At Salons Direct, you know we’ve always got you covered. We’re proud to be able to offer the best professional products on the market – and today is no different. Nail techs, this is for you!

Willow is a professional nail tool brand, specialising in e-files. Willow offers nail technicians an impressive range of innovative products, designed to enable professionals to showcase their talents. 

We spoke to the owner of Willow, Lucy James, to better understand how e-filing could potentially boost your salon financially. Read on to hear from Lucy James and find out everything you need to know about what e-filing can offer you…


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lucy James (@willowacademy_lj)

Crushing the e-file stigma 

There is a lot of debate and discussion about the use of an e-file. The main topics of conversation are: how it benefits your work, improves your finish, and how it affects your comfort when you’re performing your treatment. 

Granted, all of these factors are super important, but what seems to be missed time and time again is – cost! When I tell my students that the use of an e-file can have a huge financial impact on their businesses, it can often come across as just a marketing ploy.  

Let’s be honest, our industry hasn’t had the easiest year. We have lost so much in revenue and clientele that it can all seem rather dismal. So, on our return, it’s time to get savvy… business savvy!

Shop Now


Let’s start our comeback by working smarter, not harder, and making those financial substitutes that benefit our income. 

You hear substitute and may automatically assume “downgrade”. I’m here to tell you that’s absolutely not the case. This is an upgrade. An upgrade in the way you work, perform your treatment, whilst also increasing your income. 

Falling in love with e-filing

Personally, from my salon experience, using a hand file was probably my largest expense. I was very particular about my hand file as I liked working with a specific brand, and I used one per client. 

This always seemed excessive to others, and I know different practitioners will have different methods that work for them. But under the current guidelines, one nail file per client is required by law (another expense) due to the potential for cross-contamination.

I was constantly having to stock up, which worked out being around £1.20 including VAT per file. Factor in a minimum of 100 clients a month – it ended up being quite a costly affair. Not to mention the time factor and my poor arms!

Shop Now

When I converted to using an e-file, I mainly thought it would be a relief from the repetitive strain I felt. I had no idea the benefit it would have, not only on my work but on my profit. I didn’t even consider it and there were a few reasons why it increased my revenue.

Gaining clients

As an example, let us look at a gel polish treatment. I would use the traditional methods of removal, to soak off and reapply, which took me around 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

Firstly, etching the surface of the product by hand to help the acetone penetrate, then applying removal sachets. 

Once applied to all nails, I then used to waste 10 minutes waiting for my product to break down – that’s 10 valuable minutes of income, and all of this time doesn’t take long to add up.

Shop Now

Fast forward two years

I grab my e-file, using one bit for removal. Then, I’ll dive straight in. No waiting, no acetone, no scraping any product residue, and no fiddly wrapping. 

In less than 5 minutes the polish would be removed with the use of an e-file bit. An e-file bit that can be thoroughly cleaned, sterilised, and re-used on your next client. 

Next, onto prep. Using a sanding band, I’m cutting down the prep time significantly – as well as the use of my hand file (my clients found it more comfortable too). Let’s tackle the cuticles, using diamond bits in place of traditional tooling – softer, quicker, and more thorough. 

Shop Now

Traditional method 

Above is the difference in how I performed my treatment. But let’s also look at the difference in costs. 

  • Hand file + Acetone sachet + 10-minute wait = Roughly £5.73 (dependent on brand)
  • E-file bit (removal)+ sanding band (prep) + diamond bit (cuticles) = 16p Let’s not forget to factor in the 10 minutes saved. 
  • Based on £20 an hour – 10 minutes equates to £3.33 saved in lost time. 

Wasted time is wasted potential profit

Let’s work out how that time can affect your business over an extended period. Considering professionals need a break also, employed nail technicians will take around 28 days of holiday a year.  

This would be equal to 47 working weeks per year.  So, based on 5 clients a day 5 times a week:

  • 5 clients a day saving 10 minutes per client x 5 days a week = £83.25 (lost income per week).
  • 5 days a week x 47 working weeks of the year = £3,912.75 (lost income or wasted time per year). 

Let’s convert that lost time into having room for more clients and being able to offer more services such as a gel polish treatment:

  • 10 minutes per client saved x 5 clients a day x 47 working weeks = 195 hours. 
  • 195 hours =  24 days working 9am-5pm. 
  • You could even fit in 195 extra clients in the year which would equal to £4,875.00 a year extra profit. (Based on a gel polish price of £25).

Shop Now

The price of the product

Using traditional methods, you’re looking at around £5.73 per client: 

  • Based on 5 clients per day, 5 days a week, working 47 weeks of the year = £6,732.75 per year.
    • E-file methods = 16p per client 
  • Based on 5 clients per day, 5 days a week, working 47 weeks of the year = £188.00 per year. 

Shop Now

Final thoughts 

Here at Willow, we don’t judge. We certainly don’t push a specific agenda or method – it’s all about what’s personal to you and how you work. What works best for you, what is within your budget and your ethos is what matters most. 

We aren’t here to tell you that you should be using an e-file and that traditional methods of removal are bad. It’s not our place to do this. Hey, if you wish to combine the two methods then we have your back! 

We do however like to provide you with information to help you and your business. We care for our industry and our Willow family and are here to help in any way we can.

Answering your questions

We hosted an Instagram live with the experts from Willow academy and nailedit_beauty. If you’re interested in learning about everything you need to know about e-filing, check it out here: 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Salons Direct (@salonsdirect)

We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from Lucy James, and how switching to an e-file could help you and your salon to gain financially. Be sure to check out our range of Willow products at Salons Direct today. 

Shop the full Willow range at Salons Direct now.

Don’t forget to check out our blog to discover more brand spotlights and other articles on the Salons Direct blog

The Best Brushes for Nail Art | The Best Base Coara for All Nail Techs | Brand Spotlight: Talking All Things E-Files With Willow