Governor Gavin Newsom
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 05814
An Open Letter to Governor Newsom on Behalf of the Nail Industry:
You should be ashamed of yourself. Using your podium to state “this whole thing started in the state of California … in a nail salon” is not only irresponsible, but detrimental to the nail industry as a whole. As the Executive Editor of Nailpro, the premier magazine for the professional nail industry, I am appalled at your statement and deeply concerned about the long-term repercussions of it.
The subtext of your declaration links COVID-19 to nail salons, instilling fear in the minds of the consumer—not just in California, but nationwide. As a result, you are potentially ruining the livelihood of more than 80,000 California small business owners, as well as hundreds of thousands of manicurists across the country—working women, creative caretakers, single mothers, immigrants chasing the American Dream—by delaying the opening of nail salons and, further, scaring the public into avoiding these businesses.
“It is discrimination against nail salons,” says Michelle Saunders, 30-year veteran manicurist and owner of Saunders and James Nail Care in Oakland, California.
There is no need to mention where this all started; the location of the first community transmission is irrelevant. No business was prepared to address and prevent the spread of this virus at that time—not liquor stores, flower shops or nail salons. However, nail salons are required to implement sanitation guidelines provided by the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, unlike most of the other businesses that are being allowed to open now.
“I believe we are one of the cleanest industries, even before this pandemic,” says Yvett Garcia, co-owner of Bling It! nail salon in Sherman Oaks, California. “We have a whole state board who makes sure we keep everything sanitized, utilize one-time-use products, clean between each client, wash our hands, etc. We’ve been doing this since day one, even without the virus.”
You have singled out one segment of the population and put them under a microscope, opening them up to unfair judgment with your salacious remarks.
“California has approximately 39 million residents on record. Add to that the visitors to the state and it is much larger. How does a state determine the movements of all 39 million people?” asks Jim McConnell, chemist and President of McConnell Labs, manufacturer of professional nail product line Light Elegance. “It would be impossible for the Governor to track down where the virus originated.”
Meanwhile, residents of California are suffering. Small businesses are suffering. And now nail technicians and nail salon owners have an additional bias against them.
“It’s a kick to an industry that’s already been hard hit in this process,” says Tal Pink, Vice President of Business Development for ORLY, a Los Angeles-based nail manufacturer. “By singling out nail salons, the Governor is not allowing nail technicians a chance to get back to work like everyone else.”
“As a business owner, I still have to pay rent; bills need to be paid. We don’t have any income if we don’t work,” says Garcia. “I’m a single mother, and I know all too well about the constant worry about the unknown aside from if and when we can go back to work. Money is running out, and it’s a very scary situation for all of us.”
Careers, livelihoods and businesses will long be destroyed by the time California salons are allowed to open and nail technicians can get back to work.
We as an industry insist that you, Governor Newsom, do better.
“As one of the most successful companies in the global nail industry, I call upon you to use your leadership position to communicate a position of hope for the nail industry, rather than one of fear and despair,” says Tony Cuccio, CEO of Cuccio Brands. “Utilize the leaders of this industry to help you build a more productive strategy.”
The hard-working women and men in the nail industry need to get back to work to support their families and help get the California economy booming once again.
Executive Editor, NAILRPO Magazine