RMCO: What to expect when you go for a manipedi session at a nail salon
Disinfect your digits
Already scheduled your manipedi appointment at your regular nail salon for this weekend? If you're not sure what the RMCO SOPs entail ("Do I have to wear a face mask at all times?" Hint: yes), scroll down to get the answers to your burning questions.
We had a chat with girl boss and founder of Posh Nail Spa, Sereen Eng, on the basic protocol you should comply with, the hygiene practices that that all Posh outlets are following, and the challenges she had to overcome as a business owner in this pandemic.
Now that RMCO is enforced, what kind of procedures and protocols have Posh enforced?
We have followed all the safety SOPs provided by the ministry. Before we open for business, we have practiced and role-played many times with our team to ensure we do not miss out even the slightest of details during pre-entry and pre-service.
We will sanitise our customers' hands and soles of their feet before they entering the premises. This is important as the virus spreads easily from surfaces, and most customers remove their shoes before entering our salons. We have also prepared a disinfectant fogging machine to eliminate all germs before customers are ushered to their seats.
What are some of the costs that have incurred from keeping up with the SOPs?
Posh has always been very strict with our hygiene and safety measures even before the COVID-19 outbreak, whether it's sanitising our employees' hands before treatment or sterilising our equipment. However, the new costs that have incurred from following the SOPs have been quite hefty.
Additional items we have included to our list are hand sanitisers, disposable aprons, gloves, face shields, disinfectants and the above-mentioned fogging machine. I would say that it's an estimated 15% increase from our monthly fixed costs.
That said, we are all in this together—not just me and my team, but our customers too. We are maintaining our standards without increasing our prices and we hope this will help spread a little cheer to all.
What can customers expect when they go for an appointment at Posh Nail Spa?
The SOPs that the government has enforced are pretty much the same as most salons, maybe except for the disinfectant fogging machine. After registering their details at the entrance, customers are required to stand in front of the fogging machine to sanitise their outfit and upper body (which is more prone to the exposure to germs).
We have received many positive comments and our customers feel assured and safe with the extra step as well. Note that all customers are required to wear masks throughout the service. If any customer fails to comply with the SOP, we will have to cancel the appointment and ask the customer to come back another day. We also appreciate if customers inform us on rescheduling their appointments if they have any symptoms or if they aren't feeling well. This is not a battle we can win alone—we seek cooperation from all parties and there is strictly no compromise on that.
As appointments are limited to an hour, what kind of services are Posh offering right now?
We are able to take a maximum of five customers every two hours. This is to reduce contact between clients and allow us ample time to sanitise and disinfect after every customer. Most customers come to our salons for the essential manicure and pedicure services. Besides that, we also offer more specialised treatments for seniors, geriatric and diabetic patients such as ingrown toenails, fungal nails, thickened toenails, weak and brittle nails, and thin nails.
While nail care may not count as "essential care" to some people, for me and majority of my customers, it is essential and I want to believe it should be an essential for all women out there. Your nails may take up a small part of your body but the amount of confidence that comes with a set of well-manicured nails is unparalleled. And during tough times, isn’t confidence something we want to have?
What were the challenges you faced as a beauty salon owner during a pandemic? How did you manage to overcome said challenges, if any?
As we are not listed as an essential service, we were forced to close during the MCO. In our line of business, we only get paid when we serve customers. So, when there are zero appointments, we get nothing. It is exceptionally challenging when the team comprises about 20 staff.
Thankfully, with some help from the government, the burden was somewhat lifted during this difficult time. My staff still receives a basic monthly salary, but a larger part of their income relies heavily on commission. That said, I am really glad that most of them are very understanding about this situation and I cannot express enough how grateful I am that my team is willing to tide through this together.
This MCO is definitely not a holiday for us at Posh—my team and I have been constantly learning new skills and continue engaging with our customers through digital means. It is very empowering to witness the growth; our team leaders have enrolled in different up-skilling workshops and online classes. They then put the new knowledge together and conduct in-house training sessions and assessments via Zoom with the rest of the team members.
We've also sharpened our creative skills and started filming nail art tutorials—while it's still in the amateur phase, I really appreciate the progress. After all, change is the only constant. When the team understands the need to grow and progress, only then the business will truly be sustainable—that is what I've always believed in.
Besides that, we've also moved our focus to sell beauty products. Our product line Agape by Posh offers a wide range of natural, locally-made products including manicure and pedicure kits, nail care products, scrubs, lotions, sanitising sprays and even bird’s nest drinks.
As Posh celebrates its 10th year this year, what is the most important lesson you've learned so far as a business owner in this industry?
To me, the struggles we endure today will be the “good old days” we laugh about tomorrow. When I first opened the salon 10 years ago, I used to help wash my customers’ feet in preparation for a pedicure. Once, a customer was chatting with me and asked me about my education background; I replied that I have a Bachelor's degree in business law and marketing. She chuckled and questioned how did I ended up "washing feet". I gave her a smile but deep down I felt really offended by that remark.
That is the reason why I worked very hard for the past decade to educate and encourage my team (and even customers) that this is a professional job. This is a journey of changing mindsets. I am happy that the nail industry is receiving more recognition for our work and effort. It also feels really good to be honoured by our job and achievements.
A decade has passed and I will continue to pursue the Posh's vision and mission dedicatedly, which is to elevate the status of skilled nail workers and to make the nail profession a respected career. I want to continue to make a difference in the work that we do and the way we do it.