From a basement gathering of 25 members in 1981 to an arena filled to its capacity of 25,000 in 2014, Jessica Vartoughian and the Japan Nail Association (JNA) have come a long way. In acknowledgement of that fact, Vartoughian was honored with the Japan Nail Association’s Certificate of Gratitude in November for her outstanding contributions to the Japanese nail industry.

The founder of Jessica Cosmetics, Vartoughian has been a major force in professionalizing the industry in Japan by mentoring and training manicurists, salon owners, and management teams. She helped usher in color on nails, which was not culturally acceptable in Japan prior to her arrival.

When accepting her award, Vartoughian expressed her gratitude for the JNA, saying, “Japan is very special to me because it was here that the JNA embraced the Jessica brand and my natural nail care system. It was very hard to be a woman business owner traveling in a foreign country and going against the trend, but at that time, when I looked out into the small audience, it was these 25 people who gave me the courage and the support to keep moving ahead. The support of the JNA, and their belief and respect for natural nails, kept me going. So year after year, I came back stronger and better and created a brand that I am so very proud of.”

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