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Idea for a New Venture: Eco-Friendly Nails Salon
My idea for a new business venture is to put up an eco-friendly nail salon. This is in line with my passion and career path towards becoming an accomplished nail technician. The business of providing nail care services fall within the beauty industry, and it has been proven to grow more robust each year. In fact, the nail care industry has been touted as one having the most growth, compared to other sectors in the beauty industry. (Sun, n.pag.) But more than its potential for profits, I chose this venture because this is an area that I am most passionate about, and therefore, I have every desire to provide improved services and improved products which have not yet been offered by competitors before. Further, this idea matches into my skills considering that I have had previous experience working part-time as a nail technician. I know from firsthand experience therefore, that there is a market, and in fact, the market is waiting, for an eco-friendly nails salon.
That eco-friendly nail salon will only use products that are toxic-free, friendly to the environment, and safe for one’s health, in an environment that is relaxing, well-ventilated, and free from toxic fumes. Though the nail care industry has been growing steadily over the years, it is not without doubt that it is common knowledge that salons offering nail care services are often unsafe places. In fact, in 2012, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) reported that nail care products which are used in California salons contained toxic and harmful chemicals, despite these products earlier assurance that they do not contain such chemicals. (“The Latest”, n.pag.) This is absolutely alarming especially since consumers usually take the products’ words that they do no not contain such toxic chemicals, when in fact they do. I want to be the salon that has unquestionable credibility so that my clients are assured that my claim of offering only eco-friendly nail products and services are always true.
Valuable Unique Space
I am convinced that my idea fits into a valuable unique space in the market as it addresses a particular need that’s has yet to be fulfilled by existing nail care service providers. There are two important features that could provide maximum benefit to my target clientele (see appendix). First, is the provision of eco-friendly and sanitized materials and second, is the cost consideration. The identification of the first feature came easy as there is now a growing consciousness among the public on the importance of clean and sanitary salons, as well as using toxic-free nail care products. As early as the year 2000, reports spread about an outbreak of mycobacterial furunculosis, characterized by prominent boils on the arms and feet of people. Doctors traced the culprit as coming from unsanitary foot baths given to these patients in one salon. Apparently, the salon failed to clean their whirlpool baths, and this caused the bacteria to thrive, infecting a number of their clients. (Winthrop et al. 1366-1371)
Further, researches abound on the various toxic substances that are used in nail polishes. The three most common toxic substances are “formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate, or DBP.” (Hudson, n.pag.) Formaldehyde is most commonly used in the preservation of cadavers and other animal carcasses while toluene is suspected of causing some developmental and reproductive health issues. On the other hand, DBP has already been proved to be a culprit for developmental and reproductive health issues. Some, if not all of these substances are suspected to be carcinogens, and all of them have been known to cause headaches, dizziness irritation of the skin, nose and eyes and may cause fatigue.
Given the adverse effects of these substances, it makes one wonder how come nail salons all over the country continue to patronize these products, and continue to go about using unsanitary equipment. The immediate answer is that there are not a lot of salons that offer the contrary. That is the unique space in the market that I intend to fill.
Price-wise, organic and eco-friendly salon materials may prove to be more expensive than their mass-produced counterparts. But this is only because the manufacturers of these products are yet to expand into the bigger market. If the demand is created for their products, then the prices is foreseen to go down. However, the increased price is foreseen to be not as exorbitant as other high-end salons, because the ultimate benefit offered to clients outweighs the price difference. To be more specific, when the client comes into my nail salon, she may pay a slightly higher price, but she will get long-term benefits. She is assured that all products will be safe for her and safe for the environment. There will neither be irritating smells nor toxic fumes in the air. All equipment will be periodically sanitized, and the salon will not be run like a marketplace where people are running about in a flurry of fast-paced activity. Instead, clients will be treated to a relaxing and clean atmosphere, with attendants who can speak English and who pay attention to the clients’ needs.
To further illustrate the unique space that would be met by my proposed idea, the following table is submitted:
The table shows how my idea fulfills the unique space in the market. What makes my idea unique is the provision of an eco-friendly salon which caters only to the provision of nail care services, unlike other salons which offer a full range of services such as hair, makeup, and nail care. This already is a major selling point, as it allows me to focus on providing excellent nail care services. Further, and as has been emphasized in the discussion above, there are not a lot of salons which cater to clients who wish to use eco-friendly, safe materials and sanitized equipment.
Indeed, there is a huge benefit that clients can get out of paying a bit more for the products and services. The fact that the products are guaranteed free from the toxic substances mentioned above is already a premium that a lot of clients will gladly pay for. However, this increase in prices are crucial—because as of the moment, toxic-free and eco-friendly nail polishes and nail care products are admittedly more expensive compared to their mass-produced counterparts. Hence, in the pertinent cell in the table above, I keyed in “No” for “Small benefit decrease for large cost decrease”. However, based on actual experience as well as researches, it is obvious that there is a demand for this idea and I am able to fulfill this demand. For one, I know a lot about this industry as I have worked in this field for quite a time. Also, I have long acknowledged that this is something I want to do as I enjoy giving this service to people.
