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Business idea: manicure salon for kids

STALEKS Journalist.
I write about the beauty industry, collect information, and share trends. I manage an interview column on the STALEKS YouTube channel.

Manicure has become a common procedure for many men and women. Well, the situation is quite different when it comes to children: even now hand and nail care for kids is considered a new service offered only by selected beauty salons.

In Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries, beauty masters are open to fashion trends, they deliver new interesting solutions to their customers and are not afraid of working with new techniques and experimenting. Opening a beauty salon serving exclusively children and tailored for their needs would still be an experiment, but STALEKS PRO is up to any challenge! We have analyzed the market of the beauty industry and identified the major trends. We are ready to share the secrets of how to open a successful nail salon for children if you desire to work in this industry but do not know where to start. So let’s get the ball rolling!


 Why is that a cool idea?

From an early age, children are trying to be like their parents, to adopt their style, to copy their behavior. This also applies to the attitude towards personal hygiene and body care. Going to the beauty salon with parents turns into an exciting journey: the relaxed atmosphere, lots of shiny, attractive things and beautiful interior design are fascinating for most children.

Pleasant memories help to form a useful skill of taking care of oneself. Foundation of basic habits is established in childhood, so it is important to explain to the child how to look neat from an early age. Children’s manicure is the procedure many parents are skeptical about. And they are totally wrong! This pastime has a lot of positive aspects:

+  Hygiene. Professional nail care, for instance, will help the child to cope with the habit of biting nails.

+  Aesthetics. Beautiful nail art will boost the child’s confidence and help to form their own style and color preferences.

+  Fun time. Joint trips to the beauty salon can contribute to bonding between children and parents.

For you – beginner entrepreneurs– the idea to open a beauty salon for kids will have the following benefits:

  1. Low competition. Again, at the moment the beauty industry offers services mainly for adults. Yes, some nail bars or beauty salons do have manicure for kids in their service lists, but establishments that serve exclusively children are scarce.
  2. Uniqueness. It follows from the previous point – who else out there operates such a salon? Be one in a million and claim the uncharted market share!
  3. Interaction with children. Kid-oriented salon is the best choice for those who think the world of children and love to communicate with them. We will come back to the issue of creating an ideal space and using psychological tricks in communication with young customers a bit later.
  4. Relatively simple promoting policy (compared to the conventional beauty salons). Salon for kids is a novelty that will attract customers without involving complex marketing strategies. The main engine of the business is the good old “word of mouth” that happy moms are spreading through sharing information and recommendations online and offline.


What are the pitfalls here?

Beauty business can be tricky. Therefore, inspired by the advantages and having drawn castles in the air for the future project, it is important to keep thinking rationally.

For the sake of objectivity, it is necessary to stipulate the shortcomings that make beauty salons for kids not very popular as a business segment:

1)    Low demand.

Special care for children is typical of parents with income above average, while the rest of the families are prone to saving. Not all adults understand the expediency of children’s manicure and prefer to trim their children’s nails on their own.

2)    Smaller target audience.

In fact, what is the target audience for such a business? Parents and their children: preschool age (over 50%), schoolchildren and teenagers (about 40%), and infants (the smallest number, they require nail trimming only as a safety measure). If you look at the numbers, conventional salons have a greater target reach because people of all ages can use their services.

3)    Impressive costs at the initial stage of business.

Renting and organizing the premises, redecoration, receiving necessary certification, procuring equipment and materials, hiring staff, promotion – all this requires money, and in the beginning (when the business is not profitable yet) it is especially noticeable.

4)    Long pay-off period.

The profitability of such business can be estimated at 30%. To pay off the investments, the average check after visiting the salon should be at least 250 UAH ($10). When serving 150 children a month (five visitors a day), the amount of revenue will be about 40,000 UAH ($1420). It is possible to reach full payback of business in approximately 18 months after the beginning of the operation.

5)    The complexity of the organization (as in any business, anyway).

