The Growth, Challenges, & Future of Neiru
This is Jasmine and Jessey here (he’s helping me write this letter we’ve put together)
This past August, September and October have been a bit crazy – near sleepless couple months for us.
There’s been so much that has gone with our entire team pulling late nights, pouring our hearts in to building and planning, and we want to share with you the changes, decisions, reasons behind them, as well as the future plans with Neiru.
Change isn’t always easy for everyone (including ourselves), but we know in order to keep up it’s important that we keep an open ear to our Neirubees.
And that isn’t just to do with our weekly lessons, but with the overall experience of being a Neirubee (member)!
So in this post, we want to update you on all the major changes and and exciting plans we have coming up ahead. So let’s go through it one at a time…
A New Neiru Home! (Website Redesign)
For the past 8 months we’ve been working alongside with designers and developers on redesigning Neiru and finally relaunched our site on September 30th. But of course with several hiccups (far from perfect, but we’re getting there!).
A new site meant several changes but we made sure any Neirubees from our old site did not have their account’s affected from their pricing (grandfathered) to the points they have collected.
So why did we update our site?
Neiru’s first site, was not only a cozy home for us to begin with, but also a place where we could do a lot of learning.
We studied at analytics, trends, behaviours, comments, complaints, and also the good things that we were doing. Took all of that and used that to build our new home.
So what were some of those issues?
Issue 1: Library Navigation
Our old site was not well designed in terms of browsing a growing and lengthy library. Sorting was not truly available, navigation and finding a lesson was a difficult task – you’d have to guess which tab the lesson would be under and hope you’d find it!
With now over 1000+ minutes of lessons, 5 instructors, all of which continue to grow, we needed a new way to navigate through our library.
The Solution: Our newly redesigned library allows for sorting of tags, newest lessons, by artists, by styles – we’ve included as many sorting functions as possible and have kept it as intuitive as possible. Now you are even able to sort by lessons that you have watched and liked. It’s a very flexible, and customizable library that makes future navigation much easier!
Issue 2: Site Community
The community, or our ‘Neirubee Hive’ as some Neirubees have coined it, is the heart and soul of Neiru. Interactions, conversations, helpful posts – all these help create a thriving environment. Though our members-only Facebook group was well and alive, our website community forum was stagnating.
To make things difficult with so many using mobile devices, you needed an app to post if you were using it on mobile, security was another issues (don’t forget all the ‘adult’ spam posts by robots crawling the internet), it didn’t work with our points system and overall, it just wasn’t streamlined for quick conversations that we needed.
The Solution: On Neiru’s new site, we’re using a powerful, secured system, and very mobile friendly that allows for easy posting, uploading of images, and now connects with our points system (yes you gain points for posting)! We know how important our community is, and for those who don’t use Facebook, or want to post under our lessons – now you can, easily!
Issue 3: Mobile Friendly
As mentioned already, we noticed so many of you were using Neiru on your mobile devices. Infact, over 70% of you were using Neiru on a mobile platform (smartphones or tablets). We needed something that suited the times, looked great on mobile screens, but most of all functioned smoothly on mobile.
The Solution: We’ve designed everything from the bottom up to work and be optimized for your on-the-go-finger-tapping!
Issue 4: Speed
This perhaps was one of the most common things we heard: how the site loaded so slowly, and you were right about how things took so awfully long to load.
The Solution: We’ve upgraded our servers, and fully optimized the coding – thank you to our amazing team of developers and coders. We’ve been working closely with 3 web developers and 1 now remains permanently on staff with Neiru, and we can’t be more than thankful. (Side note: Yuli, our permanent Neiru developer on the Neiru team just gave birth to a baby boy last week!)
Design and Branding
The site upgrade also gave us a chance to really redefine and focus on Neiru’s branding.
We wanted our site to speak friendly and simple while inspiring creativity and fun – it’s exactly what inspired to get us all started with this craft. Jessey worked closely with a design team out in South Africa ‘Fixate’ (fixate.it) and after several weeks, solidified a design and branding.
We just couldn’t be happier with how things turned out for our new Neirubee home!
More Than Looks
Creating a new site was much more than making it look ‘pretty’.
It us a year of careful understanding of how Neirubees used our old site, what they were doing, what they were needing, and making sure we deliver in terms of design, functionality, and experience.
We do have a few issues that we’re still working through but we hope you’re feeling comfy right in our home! ❤
The (New) Neiru Pro Level
We believe that Neiru and Nail Art should not be restricted to only professionals, but that hopefully by inspiring hobbyists to get formal training. Now we understand some of you may not be full time or even professionals but we wanted a chance to cater to those who are looking at Nail Art as a profession and path in life.
Neiru Art Trends (N.A.T.) Certificate + Report Card Feedback
We know that many of you want to be held accountable for your work. You just need a bit of help pushing you to reach your creative limits. And that’s what the N.A.T. Certificate and Report Card Feedback is.
You get 1 term (6 months from when you joined as a Neirubee) to complete 12 original designs total (about 2 per month) that draws techniques or design elements from the latest lessons posted from your Pro membership join date.
I will be personally be going through your work, grading and giving you personal feedback on your technique, creativity, overall design cohesiveness, photography, and average term progress.
After scoring your work, you’ll eligible to earn a “Neiru Art Trends” certificate and medal in accordance to your score.
Keeping up is a challenge, but that’s exactly what the Neiru Art Trends program is all about!
In order to continue doing what you love or creating art, being in a niche field can be tough at the beginning, but with clear understanding of business goals and a strategic path, you are setting yourself up for the long-term success.
