Small Business Thoughts While Having a Pedicure

I did something a week ago that all males should do often – got a pedicure. As I relaxed my legs in warm water, I wondered why the nails/manicure/pedicure industry does not lure more male customers.

male pedicure

According to a research company, IBISWorld’s Hair & Nail Salons Market Research Report, this industry had a revenue of 42 billion, employs around 1.5 million people in over 1.06 million businesses. That is a huge number and if men do not frequently get pedicures, then this industry may be losing out on half of the potential customers.

I must admit, I was shy when I entered the nail care place. I had the same feeling when, decades ago, I went to a  Parikmakerskaya (Barber Shop) in Moscow staffed predominantly by women. Until then, growing up in India, I had only seen male barbers and that is why the experience was new.

Fast forward to my current experience.  The pedicure experience was good, no stares from patrons for being the only male there, and I was comforted that there was no silence but a constant stream of conversation around me.

I looked to see if there was any marketing or promotional material that I could use to persuade other men to have a pedicure too. I began to think between the foot scrubs I was getting  that this may be a lost opportunity for this industry. The U.S. population is almost half male and entrepreneurs like the Grooming Lounge in Washington, D.C. have done a good job catering to this market.

Some tips for small business owners in the pedicure industry:

  1. Reach out to potential customers through your existing customers. Maybe a sign that says, “Your partner or spouse will love us too. Bring them in!”
  2. A sign outside the window that says, “Pedicure for men available” may make shy men come in confidently.
  3. A coupon or offer that can be handed over to the men  in your existing client’s life.
  4. Educational blog posts or videos on how men should take care of their feet (see a good example at Groomin Guys.)
  5. Label your price list to include Men. Example: Men/Women Pedicure.

These are some basic thoughts and readers may have other ways this industry can promote itself to new customers. Your thoughts?

Pedicure Photo via Shutterstock


Shashi Bellamkonda Shashi Bellamkonda is CMO of Surefire Social, AKA "Social Media Swami" at SurefireSocial. Visit Shashi Bellamkonda's blog. He is also an adjunct faculty at Georgetown University. Shashi is a regular contributor to the Washington Business Journal, DC Examiner and other tech blogs like Smallbiztechnology and Techcocktail. Shashi has been in the list of Top 100 Small Business Influencer Champions list for 2011 and 2012.

17 Reactions
  1. Perhaps an advertising campaign featuring various “manly men” receiving pedicures. For example, lumberjacks, football players, and firemen looking tough but enjoying being pampered.

  2. Great ideas here. Shops should hire a great marketing communications person like me to grow their business! Male actor on Jimmy Kimmel in past week was talking about getting pedicure.

    And imagine having delightful conversation w/woman next to you…. Barbra Streisand was next to me during pedicure!

  3. One reason men are not attracted towards manicure/pedicure could be they don’t need it as they wear shoes mostly due to which feet are not affected.
    One more tip for business owners; introduce referral system and give special discount to old customers if they bring new customers.

  4. We run a day spa on Bali Island serving customers from all over the world. Our experience is that Asian couples are much more open than Westerners to manicure, pedicure and other care treatments, probably due to different mindset and customs. But as you suggest, with bit marketing efforts we are able to encourage gents to try out and finally enjoy pedicure. Vouchers and follow-up emails work great.

  5. Adam Gottlieb @ The Frugal Entrepreneur

    There are some really good points in this post…

    But, I look at like this: Pinterest is a very useful site/service, but it is predominantly used by the female part of the online population. Just this fact alone drives away many men who may otherwise use it. So what happened? It didn’t take long for another photo sharing/social network to emerge geared specifically for men: Here, men share Manly Things.

    My point? Is nail care something a man could benefit from? Yes. Are there men (even Manly Men) who would potentially use this service? Yes (at least I think so). But the approach needs to be completely geared to men, the way they think, and their needs.

    So maybe a separate man’s salon for hair and nail care could work with the marketing message focused on something technical and “sterile” such as the health benefits of nail care. (and notice the words “nail care” and NOT a pedicure)

  6. I’m A-63 and got my first pedicure in Wesport, CT a few weeks ago. My son and his fiance took me and I’ll definitely make a habit of it in the future!! As a marketer, I agree with you… More men, especially stressed-out small businessmen should get a pedicure. It was a wonderfully relaxing experience.

  7. Corrie Davidson

    Great points and a good article!

  8. You’ve come up with some good ideas, Shashi. When you went into the place, did you talk to them about what they could do?

    One idea: they could offer manicures for men and women, then when the men-folk come in for a manicure, offer them a pedicure at a discount rate for their first time.