Three Hour Wait.

It may be only slight hyperbole to say that we made about a million pies today. While I anticipated a high volume of orders for tomorrow because of Valentine’s Day, I was a little thrown by the number of pies needed for today. And not that I’m complaining by any means, I’m just saying that by the time I got home tonight and considered cooking dinner for my family and cleaning that all up…welp, I was weary of the making of things and the washing of things. That’s fair, right?

Between baking pies and cooking dinner, I did stop to get my nails done because honestly, I couldn’t look at my ragged cuticles for a second longer. (Spoiler alert: I do fully realize that ragged cuticles are a first world problem. I can barely apologize for my vanity because I felt like a new woman after leaving the nail place.) All that said, I guess pies weren’t the only thing in demand today because the wait for dip nails was THREE HOURS LONG.

(If you aren’t aware, dip nails are the new THING and they are magical. They are like acrylic nails, but done completely with colored powder so you don’t harm your nail beds. Also, they last about a month. In comparison, a gel manicure is a special polish and it lasts about two weeks. And regular nail polish? Not even a thing these days, at least at nail salons. Now you know.)

So what I am I getting at here…besides a primer in manicures? That basically the business model at the nail salon completely bucks tradition of every single thing I read and every piece of advice that I am told by experts…yet, it seemingly works. And that to me is interesting. If you don’t care, you can stop reading here.

To set the scene, there is only one guy at the nail place that does dip nails. And one lady that does acrylic nails only. And one lady that only does gel manicures. And when I walked in this afternoon, NINE women were waiting for some variation of dip or acrylic nails. And no one questioned it or complained…they either waited or they didn’t. (There are no reservations allowed at this place.) You can either plop it down on a cheap chair and play on your phone or you can leave. And super nice dip nail guy is totally fine either way. I opted for a gel manicure because there was no wait for that service…in two years that probably will go the way of regular polish, jeesh.

And while you wait, you can try to watch whatever is on their television mounted on the wall, except that the satellite reception is terrible so maybe you get through the first 15 minutes of Dr. Phil and then you never know what happens to whatever trainwreck he is featuring because the connection just cuts out. And then once your nails are done, the nail place only takes credit/debit cards on certain days. Today was a cash day and I didn’t know, so after my nails were done I had to drive to an ATM and get cash and go back. Thankfully, he trusted I would return. I don’t know how it works if he doesn’t know you and you don’t have cash…because they don’t have a cash register or take checks.

And that whole scenario basically runs against all the pressure I feel to standardize PJP practices, to cross train employees, and to even effusively apologize if someone is disappointed we don’t print paper receipts. I kept thinking…what if we just had one White Chocolate Strawberry person and if that person wasn’t there, then no White Chocolate Strawberry? The thought makes my throat close up a little. Because if there is anything I’ve learned in almost five years, it is that establishing a process for everything and cross-training employees makes everything 100% easier.

But watching the nail guy today made me wonder how his business model seems to work swimmingly…is it based on demand or simply based on what nail salon clientele have tacitly agreed to accept as the terms of getting a good manicure? And how to we set the standards for what we deem acceptable within a particular industry? Could his business be even better with some help from someone more focused on process driven results? Or would it change the conventionality of what makes it a fairly cheap manicure as opposed to a reserve-in-advance $50 spa manicure? I don’t know, but when I rattled this all off to Jason early this evening, he said even wondering is what makes me an entrepreneur at heart. Fair enough.

So tomorrow I’ll make a lot of White Chocolate Strawberry (and so will Jeanne and Sydney and Katie, cross-trained, yo) and my nails will be stellar. And I bet dip nail guy does a ton of nails for Valentine date plans. That it all works well for us both makes me love the entrepreneurial journey even more.