Beauty rivals get ready to fight tooth and nail

Claws were this week being sharpened in the professional beauty sector as Nails magazine was taken on by a new rival launched by its former sales director and group editor.

New B2B monthly Scratch is targeting manicurists and pedicurists in hair and tanning salons and plans to steal the market leadership from Nails.

Scratch is promising to take a more “funky” approach to the subject, featuring news, training, products and services, as well as tips on how to run a profitable and successful business in the nail industry. Like Nails, it will also be distributed to 10,500 readers via controlled circulation.

Scratch publisher Scott Derbyshire, who has spent 10 years in the nail industry, said: “They made me redundant 12 weeks ago, so I thought the best opportunity for me to stay in the industry was to come up with a new launch. It’s always healthy to have two magazines in the market.” Initially, the magazine will be free, but Derbyshire said he was aiming for 50 to 60 per cent of readers to be fully paid-up subscribers within 18 months.

Scratch editor Alex Fox was previously group editor of Nails but walked out the day after Derbyshire left, following a clash with management. Fox said nails was currently the biggest growth area in the professional beauty sector. “It is the one that is spinning out of control. Nail salons are appearing in every town and city,” she said.

Sarah Wilkin, who was also made redundant from Nails, has joined Scratch as a staff writer.

The launch has been received with some scepticism at Nails, where there are concerns that too many new titles are entering the market. Insiders say there are rumours of two other launches targeting nail professionals, the first of which is due in September.

Julie Day, publishing director of Health & Beauty, which owns Nails, said: “To have three magazines is crazy. I don’t think it is fair on the industry and one or two magazines won’t survive.” Although growth has been steady, Day said there had not been a major growth spurt to justify another magazine. “There aren’t the products or advertisers,” she said. “I’ve always felt that we mirror the US nail industry. It is a good 10 to 15 years ahead of us but they only have two trade magazines and on that basis I don’t feel the UK market can successfully sustain two or more titles.”

Nails is planning a relaunch in September.

By Ruth Addicott

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