We are here at the 20th anniversary of NAILS Magazine in a decidedly different frame of mind than we were at the 10th. Back in 1993, I was waxing optimistic about the great momentum of progress in the nail industry. I affirmed NAILS’ commitment to serving this industry, and at the time, it sounded like I had a firm grip on what that service entailed. Back then, it simply meant providing an educational resource for nail professionals, giving a voice to an emerging profession, and bridging communication between the marketers and nail technicians.

Now that we’re another 10 years older I have to wonder whether as an industry, we’re twice as old, but half as wise. Have we been able to learn lessons from our mistakes and make the industry a better place for nail technicians?

Does this industry-now more than twice its former size-still only have half its share of power? Do nail techs have parity with their hairstyling sisters in the salon? Does nail care get fair billing at trade shows? Do distributors give nail care its due?

As manufacturers have increased their production of new products to compete in today’s market, are there twice the number of products, but half the choices? And, as the distribution and manufacturing systems have narrowed so dramatically, do we now have half the manufacturers, yet twice as many “me too” products?

As salons have discounted their services so drastically to compete and stay in business, is there now twice as much work, half the profits?

And what about education? There are more sources than ever for continuing education, every manufacturer is offering an educational series. But do we have twice the education, half the knowledge? Are we using what we learn to improve our own lot? Or are there merely twice as many know-it-alls, half as many willing to learn?

We complained over the years that nails were never covered in the consumer press, that beauty editors seemed to think beauty ended with hair and skin. But now that we have a higher consumer awareness of nail care and more nail technician celebrities, we’re getting plenty of coverage. Dare I say, twice the press coverage, half the truths printed? 

Clearly, there is much that needs to be done to improve the stature of nail technicians and to make the business of nail care more profitable. Knowing the resources that are now available, and knowing the power of NAILS as a communication and educational tool, I’m twice as optimistic as I was back then, and half as naïve. 

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