Viet Voice

Sean Phan on Nail Talk Radio

by Kimberly Pham | December 30, 2013 | Bookmark +

Sean Phan’s amazing 3-D nail art.

Sean Phan, an educator for Odyssey Nail Systems and the manager and lead nail technician at (O-Now Couture Nails, chats with Athena Elliott and Millie Haynam about the world of nails on Nail Talk Radio, a weekly online radio show created by Eliott for the nail industry.

Phan came to the U.S. in 1992 and went to cosmetology school after high school. Since then, he’s been a school instructor, a Texas state board inspector, and has owned a few nail salons before becoming an educator for Odyssey.

Phan answers many questions in the chat below, including his work as an artist, problems he's faced as a male technician in a female-dominated industry, ways to speed up your acrylic process, and the “stigma” of Asian salons.

Phan’s segment starts at 26:19.

Elliott asks about the controversial topic on the stigma, or stereotype of going to an Asian salon. Phan responds with some of the common cultural obstacles that first-generation Vietnamese salons face that drive their prices down, including keeping secrets and the language barrier, which goes hand in hand.

“We keep secrets,” Phan says of the general mindset of salons, and relates keeping secrets to low-pricing. Some nail techs don’t like to share with each other the way Phan openly shares with his coworkers, so these salons get suck in their habits, lowering prices to compete instead of learning, growing, and proudly raising prices for their continued education and current trends. If prices are low, techs must work harder and faster to make a living wage. “Equipment and products keep going up and our prices keep going down,” he adds.

Two more of Phan's fantasy designs.

For these salons, Phan shares an important message, "Please, keep up with new techniques and use the best products for your salon and show them what you’ve learned and what you’ve been doing for your customers. You should get paid what you deserve to get paid.”

— Kim

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