A close-up of an array of colorful, meticulously designed press-on nails, neatly organized in a display case, showcasing the variety and quality of products available for a press-on nail business.

How To Start A Press On Nail Business

Nails are big business! With the growing popularity of press on nails and nail art, starting your own press on nail business can be a lucrative endeavor. If you’re wondering how to get started, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: research the market, get licensed and insured, decide on your press on nail designs and styles, find suppliers and establish partnerships, set up an ecommerce site and market yourself on social media.

Do Your Market Research

Determine demand and trends

Conducting market research is crucial when starting a press on nail business. You need to determine if there is sufficient demand for press on nails in your area. Some ways to evaluate demand and trends include:

  • Search Google Trends to see if searches for “press on nails” have been increasing over time. This indicates growing interest.
  • Check press on nail seller groups on Facebook to see how active they are. More activity signals higher demand.
  • Survey potential customers in your area about their interest in press on nails. Ask questions about how often they would purchase press ons, what styles they prefer, and what they would pay.
  • Visit beauty supply stores to see what press on nail brands they carry and how large the display areas are. More products and shelf space is a positive indicator.

Pay attention to nail art and design trends on Instagram and Pinterest. This will help you create stylish press on designs that customers want to buy.

Research your competition

It’s important to analyze competitors selling press on nails both locally and online. Some key things to research include:

  • What styles and designs of press on nails do they offer?
  • What do they charge for press on sets? Look at pricing across short/long nails and simple/complex designs.
  • What colors and nail art trends haven’t they covered yet? This present an opportunity.
  • Do they sell wholesale to beauty supply stores or salons? Consider if you want a wholesale model.
  • What social media platforms are they on and how many followers do they have? Benchmark to guide your marketing.
  • What types of press on nail kits or accessories do they sell beyond just press ons? Get product ideas.

Analyzing a few competitors helps spot unmet needs and smart ways to differentiate. You can then tailor unique press on nail offerings.

Figure out pricing and profit margins

Pricing your press on nails profitably requires calculating your costs and establishing reasonable retail pricing. Steps for determining pricing:

  1. Add up material expenses like nail tips, glue, polish, rhinestones, etc. per set
  2. Factor in labor time and cost for you or employees to make each set
  3. Include overhead like shop rent, supplies, and equipment
  4. Establish minimum 30-50% gross margin goals for profitability
  5. Research competitor press on nail pricing for benchmarking
  6. Set retail prices aligned to customer willingness to pay from your survey findings
  7. Consider offering tiered pricing on simple vs. complex/custom press on designs

Online marketplaces suggest handmade press on nail sets typically range from $15-$45 with an average of $25. But pricing can vary widely based on materials, skill level, and design complexity. Run financial forecasts to ensure your pricing and expected order volumes will deliver needed profit margins.

Adapt pricing over time as needed.

Get Licensed and Insured

Starting a successful press on nail business requires proper licensing and insurance to operate legally and protect yourself from liability. Here are the main legal and insurance considerations when launching your nails venture.

Business License

You need a general business license to legally operate any business. This license is issued by your state, county, or city government to regulate businesses for tax and other purposes. Fees range from $25 to over $100 annually depending on your location.

When applying for your business license, you must provide key details about your company, including formal business name, ownership structure, location, and industry categorization codes. The process takes 1-2 weeks once submitted.

Seller’s Permit

A seller’s permit, also called a sales tax permit, allows you to collect sales tax from customers and remit to state authorities. This permit is mandatory if you will be making any retail sales in person or online.

Seller’s permit fees are generally $50 or less annually. You must display the permit publicly in your physical business location per legal requirements.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance protects your assets if customers ever sue your business for loss or damages associated with your products or services. It covers legal costs and judgements up to the policy limits.

A basic general liability policy costs $500 to $2,000 annually depending on your business risks, location, and amount of coverage selected. Higher policy limits provide more protection but also cost more in premiums.

As a best practice, aim for at least $1 million per incident and $2 million total annual aggregate coverage limits. This provides reasonable protection for most small businesses like a nail studio.

