Calif. state senator Lou Correa presents a certificate of recognition to VANA president Mike Vo. From left to right: Howard Ngo, secretary Thong Vu, president Mike Vo, Senator Lou Correa, vice president John Nguyen, Dee Nguyen (board of directors), treasurer Barbara Trinh, and Lisa Huey (board of directors).
Big change is on the horizon and one non-profit organization aims to succeed where others have failed before. “We can finally unite the nail industry. We are well-structured, we have a solid foundation, and good individuals that are excited and want to be a part of it,” says Mike Vo, president of the Vietnamese American Nail Association (VANA).
I attended VANA’s installation banquet in early March in Little Saigon, Calif. Its objective is to assist its members in all aspects of the nail salon industry, including product usage, state board issues, health education, and legal issues, to help better their businesses. Mike has only been actively involved in the nail industry for three years, practicing law before then. Drawing on his legal experiences in the industry, he realized that a lot of salon professionals don’t know where to turn if they run into problems. VANA is his answer for this.
As listed on VANA's website, the main focus of the organization is to:
establish a communication link between its members and government agencies such as the State Board of Barbering & Cosmetology, Department of Labor, Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency
promote educational programs and voluntary compliance with federal and state laws
disseminate information and educational materials in matters related to scientific, social, economic, legal, and political development in and affecting the beauty salon industry nationwide
promote injury and illness prevention programs among its members
assist members in the limited defense and appeal of any harassment or violation not founded upon evidence through the use of a legal and/or legislative process and any other legal means permissible by law
During my trip to South Korea for the Global Nail Cup competition, I learned that the Korean nail industry prospers with the help of strong nail associations. These associations function for their members, and in turn, the members have the skill set and mentality early on to strive for the best in all aspects, in competition and within the salon.
Whether or not this is the kind of future we will see within the U.S nail industry, VANA is the start of positive change in our nail community. Mai Vo, owner of Nails 2000, says that VANA is the dream she’s been waiting for. “I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years but it isn’t currently what I’d like it to be. Today I’m really happy to see the commitment of those in the nail industry to further improve our industry so that we can all continue to prosper.”
Here's a segment in Vietnamese on VANA's installation banquet held on March 1, 2012. My Linh from Vietnam America TV (VNA-TV, channel 57.3) talks to Tri Ta and Dee Nguyen, who is on VANA's board of directors. She also talks to Ann and Ngoc Thu who are salon owners. They say as salon owners, it is difficult to keep up with changing state board regulations and Ann has had to deal with a salon inspector who unfairly cited her salon in the past. Mike hopes that VANA will be able to help its members with these kinds of difficulties and in keeping up to date with state regulations.
But again, no one can build up the industry alone. By continuing to learn and refine your skills and collaborating with organizations such as VANA, you can help turn our industry into something even more amazing down the road. For more information on joining VANA, visit www.vnana.org.
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