Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Item for Room 101 – Nail salons

Posted in Nail salons, Nail salons- a room 101 item, Uncategorized by sheelanagigcomedienne on March 25, 2013

Nail bars have popped up all over the place in these last few years. They seem such a frivolous expenditure and I can not understand how women can embrace them as they are not for hands that do ordinary, everyday housework.

nail Mix-match-nails-artnails Water-dropsfew-drops-nail-artnail noel

The rise and rise of the nail bar! Salons are springing up faster than pound shops

By Claire Ellicott

In these days of economic insecurity there’s plenty of people biting their nails. And in the world of the manicurist, that’s good news.

Research reveals that nail salons are enjoying a boom time in the downturn as increasing numbers of women treat themselves to a little affordable luxury.nail Simple-flowers

Once seen as the preserve of the Absolutely Fabulous set, manicures are now considered to be a cheap way of transforming a look without having to invest in a new outfit. A basic manicure typically costs around £20.
nail leafs

Analysts say nail bars are one of the fastest-growing businesses on the high street, making up 16.5 per cent of new outlets in the past three years.

50 Amazing Nail Art Designs For Beginners With Pictures And

Matthew Hopkinson, a director at retail analysts Local Data Company, said that because nail bars have relatively low set-up costs, they had been able to fill the buildings left empty by failed conventional businesses.

He added: ‘Even during the recession, people are prepared to spend money on themselves.’nails blue1b2

Thea Green, who set up Nails Inc, Britain’s biggest chain of nail bars, said: ‘Nail salons have enduring appeal as they are a fast and affordable way to feel groomed. People are working so hard and under an increased amount of pressure, so taking 15 minutes of “me” time makes them feel pampered

After visiting a nail salon, customers are likely to receive compliments and then often feel positive and confident about themselves. Nail salons have the feel-good factor and a manicure isn’t as drastic as a haircut or other beauty treatments.’

nail Rhinestones

Nail salons offer a variation of options for nail care. This includes acrylics, silk or fiberglass wraps, French manicures, polish, pedicures, etc

During the Ming Dynasty of  China noblewomen wore very long artificial nails as a status symbpol indicating that, unlike commoners   they did not have to do manual labour.  Now, it is NOT the upper class/nobility that are frequenting nail salons and it is women from the opposite end of the class spectrum who use nail salons.

nails 4

In the early 19th century in Greece, many upper -class women women wore empty pistachio shells  shells over their nails, slowly spreading the artificial nail trend across Europe.

In 1954, Fred Slack, a dentist, broke his fingernail at work, and invented the first artificial nail as a realistic-looking temporary replacement. After experiments with different materials to perfect his invention, he and his brother, Tom, patented a successful version and started the company Patti Nails

In the late 20th century, artificial nails for women became widely popular all over the world.

nails 3nails 1I found that there is some fascinating stuff on why there is a preponderance of oriental mainly Vietnamese and Korean involved in the nail decorating industry.

There is interesting politics in all this.

One article claimed that Tippi Hedren was instrumental in this! Fascinating!! Vietnam’s other legacy: the rise of the corner nail salon – World

Once upon a time there was a Hollywood princess named Tippi Hedren.

She was an actress made famous by a film magician, Alfred Hitchcock, the then-reigning king of horror movies.

One day, Hedren decided she wanted to create some magic of her own. Not Hitchcock’s magic of malevolent mischief but the compassionate conjuring of doing good.

This was California in the mid-1970s. So she went to a tent city for refugees to try to change the lives of a group of women stranded there from war-torn Vietnam.

With a wave of a wand, in this case her scarlet-tipped nails, she helped teach them the mysteries of the ancient art of turning the stubbiest of fingernails into objects of beauty.

In so doing, she not only helped get these women back on their feet but unknowingly set off an entrepreneurial revolution.

That one single act of good intentions, dear reader, is why there is now, likely somewhere near you, at least one nail salon run by Vietnamese immigrants.

Transforming an industry

What started out with a group of 20 women trained by Hedren’s personal manicurist has mushroomed across the U.S. and Canada.