In addition to liability coverage, also consider business property insurance, professional errors insurance, employee health insurance, and other policies as warranted.

By securing proper licensing and insurance, you greatly mitigate risks in operating your press on nails business while also complying fully with legal requirements.

Decide on Your Press On Nail Designs

Nail shapes

When launching a press on nail business, one of the most important decisions is selecting the nail shapes you will offer. The most popular nail shapes tend to be round, square, almond, coffin, and stiletto. Consider carrying multiple shapes to appeal to diverse customer preferences.

For example, round and square shapes tend to be conservative picks for the office, while coffin and stiletto shapes make more of a fashion statement. Be sure to choose shapes that align with current nail trends.


In addition to shapes, offering various nail lengths is key. Standard press on sizes tend to range from short to extra long. According to industry surveys, medium length press on nails are the most popular, selling 4 times more than extra short or extra long varieties.

Be sure to stock more medium lengths compared to extreme sizes. It’s also smart to sell press on nails in sets with a mix of lengths for convenience.


No press on nail business is complete without a wide range of stylish colors. From nudes and pinks to whites and blacks, carry at least 30-40 solid color choices. Also be sure to offer French tip designs in various base colors.

According to the site HarpersBazaar.com, the most requested press on shades are various nudes, pinks, and classic reds, so be sure to overstock those timeless tones.

Art and embellishments

While press on nails with embellishments take more production effort, they allow you to charge a premium and tend to fly off shelves. Consider press on nails with rhinestones, glitter, striped accents, marbleized looks, metallic touches, lace overlays, and even press ons with pearls or charms.

Offering unique glam and bridal press on sets can also attract social media attention and sales.

Solids vs prints vs French tips

For maximum variety, carry press on nail sets in solids, prints, and French manicures. Classic French tips remain staples in the press on nail industry. However, explore modern twists like inverse French tips, neon French tips, and French on colored bases rather than bare nails.

In addition, tap into current print and pattern trends with press ons featuring polka dots, florals, geometrics, animal prints, tie dye swirls and more. such variety allows you to appeal to diverse buyer interests.

Themes and collections

Releasing themed press on nail collections is an impactful marketing technique in this business. Consider timely themes like major holidays, seasons, monthly colors, and events like New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, bridal showers, prom season and more.

You can even tap into pop culture with press on sets inspired by movies, TV shows, music artists and celebrities driving social media conversations. Limited edition sets create urgency around purchasing before stocks sell out.

Find Suppliers and Establish Partnerships

Nail manufacturers

When starting a press on nail business, it’s crucial to find high-quality nail manufacturers to partner with. Reputable manufacturers like Kiara Nails and Opal Nails offer a wide selection of press on nails in various shapes, sizes and designs.

You’ll want to sample several styles to determine pricing, quality and ease of application. Consider lead times for production and minimum order quantities as well. Building strong relationships with manufacturers is key to ensuring a reliable supply of products.

Packaging companies

Along with great press on nails, creative packaging is important for making a good first impression with customers. There are packaging companies that specialize in boxes, bags and displays for beauty products. Paper Mart has pre-designed packaging or can customize designs.

Uline offers nail polish bags, boxes and acrylic displays. For eco-friendly options, check companies like Ecosoul that use recycled and biodegradable materials. Order samples to see the quality firsthand before making large orders.

Influencers and brand ambassadors

Influencers with large social media followings can be great partners for getting the word out about your press on nails when starting out. Micro-influencers in beauty and nail art with 5K to 100K engaged followers often have reasonable rates. Use a platform like Upfluence to find options.

Make sure to review content to ensure good aesthetics and messaging. Long-term brand ambassador partnerships are also worthwhile for established influencers who genuinely love your products. Compensate them with free products, commission rates and creative control over content.

Set Up Your Ecommerce Platform

Choose a user-friendly ecommerce platform

Choosing the right ecommerce platform is crucial for starting a successful press on nail business online. Popular options like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce offer easy-to-use interfaces, flexible designs, and built-in features like payment processing, shipping calculators, and SEO optimization.

