Editor's Note: It is Not an “Us/Them” Situation

The nail industry is not the place it used to be: frankly, it's harder than ever to keep a business growing and competing in today's market, not just for salons, but for manufacturers, distributors, schools, and everyone else serving the professional nail salon industry.

Our two-part story on Asian nail salons that begins this month on page 98 is sure to incite a lively debate among our readers. The influx of Asian salons has changed the nail industry in a fundamental way, and not only, as many of you believe, for the negative. Granted, the majority of Asian salons maintain a competitive edge through deeply discounted services and have brought prices so low that it is nearly impossible to run a thriving nail business in certain parts of the country. In Southern California, for instance, prices for nail services barely allow a nail technician to earn minimum wage. But Asian salons are not only about low cost nail services, and it's long overdue that all nail technicians, regardless of nationality, take a look at what's happening in our industry and what the future holds for all of us

You'll begin to see, after reading Suzette Hill’s article, that the issues surrounding the Asian salon community are complex, and it is difficult to discuss them in practical or busi¬ness terms without mentioning the element of nationality. It's difficult to discuss salon professionals of a particular nationality without perpetuating an “us/them” mentality. But you have to look at the whole picture - cultural, historical, and economic — to get a grip on what's going on and what's to become of the nail care profession as we know it. From our vantage point here at NAILS, we can see that the Asian nail community itself is undergoing an evolution, and there's a lesson in what's happening there for all salons

I think the main point I’d like our readers to take away is a business lesson: Asian salons cannot survive by engaging in a never-ending price war or by moving from city to city until a market is oversaturated and ever expect to enjoy the fruits of their labor. They’ve got to understand marketing, customer service, profit margins, giving back to the industry, and pro¬fessionalism ... hey, isn't that the same message we bring to everyone in NAILS every month?


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