James Reeve-Shillito is a Bio Sculpture nail technician who set up his own independent business, Nail In The Coffin. Before discovering Solo, James was managing his business via Instagram DM's and a paper diary.
When did you first start your independent business?
I first trained just before lockdown and at the time I was working full time at the vets. After lockdown, I reduced my hours and started my independent nail and lash business on the side.
What booking software were you using before Solo and why wasn’t it working for you?
I used to use Faces for my consultation forms and then I would just manage my bookings with a paper diary, which got really annoying. I couldn’t even read my writing at times and I found myself forgetting to update my diary when clients rearranged or messaged me on Instagram, which sometimes meant I double booked.
The whole thing was just a pain with the constant DM’s and always having to send information on pricing etc. If someone messages me on Instagram, I feel like I have to reply straight away, where as now I get sent a booking request, I feel like I can leave it until the next day if it’s come through late at night.
How has Solo helped your business?
It’s made things a lot easier because if someone messages me, I just direct them to my booking link. They can then put in all their details, choose what they want and then get sent the consultation form.
Being a nail technician, I often had problems with clients not adding nail art onto their booking, so I set up my consultation form to acknowledge that if they didn’t add it to their booking, it would be added on at the end of their appointment and my clients have to read that and sign it in advance. It’s just little things like that I no longer have to worry about.
How does Solo make you feel about your business?
It makes me feel more professional with the website that’s built into Solo. Sometimes I think people can think Instagram is a bit unprofessional if that’s all you have for your business. I think having a booking system along with the website, reviews, pictures a bio, I think it comes across a lot more professional.
What does Solo allow you to do that you couldn't do before?
I don’t have to keep boxes of paperwork anymore, like my consultation forms, it's all just saved on the app. I've got one system for everything now, I haven't got to have two or three apps for bookings, consent forms and all this stuff. I can just do everything I need to on Solo. It saves me so much time and hassle.
What would you say to other independent beauty businesses who are still using a paper diary?
I would say get rid of it, I think they’re outdated. Get a booking system and it will make your life so much easier. It’s so much better to have it all in one place and not have a paper diary. I think they just get messy too and it doesn’t look good if you’re whipping out a diary with people’s names all in it in front of clients with lines through it from when you’ve had to amend it. Solo is much easier, cleaner and professional.