At a time when the nail industry needs them most, professional associations are having a tough time getting, and keeping, membership. I think it’s a shame that people can’t or won’t see the benefit to the greater good of banding together. The Nail Manufacturers Council (NMC) has lost nearly half its membership in the last few years. Granted, consolidations have affected the number of viable companies, but there’s no excuse for the apathy that pervades the manufacturing side. I’ve heard every kind of complaint from manufacturers big and small for not joining the association, and I personally share the frustration with the lack of focus of the group. But I’m a big proponent of professional associations, and I think you do your part to help or you keep quiet.
Because I was drafted to the NMC’s membership committee. It was my job to ask manufacturers to give the association another chance and make a difference.
Granted, the NMC has been preoccupied with specific concerns for the last few year’s and while the complaints may be valid, there will almost certainly come a time when it’s the complainers turns and they need the support of the rest of the industry. For instance, when the toluene issue reached its peak a few years ago, the NMC was focused on little else. Of course, it only affected the livelihood of polish makers, but the crusade had wider reaching ramifications than just a labeling issue. The victory against the toluene lawsuit protected salons (who did not have to warn customers about toluene in trace amounts in polish—thereby not having to scare them about what had been scientifically proven to be a non-issue); it protected nail technicians (the NMC helped fund studies to prove that toluene in the levels in polish were safe for users): and it put into place a system to help deal with challenges to our livelihood should they arise again in the future. The NMC board at the time developed a close working relationship with the attorney general of California and forged new alliances with other associations, paving the way for future cooperation.
So maybe it wasn’t your product or your pet issue this time. but next time it could be. Make sure you’re part of the army before you go to war.