Look for an affordable platform that allows you to create an attractive, professional-looking website even if you don’t have coding skills. Make sure the platform is optimized for mobile, since studies show that over 60% of online shopping occurs on smartphones.

A user-friendly interface allows you to manage products, orders, and customers smoothly.

Optimize site for SEO

Optimizing your ecommerce site for search engine optimization (SEO) helps customers find your business when searching online. Focus on keywords related to press on nails like “press on nails,” “fake nails,” “reusable press on nails,” etc. Include these keywords naturally throughout your site content.

Write compelling product descriptions, titles, alt text, and blog posts centered around your target keywords. Use SEO plugins like Yoast to optimize on-page elements. Building backlinks from other reputable websites also boosts your search rankings.

Track your SEO metrics to see which terms drive the most organic traffic over time.

Include high-quality product photos

Showcase your press on nail designs with professional, high-quality product photography. Clear, well-lit photos allow customers to see details like color, shape, and size. Shoot nails on a model’s hands against a soft background. Take pictures of the nails laid flat to display the full design.

Add close-ups to highlight embellishments and patterns. Consistent image sizes and styles make your product page visually appealing. Enable image zoom so shoppers can inspect nails closely. Write detailed captions mentioning colors, materials, sizes, etc.

Photos are critical for conveying quality and enticing customers.

Set up payment processing

Your ecommerce platform should handle payment processing through integrations with payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal. These services allow you to securely accept credit cards and manage transactions. Make sure to implement SSL encryption protocols to protect customer data.

Offer convenient payment methods like PayPal, Apple Pay, and “buy now pay later” installment plans. Allow shoppers to save payment information for faster checkout on future orders. Provide top-notch security and ease of payment to convert and retain customers.

Processing fees vary between gateways, so compare options to maximize profits.

Market Your Press On Nails

Leverage social media

Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are great places to market your press on nail business. Create accounts showcasing your designs and products. Post often with stylized photos and videos that grab attention.

Use relevant hashtags like #pressonnails, #nailart, and #supportsmallbusiness to reach target audiences. Run contests and giveaways to increase engagement. Partner with microinfluencers in the nail community to expand your reach.

Run targeted ads

Paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google can help you connect with audiences interested in press on nails. Target women 18-35 who have searched for related keywords. Create beautiful display ads showcasing your designs.

Write compelling copy highlighting your products’ benefits like convenience, affordability, and stylish appearance. Track engagement metrics and optimize for increased clicks and conversions. Remarketing to website visitors and email subscribers can also boost results.

Offer discounts and promotions

Strategic discounts and promotions are an excellent tactic for driving sales of your press on nails. Offer first-time customer discounts like 20% off their first order. Run periodic sales like Buy One Get One Half Off or Buy Two Get One Free.

On major holidays and celebrations, provide sitewide discounts like 20% off all products with a promo code. Loyalty programs with points or rewards for frequent customers also provide value. Promote all specials through social media, email newsletters, and online ads.

Partner with influencers

Influencer marketing collaborations are a smart strategy for press on nail businesses to leverage their existing audiences. Reach out to beauty and nail influencers on Instagram and TikTok with 5k-100k followers. Offer to gift them your products in exchange for content featuring their nail looks.

You can also pay microinfluencers $100-200 to create sponsored posts. Ensure the values and aesthetics align before pursuing partnerships. Use an affiliate program to offer commission on any sales driven by influencers.

Attend beauty industry events

Attending beauty conventions, trade shows, and conferences allows you to network, promote your brand, and reach new audiences. Have a booth with eye-catching displays to showcase your products. Hand out business cards and chat with attendees about your press on nails.

Partner with other complementary brands at the event for cross-promotion. Run special event promotions like flash giveaways and contests to generate buzz. Following up with contacts after events can lead to collaborations, press, and wholesale opportunities.


Starting a successful press on nail business takes research, planning and dedication. But if you have a passion for nail art and design, it can be an incredibly rewarding endeavor. The press on nails market continues to expand, so there’s lots of opportunity for new brands and creativity.

Follow the steps outlined here, and you’ll be well on your way to launching your own fabulous press on nail empire!

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