Akari's Secret WeaponTwo years ago we expanded our day spa into a medical spa, and business is booming. The secret? Our nail department. 

In this neck of the woods, we've found new clients often book their first appointments with our nail team. Before their appointments are over they've grilled our nail techs on other services and whom to see. Every day, I see our nail team introduce new customers to the “Akari Experience,” and introduce them to their colleagues from potential stylists to doctors in our medispa. 

Nail clients are the most loyal of clients: They come regularly at least twice a month, refer others, book ongoing appointments and often end up getting more than the service they booked. They shop across the brand and often become an integral part of our team – when we test new services or products we rely on them for input. 

The nail department also has created an amazing partnership with one of our doctors, a podiatric surgeon, for laser treatment of toenail fungus. The $1,600 service includes a $140 medical pedicure to prepare the patient for treatment.

Our nail techs collaborate with our doctor before and after the process. They train together, discuss cases, refer and educate customers. Their work has not only expanded our brand, but elevated the entire department's self-esteem.

How to get there:

Start small: Hire one nail tech, and be sure your new employee meets your standard for quality of work and cleanliness.

Share the experience: Reward your top stylists with a mani/pedi so they can promote the experience.

Say thanks: Reward your top customers with a free or discounted gift certificate for nail services.

Expand strategically: Place the nail tech in a visible but semi-private part of the salon, preferably close to the color department. Color clients often will ask for manicures or pedicures on impulse during processing time.

Promote internally: Show off your polish lines and nail tech's skills with your front desk team's perfect nails.

Set an example: Educate the rest of your team on the value of seeing customers return every two weeks for nail services.

Enforce standards: Create an in-house training program, enforce quality control and exceed expectations for cleanliness and hygiene.

Use social media: Promote new nail products and looks on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Take time to listen: Nail techs offer good advice and are quick to relate customer feedback.

Akari's Secret WeaponAllan Labos has more than 30 years of beauty and style experience across the country and in Europe. He began his career under the tutelage of Vidal Sassoon in London and opened and managed Sassoon salons and schools in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. For the past 25 years he has owned and operated Akari, a 20,000-square-foot business in Portland, Maine. Akari offers hair, nail and spa services and also includes a boutique, fitness center and medical spa.