I was invited to participate in the NASA show’s Roundtable Debate recently, which puts nail professionals face with manufactures and industry representatives. The event gained quite a reputation after the first year, when several nail technicians pigeonholed manufacturers about selling products over the counter. This year, several nail technicians revived the question, asking manufacturers why they continue to sell their products through beauty suppliers who also sell the public. While several manufacturer panelists argued eloquently that nail technicians should focus on their own business and not concern themselves so much with other’, they cited several reasons their products are available at those outlets. Frequently, they explained, when you see a well-known professional brand sold at a swap meet, for example, it has gotten there through unauthorized distribution channels. Almost unanimously, manufacturers say they want to know when you find their product at an unauthorized outlet.
Many manufacturers, whether they admit it or not, knowingly sell their products to beauty suppliers who sell to the public. This is a viable channel of product distribution for many manufacturers, and it is a fact of life. But if you don’t like it, write to the manufacturer directly. This may not get you anywhere, but your alternative is to find a product that is exclusive to the professional industry.
What other issues concerned your peers? We heard horror story after horror story at the debate about what unlicensed salons are doing: everything for drilling off a client’s nail plate to using filthy instruments. Yes, these so-called businesses hurt our industry and yes, there is something you can do to clean up our industry. First, call your state board and report the unlicensed salon. In some states, this will bring action; in others not. You can also suggest that your client report the salon directly (when the complaint comes directly from the consumer, it something gets the message across better).
If those simple moves don’t get anything done, try these moves suggested by the roundtable participants: Call the department of health. In some states, it is in the department’s purview to crack down on business that put the public health at risk. One audience suggested that the media be alerted. Although it did the trick in her town, it is a risky bet, considering that the story is likely to be presented as another slam on the nail industry. Be careful.
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