That initial group would be joined by another wave, the so-called boat people, those opponents of the Communist regime who risked their lives by fleeing in rickety boats after the fall of Saigon in 1975.

Not speaking the language or having any marketable skills, they tended to cluster together once they arrived in North America, not unlike other ethnic groups in similar circumstances. Italians in construction, for instance. Koreans in convenience stores. Filipinas in nursing and child care.

Actress Tippi Hedren with Vietnamese actress Kieu Ching when Hedren was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2003. Hedren aided Ching when she fled Vietnam, by providing her with living space in her home for over a year. (Fred Prouser/Reuters)Actress Tippi Hedren with Vietnamese actress Kieu Ching when Hedren was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2003. Hedren aided Ching when she fled Vietnam, by providing her with living space in her home for over a year. (Fred Prouser/Reuters)But none of these groups have transformed a single industry as radically as the Vietnamese boat people did with nail salons.

Before these Vietnamese women came into the business, a manicure was a costly affair. If a woman did go to a manicurist it was usually only for a special occasion.

Now, what was once a swank industry for the well-to-do caters to the masses of women who used to do their own nails at home.

Prices are down, way down. A manicure today can cost anywhere from $7 to as much as $50 in a traditional upscale spa. But around $20 seems to be the norm.

That, by the way, is what it cost decades ago before the Vietnamese came along. But a dollar then was worth a lot more than it is today.

Return of the spas

Much of the success of the Vietnamese parlours, besides hard work and long hours, is due to the fact that many of the salons are family affairs. In one popular parlour in Toronto, the manicurists are three sisters, their aunt and a cousin. The husband of one of the sisters does much of the odd work around the place, from manning the cash register to what is surely a reversal of gender roles, doing the cleanup.

At first, the Vietnamese-run salons were a threat to the more traditional upscale establishments. In fact, in the nineties quite a few of them went under. Since then, though, the higher-priced spas have made a comeback, perhaps because customers from the Vietnamese parlours, having gotten used to regular manicures and pedicures, are opting for fancier surroundings and more elaborate service.

In a way, that may also be a manifestation of the age-old urge to show that you can afford something better than your peers.

There was also another factor at play here: the increased emphasis in recent years on sanitation and health issues, whether in hospitals, the food industry or nail parlours. Unlike other industries, the nail business is unregulated in most parts of the country. So enforcement of health standards has been more difficult. Still, the industry is responding to customer concerns by turning to newer, safer chemicals and better sterilization.

An inspiration.

Thirty years after the influx of Vietnamese-run parlours, the pioneering wave of boat people has all but dried up. More and more new recruits are no longer Vietnamese. One day, the Vietnamese may all be gone from the nail business. They will, like so many immigrant groups before them, merge into the mainstream and wander off to other greater opportunities.

Still, the story of how tens of thousands of Vietnamese women, with a little encouragement, an idea and a lot of hard work and imagination, built their own ladder of success is surely worth celebrating and remembering.

Here was a group of people with all the disadvantages that immigrants have, plus the ones that women in general face in trying to enter the workforce.

Yet they managed against all odds, with no skills and, imagine, no subsidies whatsoever to create something unique that changed the habits of hundreds of thousands of Canadians.  Their saga should be an inspiration to all of us.

There is, of course, a trade magazine.NAILS Magazine : Dedicated To The Success Of Nail Professionals

and a forumScratch Magazine: Home

nails6There is this article in the Huffington Post about the connection between nail salons and Human trafficking.

Phillip Martin: Nail Salons and Human Trafficking

Some names of nail salons:
The Talon Salon, Top Ten Nails, The Perfect Ten
Ten Penny Nails,Ten Plus Ten Nail Salon
Out Of Hand Nails, Tips & Toes
Tip Top Nail Salon, Hot Tips, At Your Fingertips
Digitz, Betterfingers,  Final Touch 2
Immortal Nails, Fancy Fingers,  Nail Daily, New Age Nails, Real Nails, Gel Zone, Polished To Perfection, Hi-Tech Nails, Pampered Polished

It is a whole other world used by women and  serviced by lowly paid women. It leaves me queasy which is why I would consign them to room 101.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: