When starting a press ons business, one of the most significant and daunting challenges is determining how to do sizing. This is a crucial question that you need to answer early on to decide how your business will operate and determine the resources you will need, depending on the sizing method you choose. You might be wondering which method is the tried and true method so that you can get started. While I can tell you what method I am currently using and what has worked for me, many press-on nail artists use other methods that work well for them.
Today, I will share with you the advantages and disadvantages of each method and my personal experience with using them so you can make the best-informed decision for your business. My mentor always advises me to try something for at least 1-3 months to determine what works best for me. This way, you can collect data and review what worked and what didn't, which is a useful tool in business. It's a common practice to try something for a period of time and assess if it's beneficial for your business or not because if you don't try it, you won't have results (good or bad), and you'll never know if what you're trying to implement works or not.
Look at us, talking like true boss girls!
Okay, let's get started...
1. The sizing method
This method involves teaching your clients how to measure their own nails using a measuring tape or ruler. They can then send you their measurements in millimeters; then, you can create custom press-on nail sets for them.
Let's start with the pros. The good thing about this method is that you can create a custom set of 10-14 nails with exact measurements for your client instead of a set of 20 nails, which means less work and fewer resources.
What you do is create educational content on how to measure your natural nails using the following items:
- A piece of paper
- A pen or pencil
- A ruler or measuring tape
- Scotch tape
Here's how you do it:
The cons: Waiting on the client to provide their measurements and knowing that there will be a potential error percentage when clients measure their nails.
Here's my experience: When I initially started my press-on nail business, I chose a method that appeared to be less expensive, quicker, and easier to implement. However, while it was cost-effective, clients would take a lot of time to measure their nails, or sometimes, they wouldn't measure their nails at all. Even when they did, their measurements were incorrect about 90% of the time.
I made an instructional video, carousels, and even a printout to show clients how to measure their nails. My clients would tell me things like, "I don't have a ruler or measuring tape," or they were confused about measuring in centimeters, inches, or millimeters, or the measurements were wrong because they would start the tape or ruler at the wrong spot and record a smaller measurement. It was a headache to be on my clients asking for their measurements and for them to keep getting my texts, "Hi! not to bother you, but have you had a chance to measure your nails?" I even purchased measuring tape for some of them and sent it through Amazon so they would do it.
As I said, this was cost-effective, but I spent more money and time in the end. Also, the client wants to be able to do things quickly and without much effort. Just think how annoyed we get when purchasing something or filling out a form online and they ask us to enter our card information. Like, UGH, I have to get up and go to my purse or my car to find my credit card or ID, right? We have extra homework, which is exactly what we do by asking our clients to measure their nails. As the seller, we need to be more creative and come up with ways to accommodate the client.
But! If you still want to try this method, it may work great for you, and your clients are super excited to get their nails and don't mind doing this for you. Consider the error margin and include 1 or 2 extra nail sizes just in case they need them. My clients measured their nails wrong most of the time, so we would go back and forth sending 1 or 2 nails in the mail.
2. Making ready-to-wear nail sets
With this method, you will be painting sets of 20-24 nail tips, with all the nail sizes, and selling them as a ready-to-wear set. For this method, you will pick your highest-selling design (s) and paint away.
If you don't know your most popular sold design, go for a design that is easy to create and feels like your signature look. Like if you do all handpainted designs, or use nail parts or chrome, whatever your style is, so people know, like, "Ohh, that's a Nailfabs set."
Also, you want to double up on the most popular sizes. For example, my nail tip sizes are 1, 6, 5, 6, and 11, so I would double up on index nail measurements because many clients wear the same size on their index and ring fingers. I have a client that wears the same size on three fingers! So that is why ready-to-wear kids end up being 22 to even 26 nail tips included.
Pros: You eliminate the whole sizing dilemma! You sell a full set and forget about measurements. Also, you can get organized and schedule your time to paint all the sets you want and have an inventory ready to ship versus selling sets and hand-made to order so you could offer a quicker delivery process, which clients love receiving their purchases as fast as possible.
Cons: The problem with this method is that you are potentially wasting resources and valuable time working on nails that will end up in the trash because they don't fit your client's nails.
I was considering this method after trying the "measure your own nails" method, and my press-on-nails mentor, Jerri from the Press on Portal, said this to me: "Do not sell 20-something nail tip sets, period." She is an experienced, successful press-on nail artist and educator and has a full business selling press-on nails, so I knew she had her reasons for saying this.
Jerri explained to me that creating larger sets of nail products can be a waste of time and resources, especially since I use premium quality Korean and Japanese gels along with nail parts and crystals that take a significant amount of time and money to create each set. It would only be worth it if I had a large audience of 500 clients or more who were ready to purchase them as soon as they were available on my website.
A great example is Katie Masters from Nail Thoughts. She had a pre-existing audience combined with consistent marketing strategies and designs that she could create quickly and were popular at her salon. Her sets were sold out because of this. She had all the necessary information to make this method favorable to her business.
If that sounds like you, maybe this is the method for you. If you are starting from scratch with no audience, keep reading to learn about the other methods.
3. Selling Small, Medium and Large Size Sets
I have seen many press-on nail artists going for this method. You make sets of 12-14 nails with set sizes like
Xtra Small: 3, 6, 5, 7, 9, and double down on index or middle finger sizes; for this set, I would include an extra 5 or 6 and 4 nail tips.
