5 Tips for Building a Magnetic Brand That Turns Heads

Celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec (@julieknailsnyc) shares her secrets for creating a memorable, personal brand that turns heads.
Celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec (@julieknailsnyc) shares her secrets for creating a memorable, personal brand that turns heads.
Courtesy of Julie Kandalec

Celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec (@julieknailsnyc) shares her secrets for creating a memorable, personal brand that turns heads.

Any successful beauty business needs to start with the basics: a few solid skills, some good products and a memorable brand. But why is branding so important?

In the ever-evolving world of beauty, creating a successful business requires more than just skills and products; it demands a magnetic brand that captures attention and keeps clients coming back. As a full-time celebrity manicurist, founder of Julie K Nail Academy and salon owner, I've learned that combining your passions, showcasing your uniqueness and specializing in your niche are key factors in building a brand that makes you unforgettable. A well-thought-out and cohesive brand image will grab the attention of potential clients, from the in-salon regular to a VIP celebrity, or even a major beauty brand to collaborate with on social media. Here, you will discover five actionable steps, pulled directly from my Nailpreneur and Beauty EntrePROneur masterclasses, to develop a strong and authentic personal brand. Read on to unlock my secrets of creating your memorable, personal brand that turns heads.

1. Combine Two Things You Love.

The first step in creating a magnetic brand is to combine two things you're passionate about. It not only sets you apart but also makes you more memorable to your online audience and clientele. Plus, it will naturally draw other people to you who like the same things! That is why I frequently combine my love for nails and travel by offering Masterminds around the world and naming color combos in my nail art book after global destinations, like Mexico City and Paris. Whether it's your love for travel, your obsession with cats or your unique hobby, combining these into your business can add a unique, personal touch that resonates with your clients.

2. Have a Branding Shoot to Build Trust, Credibility and Loyalty.

In this age of social media and instant connections, a professional brand shoot (yes, of you!) is a non-negotiable. It's your opportunity to showcase your personality and turn it into a tangible set of images you can use on your website, social media, resume and more. You'll build trust, credibility and loyalty with clients and also show a sense of continuity and professionalism. Remember, selfies are fine for personal posts, but when it comes to your business, invest in professionally taken photographs that convey the essence of your brand. An excellent place to find a photographer for these shoots is through Airbnb Experiences — It's how I found the photographer who did most of my brand shoots for my academy, for a super reasonable price. They are available in most cities, or, for a unique twist, have some shots on your next trip to NYC or Paris!

3. Create a Unique Brand Name.

Done are the days of salons called "Nails by Julie." It could be more memorable, and something you can easily trademark down the line, which would protect you from someone else taking it and causing major confusion (or worse). Your brand name is your first impression, and it's vital to make it something people are drawn to and is — you got it — memorable. A unique brand name should reflect your values in the industry, your style and the essence of your brand. Take the time to brainstorm and choose a name that not only represents you but also leaves a lasting impact on your clients.

4. Niche Down.

In beauty, niching down to become a specialist can be a total game-changer for your business. Specialization allows you to become an expert in a specific area of the industry, whether it's hand-painted nail art, structured manicures or Gel-X. Think of it this way: In the medical field, specialists (i.e. cardiology and dermatology) often earn more money than primary care doctors. This is because they focus 100% on that specific area, both throughout their college schooling, plus continuing education and trade shows, which then trickles down to the type of patients they see, which allows them to grow faster within their niche as well.

5. Have a "Thing" That Defines You.

True story: I met my high school best friend's daughter for the first time last year, and she dressed as me for career day — complete with a floral jumper, pearl stud earrings and carrying my nail art book. It was SO adorable, and I knew that my personal branding was working — even to a 10-year-old.

Consistency is key when it comes to brand recognition. One way to achieve this is by associating your brand with a specific color (for me, it's blush pink + evergreen) or theme that is yours. It could be a signature hair color, a particular shade of lipstick (a la Taylor Swift) or a distinctive aesthetic (cow print? It sure is memorable!) in your salon decor. This creates a strong visual identity for your brand, making it instantly recognizable to your clients and followers. Guess what follows? They remember you more easily, so they can re-book and tell all their like-minded friends about you. There's nothing cooler than creating a clientele full of people who like the same things you do.

Enjoy the Journey.

Building a magnetic beauty brand is a journey of self-expression, authenticity and expertise. By combining your passions, investing in professional branding, selecting a unique brand name, specializing in your niche and having a signature color or "thing," you'll create a brand that not only resonates with your audience but also stands out in the competitive beauty industry. Take these tips to heart, and start building a brand that reflects your unique vision and personality. The beauty industry is waiting for you to make your mark! For more info, please visit @julieknailsnyc and julieknailacademy.com

About the Author: 

From beauty campaigns to backstage at New York Fashion Week, Julie Kandalec (@julieknailsnyc) is the founding educator of Julie K Nail Academy and the owner of Julie K Nail ARTelier in New York City (@jknailartelier), an exclusive, by-appointment-only nail art studio offering one-of-a-kind manicure services. Her clients include Camila Cabello, Jessica Chastain, Selena Gomez, Pete Davidson, Dove Cameron, Joe Jonas, Mariah Carey, and Hailee Steinfeld. Her work has been featured in Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, WWD and on campaigns for Chanel, CND, Dior Beauty, essie, OPI, YSL Beauty, Tiffany & Co., Glossier, Bobbi Brown, Urban Decay and Maybelline. She is also a Nailpro 2022 advisory board member.

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