Malaysian salon nails it by offering niche services to meet customers' needs


  • Family
  • Friday, 24 Jul 2020

Owner of Golden Kimby Nails and Waxing Salon, Kelly Gan. Photo: The Star/Kamarul Ariffin

Nail and waxing salon owner Kelly Gan, 34, says in order for a business to survive during difficult times such as the pandemic, it must meet customers’ needs, not just their wants.

Gan, who hails from Kuala Lumpur, has been running Golden Kimby Nails and Waxing Salon for seven years but started learning how to do manicures during the school holidays when she was 16.

“I learnt about nails because of a need: I had ingrown toenails that were really painful. So, to me, a pedicurist is like a lifesaver!” she explains.

Gan, who has recently reopened her salon during the recovery MCO says that “business is almost back to normal like before the MCO” because hers is a niche market and her customers have returned.

“Some manicurists are impacted because they specialise in ‘nail makeup’ (nail art) for dinners and other events, but most people aren’t going out for such stuff during the MCO, ” she says.

Although she also does regular manicures, and even used to do nail art (when she first started working with other nail salons many years ago), Gan reveals that her services extend beyond beautification.

“I may have over 1,100 colour selections of regular and gel nail polish but my services aren’t just about aesthetics. I specialise in problematic nails and my services include fixing nail braces (to straighten crooked nails) and treating fungus and ingrown toenails.

Also read: Malaysian home-chef Sara Khong's recipe for success during the MCO

Even before the pandemic and MCO, nail and waxing salons already practise strict hygiene procedures such as wearing of face masks, gloves and hand (and feet) sanitising. Photo: The Star/Kamarul AriffinEven before the pandemic and MCO, nail and waxing salons already practise strict hygiene procedures such as wearing of face masks, gloves and hand (and feet) sanitising. Photo: The Star/Kamarul Ariffin

“Even for waxing, I specialise in problematic cases such as ingrown hair, red bumps or rashes resulting from waxing, ” she adds.

Gan believes that it’s important for entrepreneurs to be focused yet flexible enough to last in the long run. During the MCO, when her salon was closed, she started selling nail and body products via Facebook and WhatsApp to generate revenue.

Gan believes it’s also important to be unique and offer what others can’t or won’t.

“Customer confidence is important to make a business last so that even after the MCO, customers will return, ” she says.

Before working on her clients, Gan assesses her clients’ nails to see if they have any nail problems such as breakages, crooked nails, corns, calluses, fungus or ingrown toenails before recommending a solution.

“For waxing, I also do extraction for them if they have whiteheads/blackheads, but most waxing salons won’t do this, ” she adds.

New SOP is in place for operating under the new normal. Photo: The Star/Kamarul AriffinNew SOP is in place for operating under the new normal. Photo: The Star/Kamarul Ariffin

Adjusting to the new SOPs wasn’t difficult because she’d been using the disinfecting products even before the pandemic.

“We already use face masks and disinfect our tools and hands – of both our customers and manicurists – even before the MCO. And our customers have always had to book their appointments, ” she says.

“In this industry, cleanliness and hygiene is very important.

“Before opening, I called in professionals to disinfect the salon to be extra safe for my customers, ” she adds.

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