobile Manicuring

between balancing work, kids and life in general, it comes as no surprise that more and more women are looking to mobile manicurists to stop by their homes. The extra pampering and attention to detail is often a welcome change-up and offers a relaxing environment for some much needed unwinding. Owner of Well Manicured and freelance manicurist in Manhattan Beach, California, Melanie McCulley explains to NAILSTYLE how she got started and offers up some tips and tricks if you're looking to hit the road with your own mobile salon.

Working in an affluent neighborhood, McCulley had built a list of steady clientele that came into her salon on a regular basis for manicure and pedicures. After casually talking with her clients about her on-set and freelance work she does in Hollywood, a couple of her clients began to ask her if they too, could have McCulley come to their homes. The reasons would vary from client to client as to why they requested in-home services - ranging from childcare issues to health issues (not being able to leave their home) to simply the sheer luxury of having their nails done at home. There was no doubt it was becoming more popular. "Word spread very quickly in the community and soon everyone wanted a mobile manicure," McCulley says. "I would spend a whole day visiting different clients in their homes."

In additional to manicures and pedicures, each client was offered the option to purchase her own pedicure bowl, tools and polish that would stay at her home. "I saw this as an opportunity for a retail sale," McCulley says. "But doing this also offers the client peace of mind that no one else is using their bowl or tools and shows that you're willing to accommodate the client."

After moving to Southern California, McCulley was looking for work on Craigslist and found a great company that was doing personal manicure and pedicure appointments for weddings, on set work and magazine work. McCulley was quickly signed by an agency, and, from that point on, she started doing on-set celebrity work and used a mobile nail kit, which was separate from her in-salon nail kit. Everything, such as nail files, buffers and liners, was one-time use.

Working with such affluent clientele while on set, McCulley took the opportunity to talk about her business as much as possible. "I passed my business cards out to everyone I met," McCulley says. "You really have to be good at self-promoting in order to be successful in this business... If you don't talk about it, no one will know what you offer!" Offering in-home pampering for events such as birthdays, holidays and girls' nights out is a great way to grow your business and expand your clientele.

Here are some importatn things to remember before you get started with your own mobile manicure business:

Going Mobile

Check the laws in your state

in regards to starting a mobile manicuring business. In order to be legally called a "mobile manicure," you might be required to work from a vehicle or truck. In other states, a vehicle is not required.

Cleanliness Is Key

To ensure your clients have peace of mind, it's important to make sure their safety comes first. McCulley uses quart-size zippered storage bags to stash used files, buffers and pedicure bowl liners - so used items are easy to throw away later. Everything she uses is disposable.

Efficiency and Time Management

are very important, especially when you're in someone else's space. Get in and out as quickly as you can, while maintaining the same level of professionalism you would in a regular nail salon.