Nail salon lures men with beer, sports

What if men had their own man cave-esque nail salon, complete with big leather chairs, beers, and sports playing on big-screen TVs?

Client: Hammer & Nails (Los Angeles)
Agency
: Tyler Barnett PR (Los Angeles)
Campaign
: Flagship store launch
Duration: September 15 - November 31, 2013
Budget
: $8,750

What if men had their own man cave-esque nail salon, complete with big leather chairs, beers, and sports playing on big-screen TVs? That was CEO Michael Elliot's concept for Hammer & Nails, which opened November 9 on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood.

“I'd seen photos of men, including athletes Floyd Mayweather, Kobe Bryant, and Deion Sanders, getting manicures in women's nail salons, so we knew they were doing it,” says Elliot. “The goal was to launch our flagship and then quickly franchise and grow into a national brand.”

Tyler Barnett PR was hired to promote the concept and launch.

Strategy
Media, blogger, celebrity, and community outreach, an event, and social media engagement drove awareness.

“We went very broad and told the story in many different ways,” says agency president Tyler Barnett.

“I didn't believe there was only one type of guy who would want this service,” Elliot adds. “Most guys, even ones who would make fun of men getting manicures, look up to pro athletes so reaching celebrity athletes would help educate our potential market and create a new level of acceptance.”

Tactics
The agency created and distributed media kits, pitched multiple story angles including the “man cave” aspect, and helped write website copy explaining the concept and services.

Barnett media trained Elliot and the Hammer & Nails staff.

Media stories were posted to the website and to Hammer & Nails' Facebook and Twitter pages, which launched November 9.

Daily social media posts covered informative topics such as hand hygiene and fun facts related to men's grooming.

On November 7, local journalists and bloggers were invited to the salon for free manicures and pedicures.

Grand opening discount cards were distributed to businesses in Hollywood and the surrounding area.

Gift cards were sent to pro athletes and actors and included in gift bags given away at the American Music Awards (AMA) on November 23.

Results
Elliot says 100 appointments were booked November 9 -11, which far exceeded expectations. Additional appointments were booked well into spring 2014.  

“Because there's never been a nail shop for men, I didn't have a benchmark or projections,” Elliot explains. “Typically, businesses lose money for the first year or two, and we're certainly not losing money. We made enough in the first month alone to more than cover operating costs, and sales are trending up going forward.”

As of late 2013, Elliot had gotten more than 300 inquires from potential investors and franchisees.

November website traffic hit 15,530 visits (12,000 unique), up from 6,501 visits (5,801 unique) in October and 209 visits in September. 

As of December 2013, about 160 earned stories ran. They included a Good Morning America segment, which aired November 9, and stories in the Los Angeles Times, Allure, BuzzFeed, Jezebel, and Refinery 29.

As a result of media coverage, 12 production companies contacted Elliot about reality TV shows related to the salon.

Future
Elliott will continue working with the agency and expects to franchise stores late this spring. 

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