It is difficult to build a successful business from scratch, so you will need an ally – an effective business plan. Calculate the size of the start-up capital you need, find out about costs and profits, work with the customer base, and analyze the prices of equipment (ideally you’ll have to find reliable suppliers and cooperate with trusted firms).


What is the ideal beauty salon for children?

From discussing unpleasant moments, let’s move on to a more exciting and interesting stage – thinking over the concept of a children’s beauty salon. Let’s indulge in fantasies for a while: what could it be like? Here are a few helpful ideas we recommend to rely on:

1.    Location.

Malls make perfect locations for opening a salon for kids. This is the most logical option because the business needs visual live advertising and a rapid influx of customers. But do not forget that opening a salon in a shopping mall has a couple of significant drawbacks – high rental prices and limited space availability.

Standalone renting is more economical. But it is important to pick the location wisely: remote areas and places with low pedestrian traffic cannot facilitate enough customer visits. 20 sq.m room is more than enough if you open your salon in a mall, and if you opt out to be standalone, you will need a space of 50-80 sq. m.

2.    Ambiance and design.

It is essential to create an atmosphere of fairy tale and magic to capture the children’s attention and make their stay as comfortable as possible. Ideally, your salon is decorated as a game room, has toys, TVs showing cartoons, and funky furniture. Bright colors are recommended for the interior. Designer services and repairs will cost you $4-10K (depending on the complexity of the project).

3.    Psychologically savvy staff.

Not many entrepreneurs realize that, but qualified personnel plays an important role in the development and formation of the business. When it comes to children’s beauty salons, this factor is crucial. Children are special clients that require special approach, and the master should primarily be a psychologist and only after that a professional manicurist. It is important to captivate the child’s attention, to find a common language with them, to laugh and relax. It is difficult to force children to sit still, so turn the manicure procedure into something fascinating.

Typical staff of a salon for kids consists of several masters of manicure and pedicure, a teacher, and an administrator. Cleaning and accounting services can be outsourced.

4.    Professional instruments and quality materials.

Opening a children’s beauty salon is a costly affair because we are talking about procuring all the necessary equipment at once when you just start your business. The basic set for children’s manicure should include the following tools:

  • Safe baby scissors with rounded edges. Optimal scissors for children’s manicure are presented in the Beauty&Care and Classic series by STALEKS. But if such scissors can be used by parents at home, the manicure specialist who has mastered professional tools will also be able to use ‘adult’ scissors and nippers for children’s manicure. The main condition here is that the blades of such instruments should be thickened and straight, sharpened manually. For convenience, the handles of these are of average length
  • Glass or crystal nail files with low abrasiveness: used to gently treat the nail plate
  • Orangewood sticks for the cuticle: they help to push the excess skin from the nail plate
  • Disposable soft buff for nail polishing
  • Special cream or oil for children’s skin with the softening effect
  • Vitamin-based polishes for children, sequins, stencils, and other decorative elements for beautiful and unique nail art
  • Antiseptic to disinfect instruments and hands before manicure
  • Equipment for disinfection and sterilization

5.    Original solutions.

The masters of children’s manicure have an impressive set of distractions in their arsenal. Original solutions and individual approach will help gain trust from the young customers. First, the master gets acquainted with the child, then follows with a treat of sweets, offers to watch cartoons. The boring process of waiting which seems unbearable for many children can be brightened, thanks to the game corner.

6.    Service extension.

Nothing stands still, and if you decide to open a beauty salon for children, in the future it makes sense to think about other services in addition to manicure and pedicure: face painting, massage, ear piercing, hairdressing, workshops on make-up.


Creating a paradise of beauty for kids seems a tough challenge only at first glance. All you need is the determination to start your business and a comprehensive business plan. Further business development will depend solely on your motivation and reasonableness of the initial strategy. Good luck in your endeavors! We will be happy to suggest more interesting ideas for your business development!

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