In March 1993, NAILS Magazine reported the case of Sherri Shaud Carman, a licensed nail technician in New Jersey who wanted to own her own salon but discovered that the state board of cosmetology required she either be a licensed cosmetologist or hire a licensed cosmetologist to manage the salon. In the report, NAILS asked its readers to write to the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology to support the creation of a bill that would allow nail salon licensing.
And write letters you did. Yet more than one year later, nothing has happened. Carman had received correspondence from Richard G. Griswold, executive director of the state board, that stated, “... our Board does not subscribe to the fragmentation of the practice of cosmetology and hairstyling and has never supported legislation which would have this effect.”
When NAILS recently called to see if the state board had changed its stance, Griswold was not available for comment. However, E. Caneda, shop section supervisor for the New Jersey State Board, told NAILS that it would be “too confusing” to license nail salons separately.
In his letter, Griswold said he knew of no pending bill to license nail salons. Caneda says she had heard of one as far back as 1988, “It’s 1994 now and it still hasn’t happened. It would be too confusing,” she says.
Currently, the law allows nail technicians in New Jersey to own their own salon but not to manage it. To own a shop, a nail technician has to hire a beautician or hairstylist with three years of experience to act as manager. That’s because the state does not license nail salons. Instead, a shop license for full beauty services is issued and the owner or manager must hold a full cosmetology license.
When nail technicians call and say they want to open their own shop, Caneda says the first question she asks is if they plan to do waxing or facials. “Eighty percent of them say yes. They can’t do that on a manicurist’s license. A manicurist in New Jersey can do manicures, pedicures, and sculptured nails. They say they want to do nails, but they really plan to do more,” she says.
How can the law be changed without the state board’s cooperation? State law would have to be changed to allow nail technician licensing. As Griswold suggested in his letter, interested nail technicians “are free to contact your legislative representative to inform them of your views.” Technicians who are motivated to see the law change should contact their local representative and find out what it would take to get the law changed. You can find your local representative’s address and phone number in the government section in the front of your local white pages telephone directory.