Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Passion of the Manicurist

After a recent (small) exodus of employees at Julep, I wasn't surprised to see an ad on Craigslist yesterday looking for new "Vernisseurs." I didn't think much of it at the time, but this morning when I (shockingly) got up early and went for a walk, I remembered it and mulled it over a little more.

My conclusions were that advertising for "Passionate Manicurists" is great, but I'm not really sure how they expect to keep them. The team we had started out with was pretty passionate about doing a good job. Unfortunately, that collective passion was neither nurtured nor maintained. So I went back for another look at their ad and noticed a few more major flaws.

  • NATURAL NAILS ONLY: At Julep, we care about the health of our
    and our guests. That’s why we offer only natural nail
    services (no artificial nail services). (
    If the health of Vernisseurs is such an issue, why are the ergonomics so bad?)
  • INNOVATION: Julep leads the industry in innovative
    like the Girlfriend's Glycolic Manicure and seasonal
    treatments like the fall Pumpkin Spice pedicure and winter Cranberry
    There is nothing innovative about switching in different products to make a normal service into a "special" or "seasonal" service. It has been done before. Many times. All over the United States.)
  • SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: From our commitment to minimizing our environmental impact, to our efforts to support the schools and nonprofit organizations in our local community, Julep is a company that you will be proud to be part of. (Although there is a great deal of lip service given to how "green" Julep wants to be, I didn't see it being practiced. There were many opportunities for reducing environmental waste that were blatantly ignored. I'm really tired of companies that jump on the sustainability bandwagon. That isn't being responsible. It's called being a tool.)
  • OUR COMPENSATION Julep offers a highly competitive “total pay” package. (Don't even get me started. The only people that would find this compensation competitive are the folks who are just starting out in the industry or have spent their life working at places like InSpa or worse. Not only was the pay and benefits lower than what I had made previously, it also didn't even come close to matching what I was offered for my new position.)

I could go into much greater detail and pick apart every little thing they posted. Does it mean I'm cynical? Well, about Julep, yes. I went into it with the best of intentions and really tried to make it work. The really positive beginning gave it enough momentum for a while. And once that momentum wore out, I still attempted to keep a positive outlook.

But unless things change significantly, I predict it will eventually run into the ground. The initial rave reviews that were garnered from the press aren't going to do anything in the long run. Have you seen the reviews on Yelp or CitySearch? (I question how CitySearch gives it a 4.5 star rating with the amount of negative reviews that are on there.) The customer feedback that I see on those sites leads me to the conclusion that it is a great idea on paper, but the actual experience is way too inconsistent for the prices they are charging.

Am I chewing on this unnecessarily? Am I bitter? The answer to those questions: a firm, "Yes." I have been hurt by actions that the owner took towards me and I know that much of my negativity towards Julep at this point comes from that. But even when I separate out my personal experiences and look at the situation more objectively, I come to the conclusion that the business has been poorly managed from the start. I encourage anyone to come up with their own opinions about Julep, but I'm not going to tiptoe around and talk about what a great environment it was when the truth is, working there really sucked.

But now that I've gotten that out of my system, I also have to be willing to put it behind me. What have I learned? Valuable lessons about personal integrity, business ethics, emotional abuse in the workplace, and how to disengage from a negative situation.

So. No more ranting about Julep. I may not wish the business owner any luck with her future, but I also don't need to put any more of my energy towards thinking about Julep. She doesn't deserve it. (Besides, Snotty already summed up all of the angst and frustration I feel in an incandescent open letter on her blog.)


Snotty McSnotterson said...

And stands by every word.

That being said, I still wish I had your resignation balls. :)

Manthony said...

Next time dear Snotty, next time...