Cyndy Drummey tackles a few industry sacred cows in this award-winning editorial.
1) Tougher sanitation standards are not required. Please. Making nail techs sterilize their implements isn’t going to keep a client from getting a mycobacterium infection. If nail techs would simply wash their hands (with regular soap – skip the antibacterial hand wash) infections would be reduced instantly. People are more worried about the ultra-fine printing on their disinfection products (tuberculocidal? hospital- versus medical-grade?) and not concerned enough about cleaning basics. We learned it in kindergarten: Wash your hands. And stop lobbying the legislature to require nail salons to autoclave.
2) We don’t really need licensing. I’m not against licensing, but what does it do for the profession? Does it make the general public look at you as more “professional”? So many of you say that your school experience did nothing but prepare you for your state board exam, which then did nothing to prepare you for salon work. So if schools are so bad and the state boards are lame, why is everyone wasting their time in class? If we had private education, a national association that set industry standards, and an educated consumer, would licensing be necessary?
3) The explosion of Vietnamese nail salons has been good for the nail industry. Vietnamese salons have brought nail care to every city street corner, and helped fuel the growth for nail services across every demographic. You have more customers because the Vietnamese salons made it easy to get your nails done. Although many Vietnamese salons did perpetuate (and still do) the stereotype of a dirty, assembly-line salon, they also got the salon industry to seriously clean up its act, improve their service speed, and provide better service. Good luck if you’re a nail tech who still relies only on standing or booked appointments to grow your business.
4) There isn’t much difference between one pedicure and the next. I’ve been to too many salons and have had too many pedicures not to say the obvious: It’s trim, file, scrub, massage, and polish. You can throw in pine-apple-chocolate-green tea-gingko biloba lotion, you can push on the bottom of my feet in such a way that it relaxes my spleen, and you can use industrial-strength callus remover on my heels … but in the end, I want my feet to look good in sandals and I don’t need to pay $85 for that. There are salons (frankly, too few) that do a pedicure so spectacular it puts a spring in your step, but sadly, there isn’t one by my house.
5) Tradeshows are a waste of time. What was once an exciting way to see products, try before you buy, get great deals, and take classes is now a chance to pay an outrageous fee to enter a “store” where things are in limited supply for the same price you can get them at your neighborhood beauty store. Tradeshow classes tend to be infomercials conducted by exhibitors (who get a classroom as part of their show package) or so-called “educational seminars” taught by self-promoters without real-world expertise. Rather than providing a unique in-person experience, tradeshows have become traveling swap-meets, where you’ll find the booths exhibiting hair doo-dads as busy as the ones with new nail care products. In a time where educational resources online are so plentiful, weekly networking days that provide personal instruction and frank discussions of what really works, not to mention how easily (and often more cheaply) products can be found online … what’s a nail tech’s incentive to go to a show?
There. I’ve said what can’t be said. Now I’ll go wash my mouth out with antibacterial soap.
[Keywords: Vietnamese nail industry, editorial, salon safety/sanitation]
To read more background on the why the professional nail industry is dominated by Vietnamese nail techs, read A Vietnamese American Dynasty. Click here to read an article on autoclaves and determine for yourself whether you need one.