For weeks her emails to an important client had gone unanswered and requests for a meeting made via telephone had been politely declined. Vhari Russell knew that she would have to think outside of the box.
As a business owner and mother of three, she struggled to find time in the day to squeeze in appointments to get her nails and hair done, even though looking sleek and professional was important in her roles as a CEO, head of a networking group and charity founder.
Vhari thought it was probably the same story, too, for the head of the high-profile events company with whom she was hoping to collaborate — so she decided to throw caution to the wind. She located a nail bar close to where they both live and suggested the client might like to join her for a manicure. Bingo!
‘It was a really good way of getting her to sit down and chat,’ says Vhari, 44, who lives in Brampton, Cambridgeshire and who founded her company, The Food Marketing Experts, 11 years ago.
‘There were none of the stuffy formalities of a regular business meeting, and so many positive things came out of it. A lot of what I do is about building relationships, and taking people out of traditional settings makes a difference. We both just felt really relaxed.’
The rapport generated over shades of scarlet was, Vhari believes, more effective than a dry business lunch of beef bourguignon and a cheese board could ever be. She has been employing the ‘manicure as meeting’ strategy for female