A landmark survey conducted by NAILS and our new publication VietSALON addresses questions that have been floating around the industry without answer. We know now that average prices charged in Vietnamese salons are about 36% lower than non-Vietnamese, for example. We know where Vietnamese nail techs buy their products and how many nail techs buy their products and how many nail techs usually work in a Vietnamese salon. The full results of our survey of the Vietnamese salon industry are here.

Vietnamese dealers are the overwhelming favorite source of supplies for Vietnamese salons. The non-Vietnamese industry ought to ask itself: “Besides language, what do the Vietnamese dealers offer that we do not?” How can non-Vietnamese dealers offer competitive service to this huge market?

As our survey confirmed, Vietnamese salons are well-staffed and see a very high volume of clients. In many ways, Vietnamese salons are responsible for availing nail care to the masses, but the price paid has sometimes been assembly-line service and, unfortunately, safety shortcuts. When you are running so many clients through a salon in a day, sanitation can easily get shortchanged. The question I throw out isn’t why aren’t Vietnamese salons doing more to improve their sanitation practices, but why isn’t the industry doing more to make compliance more practical? I blame both sides for low compliance.

As I look at the data, every question answered begs further questioning. We intend to continue surveying, using this year’s  data as a benchmark, and we intend to delve deeper for a keener understanding of the industry as a whole.

So what does it all mean?

Vietnamese salons have more in common with non-Vietnamese salons than generally perceived. As a united industry, how do we focus on our similarities and improve the salon experience for customers? Together, how does the industry improve its reputation and rebuild turst where it’s been shaken?

How do we educate a divided industry about the value of time and service? How do we better educate the consumer about the value of good service, professional products, and proper sanitation?

I have a final question: When will we stop  looking at the Vietnamese industry and the non-Vietnamese industry as two separate entities? As the second generation of Vietnamese takes over their parent’s businesses, we see a different mentality. With all due respect to the elder generation, who sacrificed greatly to come to the U.S. and create a safe life, they did what they could to survive. It’s up to the next generation, which includes all ethnicities, to unify this industry. There isn’t any other way to move forward.