See my sizing card for reference:
Pros: Take away the back and forth between you and the client about measurements, and clients can buy directly from your website instead of having the full report with the client about design, sizing, etc. You make your designs, put them up on the website, and they are ready to be sold and shipped.
Also, you can create a one-on-one design for each set; you don't have to make the same design repeatedly if you don't want to. You can be like, "This design comes in a medium size kit, and you can request a custom order if you want this design in a different size."
There is a press-ons artist, @misssunshine_nails, who does pop-up shop events and uses this method to sell her press-on nails. If you check out her website, she has the option to select small, medium, large, or custom sizing. You would have to do the same for yours.
Cons: Like the previous method, you have to go on full production mode and paint sets on sets on sets. You will have an inventory of designs that need to be marketed correctly so you can make a profit and not have them collecting dust on your shelves.
To offer different sizes of your kit, you must have a feature on your website that allows customers to select the size they want. This can be done by adding buttons or a drop-down menu for the different options. Some e-commerce platforms already have this feature integrated, or you may need to download an app for your shop to be able to do this. If you still need to get a website, keep in mind that having a website comes with monthly/yearly costs, as well as the apps you download for your website.
4.The Dime Method
One of my favorite nail artists and inspiration is Gracie J or @theeditorialnail. She blows my mind with everything she does. Two years ago, she shared with us "The Dime Method" or the "Coin Method," which she always uses for custom press on nails for her clients. All you need is for your client to use their phone and a dime coin and take pictures at certain angles. After that, the client sends you the pictures, and you use your phone and a dime coin as a reference to match the client's nails on the picture to the nail tips.
Pros: Gracie J. says this hack saves time, money/shipping fees, and supplies. And just like the other methods, you could add an extra 1 or 2 nail tip sizes to rest at night, knowing your client's nails will fit. In my experience, this has been true! I use two sizing methods, and this one is one of them. I instruct my clients on how to take the pictures, get the pictures, and start working.
Cons: Just like the first method, you ask your clients to complete a task; however, there is a higher probability that your client will have a dime and a phone handy than a ruler/measuring tape, tape, etc. The turnaround time was much quicker than the first method, and the margin for error was lower, too.
The other thing is that I recommend creating a guide or educational content to teach your clients how to take pictures correctly. Correct nail tip sizing depends on the photos your client takes.
If you want to skip all that, you can head to Gracie's website, where she sells a template for the "Dime Method," which you can send directly to your clients.
5. Sending sizing kits
The only guaranteed method to get the best sizing! This method has worked best for my business and my peace of mind. I did not use it initially because I thought clients would lose interest during the shipping process back and forth and then making the nails and getting them to the client.... It turns out I got very different results from what I was expecting.
You create sizing kits with one nail tip of each size of the same shape. For example, a short almond sizing kit comes with sizes 00-9 or 10; you ship it to your client, then the client measures the nail tips on both hands and gives you their tip sizes. This means you will charge for each nail shape sizing kit your client orders; if they want square and stiletto, you will charge for two sizing kits.
Pros: Eliminate the guessing game. You would have your client select a sizing kit of their preferred nail shape because nail shapes have different sizes and mail it to them. Another cool tip is that they can share the sizing kit with family and friends, and you get to a couple more clients with guaranteed measurements and save the cost of extra sizing kits and shipping.
Also, clients get to feel the nail tips on their nails and can give you details on how the tips sit on their nails so you can customize the set even further. Maybe they have curved nail beds or curved upwards.
Cons: There are shipping costs and wait times, right? 5-14 days for the client to get the sizing kit and then an extra 5-14 days to receive the press-on nails. Also, your sizing kit could get lost in the mail, so plan for those extra costs.
This method was scary for me because I was too nervous about losing the sale during the whole sizing process; however, all the clients who ordered sizing kits purchased a set of nails. The truth is, if a person is purchasing a sizing kit, they are most likely very interested in buying your press on nails. They are excited to receive their package with their sizing kit and will quickly contact you to let you know their measurements.
Jerri shared a cool technique of adding a scratch card with a discount code for the customer with their sizing kit. We are always expecting free stuff with our packages, and this way, the client is surprised, entertained by the scratch card, and excited to get a discount for the purchase.
I prefer using sizing kits and the dime method when getting accurate measurements. It's just more reliable than dealing with the uncertainty of getting correct measurements and waiting for clients. Although there are some downsides, like shipping costs and time, it works well for my business. But always remember that every business is different, and what works for me may not work for you. The beauty of being a business owner is that you can make changes and try new things while removing the ones that didn't work in the past. I can't promise you that there's only one method that works for everyone, but I can definitely share my experience of the last three years and what I've learned from purchasing coaching sessions with nail pros like Jerri from the Press on Portal, Paola Ponce Nails who specializes in gel nails and entrepreneurship and The Editorial Nail with the "Dime Hack."
I hope this post explains well how to approach sizing press-on nails. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send me a DM on Instagram. I'm happy to help! However, if you want to learn everything about press-on nails from the master, I recommend checking out The Press On Portal created by Jerri from Dippy Cow Nails. She offers a full masterclass on sizing, templates, resources, and all the other aspects of becoming a successful press-on nail artist. You can try it out for three days with no commitment. If you decide to stay, you'll have the community support of other press-on nail artists to help with anything related to the business. This is my community, and I encourage you to join if you're serious about turning your hobby into a full-time job.
Okay, I am done talking your ear off! Thank you for joining me today. Have a great weekend, and I'll talk to you next week! Byeee.
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