Content dedicated for our Neiru Pro members, our goal with with Neiru Biz Training is to arm you with the strategies and proven paths that will save you from learning the hard way and potentially even risking your very own business from failure.
Neiru Biz training will cover courses such as niche vs full service, pricing and profits, branding, and much more in the near future.
We’re so excited to have Neiru Biz Sensei, Liz Morris, from The Nail Hub Podcast be a part of the Neiru movement and heading this brand new, highly valuable, department of Neiru!
PS: Keep In Mind…continuing as a basic member still entitles you to the very same content before the creation of our Neiru Pro level. This means you will continue to receive weekly new nail art lessons (the same lessons as our Neiru Pro) as well as full access to our community!
Neiru Nail Art Lessons
Nail art lessons are a core part of Neiru – and this is what got me first started on YouTube.
Now we’ve introduced 5 Neiru Sensei’s including myself. We’ll continue to work with all our instructors to bring you their own latest in techniques, designs, and styles – giving you a true understanding of the styles coming out of the nail fashion mecca of Japan!
We hear you!
Recently Neirubees have expressed wanting to see more diverse lessons and we hear you – and keep in mind we’re working hard to establish this. But also I want to note, when we bring in a nail artist into Neiru, they are showcasing their flavour and what has made them a phenomenal nail art pioneer in Japan.
It’s such a privilege to be able to share their diversity, and we want to do whatever we can to support and respect their work, teaching, style, and secrets.
But, ofcourse, we still want to make sure we’re teaching what our Neirubees want to learn. So here’s a few things that we’re doing to better cater our Neirubees:
It’s back – we’ve setup a request section inside of Neiru. We want to continue to hear what you want to see.
No promises can be made, but we’ll work hard to communicate these requests to our current instructors (we’ve done a pretty good job in terms of requests in the best and we’ll continue this again).
So if you’ve seen a design a Neiru Sensei has created or if you see something completely different that you’d like to learn, go ahead and send us a request.
Here’s the challenge: Requesting of some designs are ‘signature’ to certain artists, and though there are no legalities protecting a nail artists’ secret techniques – it’s a very grey area which is why so many nail artists are so reserved from sharing their secrets. The Neiru team will respect the nail artist’s signature designs and secrets unless given permission to reveal a certain technique – and that’s why we’re working hard to help bring more instructors into Neiru.
Artist’s Nail Art Surveys
When we announce a artist that will be teaching as a Neiru Sensei Faculty, we’ll be running surveys of what our Neirubees would like to see from their repertoire! Now this isn’t always possible with some of our instructors that we’re working to bring in, but this is just another way to make sure we try our best to get you what you need – at the end of the day we’re here only because of you!
Nail Artist Requests
Not only do we want to hear what you want to see, but it’s great to hear who you’d like to see teach.
Here’s the challenge: Building trust with our nail artists in Japan is a very organic process. We can’t simply walk in with a contract and ask them to reveal their secrets. But that’s our job to explain to them what our genuine goals are of showcasing Japanese nail art to the world, while helping to build the skill level and confidence of our Neirubees.
Working with Japanese nail artists and establishing trust to reveal their secrets takes time, especially coming from Japan and presenting their works to the rest of the foreign world.
And that’s why we’ve spent almost the last month out here in Japan….
Our Time Here in Japan Building Neiru
We’ve spent the last 2-3 weeks in countless meetings training all over Japan from Tokyo, to Osaka, to Kyoto, introducing artists to Neiru.
You’d be shocked as to how many refuse to come on board.
At the same time, we’ve made some successful leads, but nothing written in stone. Believe me Japan holds a much more conservative and strict view on business agreements especially with revealing secrets that they’ve built their own career on – so we tread very carefully not to lose any opportunities!
We express to artists how we are here not to only there share their work but also to seek a way to help build their reputation globally. That we want to be able to contribute back to their work without destroying their own livelihood of teaching in live seminars.
It’s a very complicated process and each artist holds their own unique challenges and situations that we have to personally get to know. But, we’re more determined than ever to continue to bring the best to our Neirubees!
As our last week here in Tokyo approaches, we’ve met with several artist and though I didn’t plan on sharing this until later…
But – I just can’t contain my excitement much longer…
We’ve got a new Sensei joining Neiru and completely believes in our mission. As one of the most highly sought for nail artist across the globe from Kyoto, Japan, Art Director at Vetro, creator of the most coveted and sold out nail art brushes in Japan, and now Neiru Sensei – we want to welcome Tati!
More news to come but we are ecstatic that we have Tati who will be joining our family!
Some other recognizable names that we got to spend time out here was with Neiru Sensei Tetsuro, Hana4, MDA, Nail TAT Shop Executives, and many more.
We can’t say much more than this but we’re so excited for what is to come!
The Future of Neiru
As we continue to grow Neiru, we will always continue keep all of you Neirubees in mind.
The journey hasn’t been easy one, and with the dramatic increase in the quality of our content and our deliverance through the Neiru platform we’re still hoping that eventually member growth and cancellation rates work in favor of keeping Neiru around for a bright and sustainable future.
With now 8 permanent staff members (including web developers, designers, a translator, support team, etc) and nail artists on a contract, our membership fees continue to help support our growing staff team and artist.
On behalf of our entire team, I want to personally thank you for loving your craft, for being a part of such a genuine and no-evil-doing community that is more than happy to help each other, and finally continuing to support Neiru and our unique movement as we help enrich our Neirubee’s passion, art, and lives.
Our whole team, cannot wait to continue to pour our hearts into what we’ve built together – a home and community and we all look forward to sharing and building Neiru with you all!
From the bottom of hearts, どうもありがとうございます (thank you very much)!
– Jasmine, Jessey, and the entire Neiru team! ❤