Are nails big business in Norway? Ask the Norwegian women who pay $80 (U.S.) for a set of nails. $30-$40 (U.S.) for a fill, or $30 (U.S.) for a manicure or pedicure. Or ask Tone-Lise Forbergskog, who has had more than 300 people apply to the Tone-Lise Akademiet nail school since she opened it in October 1992. The answer is yes, nails are big business in Norway.

After receiving her California manicuring license during a two-year stay in Los Angeles, Forbergskog returned to Norway in 1988 to open her own nail salon, Nails unique. Five years later, she saw that the demand for nail services outpaced the number of qualified nail technicians. Ready for another challenge, she opened Tone-Lise Akadamiet. Forbergskog happily reports that every student who has graduated from her school is employed in a salon.

Daigneault: Does Norway have a government board that regulates nail licensing? If so, what are the examination requirements?

Norwegian nail technician and school owner Tone-Lise Forbergskog [1993]

Norwegian nail technician and school owner Tone-Lise Forbergskog [1993]

Forbergskog: Norway has a nail union that has established rules and regulations on how a nail school is run. Nail courses must be a minimum of 80 hours: 16 hours on manicuring, anatomy, physiology of the hand, nail diseases, hygiene, advertising, and starting your own business; 64 hours on tips (acrylics), fiberglass, silk, and fills. Students must take a two-day exam within one month of completing the nail course.

Daigneault: What are the requirements for teaching at your school? How many students attend each class session at a time? How many instructional hours are spent on theory? How many on practical?

Forbergskog: I do most of the teaching. I have used some of my best students as assistants, and I am currently training someone to teach some of the lessons. There are never more than 10 students per teacher.

Students attend school four hours a day for three months. We teach theory for a half-hour each day. We use Milady publishing’s Art and Science of Nail Technology as out text book. Students take a written test every Friday. Most students have one to two clients each day. By the time she finishes school, each student has done 40-50 sets of artificial nails.

Daigneault: Do you teach traditional or odorless acrylics? What does your nail art segment include?

Forbergskog: We teach traditional acrylics. Right now we don’t have a good odorless acrylic. We also teach fiberglass with or without the French tip, acrylics in all colors, gels, men’s nails, guitar nails (nails for people who play the guitar), natural nail repairs, and nail art. We also demonstrate how to do silk wraps.

Daigneault: What is the average first-year earnings of a new graduate?

Forbergskog: Average earnings for a new graduate are $12,000-$24,000 a year (minus expenses). So far we have a perfect record – all our students obtained jobs after they left our school.

Daigneault: How do students hear about your school?

Forbergskog: Students have heard about the school through articles written about me and the school in various magazines. We also spend a lot of money advertising in national and local newspapers. Good word of mouth gets us students as well.

Daigneault: What are the requirements for opening a nail salon in Norway?

Forbersgkog: There are no requirements for opening a nail salon. The health department comes and checks the establishment and the government makes sure you pay your taxes. That’s it.

Daigneault: Do you sell products to clients for home maintenance?

Forbesberg: We sell a lot of products to clients for home maintenance, including files, buffers, nail glue, top coat, base coat, ridge fillers, nail oil, and polish remover.

Daigneault: What do you feel is the biggest need in nail education in Norway?

Forbergskog: Students need to learn all the artificial nail techniques, how to do good manicures and pedicures, good customer service skills, how to sell products, and how to run their own business.

Daigneault: What do you see as the trend in the Norwegian nail industry?

Forbergskig: The trend is that more and more people are wearing artificial nails and are starting to be more concerned about their appearance in general. Acrylic and fiberglass in pink and white are the most popular nail services. The interest in artificial nails and well kept nails is high.

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