In my opinion, there is a synergy between dimensions because my idea will marry the cost consideration vis-à-vis the ultimate benefit. Though my proposed nail care salon will not be as cheap as conventional salons, it will render prime service using eco-friendly products, and this is something that outweighs the slight increase in cost. Finally, not a lot of competitors can enter this space. The fact is that immigrants dominate the nail care industry and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, most of them are bent on giving a wider range of services rather than focusing on only one. Further, most of the people hired by these conventional salons struggle with the English language, and this will make it more difficult for them to engage in a business which may require their people to talk to clients more, in English. To illustrate, in an interview with Tam Nguyen, owner of a beauty school in California, he said that “his school, one of the biggest in the state, has become well-known among Vietnamese immigrants because it is designed to get them into the job market as quickly as possible — no English required. “Bates, n.pag.) While the ability to do the job without any English benefits the immigrant worker, surely, there are a group of clientele who wish they may be able to converse with their attendants, especially when it comes to asking about what are inside a particular nail product. This is another feature that I can offer my clientele.
I have verified my unique space and I am now more convinced than ever that there is a market for what I am offering. This is through a case study of Posh!Nail Company, a nail service salon in Ohio. Operating under essentially the same factors that I have proposed, they have successfully broken into the market. They too, offer eco-friendly products and services, combining their advocacies with service provision. They have managed to keep their prices down, choosing to make their own sugar scrubs instead. (Pratt, n.pag.) I believe I can likewise make it, the same way they did.
The Fit Exercise
In accomplishing the FIT exercise for the proposed business idea, I affirm that this business responds to a need of a particular niche. As has been discussed, this idea falls squarely on my passion as a nail technician. In fact, I have the proper license to be one, so getting basic business requirements should not be too difficult. I know already that it responds to a particular need, which is the need for stand-alone nail salons which provide eco-friendly services, using eco-friendly materials that are also safe and non-toxic. The salon would be operating during hours which other salons will likewise operate, so I know that the hours are acceptable. The risks would of course be that not a lot of people will patronize the salon in the first few months from its birth, but I know that these birthing pains will come to pass as we build a steady a steady stream of clients. There are not a lot of dangers associated with the idea, because at the end of the day, even if a competitor across the street offers the exact same services, it is for the benefit of the clients as they are assured of a healthy environment for their nails.
Indeed, all the crucial considerations in the fit exercise have been met by this proposed idea, and so have the less crucial considerations. Hence, there is a clear fit of the idea to the existing market.
My proposed business venture will cater to women who are 40-50 years of age. These are women who have established income sources, who know exactly what they want, who have identified the causes they support, and know exactly how to go about supporting these causes. They are conscious of the need for eco-friendly products and services, and aware that most often, the products we are using nowadays are products borne out of non-ethical practices, unsafe materials and illaudable practices. These will be the women who will not only serve as my clients, but will also be staunch advocates for the idea and the ethics that my business stands for. These will be the women who feel good because their nails look better, but at the same time, feel good because they feel like they have done their part, however small, to make the world a better place to live in.
In analyzing industry favorability, I did some deep thinking on what I can offer and whether the market is ready for what I am able to offer. I know already based on research discussed beforehand that there is a need that I can fulfill in the market. I have identified as well my target clientele, a group of strong, more mature women who are in the prime of their career, who will not hesitate to part with their money for good service. They are a large group of women who have the means to avail of my services. I know as well that my competitors are completely in a different range as they are either on the higher-end of the spectrum, offering eco-friendly services at exorbitant prices, or otherwise offering cheap services, but with non eco-friendly materials and services (see Unique Space Map in Appendix). I will offer what they do not offer—a nail salon that offers eco-friendly services using eco-friendly materials at prices that may be a bit higher than conventional nail salons, but not as exorbitant as the high-end salons.
Finally, I know that this need I will be addressing is not a mere fad, it is actually a growing trend. More and more people nowadays are clamoring for eco-friendly services especially because the world is pushing for awareness on the environment, and how taking care of the environment affects ourselves. Indeed, this awareness alone, will ensure that my proposed idea will help me break some major boundaries in my bid to make eco-friendly nail salons go mainstream. If Posh!NailCompany and other eco-friendly salons in other states can do it, so can I.
Bates, Karen Grigsby. “Nailing the American Dream, with Polish”. NPR, 14 June 2012. Web. 1 November 2013.
Hudson, Kirsten. “How Toxic is your Nail Polish Really?” The Huffington Post, 4 January 2012. Web. 1 November 2013.
Pratt, Michelle. “Eco-Friendly Salons Go Mainstream”. Nails Magazine, 28 June 2013. Web. 1 November 2013.
Sun, FeiFei. “Nail Polish Sales Hit Record $768 Million in U.S ”. Time Style, 28 January 2013. Web. 3 November 2013.
“The Latest Cosmetics Scandal; Toxic Nail Polish”. EcoNews. EcoWatch, 11 April 2012. Web, 2 November 2013.
Winthrop, Kevin, Abrams, Marcy, Yakrus, Mitchell, Schwartz, Ira, Ely, Janet, Gillies, Duncan and Vugia, Duc. N. Engl J Med 2002 (346):1366-1371. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa012643. Web. 2 November 2013.