Why do so many Vietnamese immigrants choose the nail industry as a profession? How did it all start? And what is the future of the nail industry based on the growth of a single ethnic group? These are all good questions; and ones I hear quite frequently.
You can read Jayna Rust’s full report on the Vietnamese salon industry here.
We’ve tackled this topic several times before in the pages of NAILS, and it’s endlessly interesting. In my opinion, the “Vietnamese Wave” that hit the nail industry in the early 1980s has been as influential a business factor as the adoption of dental products for nail care. Those two factors have affected the growth of the nail industry more than any other. Our report chronicles the growth of the industry through the eyes of different generations of nail techs.
What I learned early on in my own career in nails is that Vietnamese nail techs and salon owners represent a business phenomenon that has played out in many other fields, from Pakistani motel owners to Korean grocers. Some fields become dominated by an ethnic group, and often they definine business practices that affect the industry as a whole, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad.
Years ago I regularly patronized a Vietnamese nail tech and, after many weeks of sitting quietly getting my nails done (enjoying the service rather than interviewing the tech), I asked her how it was that she got involved in the nail industry. She told of a surreptitious journey that began under cover of night in her native Vietnam when she and a few family members boarded an illegal ship bound for the United States that was sidetracked for two years. They endured hardships from pirates (yes, pirates), disease, and severe hunger. Ultimately she made it to the U.S. and through some family connections was introduced to a career in nails. Although she was a nurse in Vietnam, she toiled as a nail tech without complaint, happy for the opportunity to earn a living and support her family in freedom. Her story is common among immigrants who came to the U.S. during that period.
We’re at a new stage in the evolution of the Vietnamese salon community, and NAILS has recognized an important need that isn’t being met: a high-quality, professional industry trade journal written for Vietnamese nail technicians. That is why we announce with pride our newest entry in the field: VietNAILS, debuting this month.
Written in Vietnamese, VietNAILS is for the Vietnamese salon professional, and it will focus on the same important issues facing NAILS readers: how to make or save money in today’s competitive environment, new professional products and techniques, as well as health and safety issues. We’ll profile successful professionals in the Vietnamese community — both on the technician/owner side and the manufacturer and distributor side.
NAILS has always been there for nail professionals, providing reliable, credible, unbiased information, and now we bridge the gap for the 40% of the American market that is Vietnamese.