When Sherri Shaud Carman, a licensed nail technician from New Jersey, decided to open her own nail salon, she contacted the New Jersey Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling. The board sent her a list of rules and regulations that told her she needed a cosmetologist’s license to run a nail salon in her state. Dispirited and dejected because she had only a nail technician’s license, Carman didn’t give up.

Her next query was to her state assemblyman and congressman. Although both agreed that the rule seemed unfair, they said their hands were tied and suggested she write to the governor. Several unanswered letters later. Carman received a response from Richard Griswold, executive director of the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety.

Griswold informed Carman that legislation had been introduced to change the law, but there had not been sufficient support to ensure that it passed. In fact, the bill did not even have the support of the State Board of Cosmetology.

Griswold said in his letter that the Slate Board had opposed licensing nail shops because it “would find itself in a position where it would have to establish minimum licensing criteria ... and this would create a situation that would be unreasonable and beyond the capacity of the Board’s resources to administer or regulate. In essence, the health and safety of the public would be thrown to the wind.”

Why are New Jersey officials afraid that public health would be endangered if a licensed nail technician ran her own shop, but don’t seem to be bothered if a licensed hairdresser, with no experience doing nails, runs a nail shop? This is absurd and represents the kind of backwards thinking that has inhibited our industry from reaching its professional potential. The law must be changed.

We encourage New Jersey nail technicians and all professionals who have a stake in the growth of our industry to write to the New Jersey State Board (P.O. Box 45003, Newark, NJ 07101) in support of a bill that will allow nail salon licensing. Make an extra copy of your letter and send it to us here at NAILS. We’ll let you know how things are proceeding. With a 60% increase in the number of nail technicians in New Jersey since 1991, the state just might stand up and take notices


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