When I was in high school, I had a religious beauty routine that included a standing nail appointment. Very picky about where I get a fill and design, I made my mother travel from our suburban cul-de-sac into a more urban community. I didn’t want to go to the frou-frou spa where your manicure included a brown sugar scrub. I didn’t think they could give me the funky designs I wanted.

I thought I needed to go the Asians.

Now that I’m older I have completely abandoned that way of thinking. I still travel far to get my natural nails done but for a very different reason — I support black-owned spas.

In Chris Rock’s examination of the black hair industry Good Hair, he profiles how blacks rarely take part in the creation, distribution, or ownership of black hair care. Yet, we collectively spend millions — possibly billions — of dollars every year to maintain it. Well what about our nails?

Some of the best nail technicians I know are black. In the Midwest, many women provide nail services out of their homes and create some of the most intricate nail patterns I have ever seen. So why is it that we have not truly capitalized on this industry?

OPI Serena Williams Glam Slam Collection

The songwriter and businesswoman, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, opened Tiny’s Nail Bar in Atlanta because of her love of a good manicure. Serena Williams momentarily put down her tennis racket and hit the books to get an esthetician license. Since then, she and OPI collaborated on the Glam Slam collection — a nail polish inspired by her. Recently, the singer Monica announced she is partnering with Orly for a new nail lacquer line.

Business ventures and collaborations emerging within our community show the market could be ours for the taking.

What do you think about the black presence in the nail care industry?

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  • Bronze

    This story is very dear to me because my mom is the only black esthetician in our county that is over run by Asian nail salons.

    So her cliental is strong for many of the people prefer her conversation and down home sweetness opposed to sitting at a station with no words exchanged due to language barriers.

    Now if someone gives you the service you like, you have to go with what you know. But I love MY culture too much to throw my money at another culture that is quickly taking over the black hair/nail care industry. Actually they are taking over everyone’s industry, only white women have stepped up their game started paying more for spa packages to support their own. It didn’t use to be that way.

    I want my money to support the black woman.
    I want to know that my money is sending her kids to private school.
    I want to know that my money is helping a sistah stay self-employed.
    I want to know that my money is helping the artistic endeavors of black creativity.
    I want to MAKE DAMN SURE THAT THE SISTAH KNOW THAT I AM MAKING A CHOICE TO SUPPORT HER BUSINESS. SO THAT SHE KNOWS THERE ARE BLACK WOMEN WHO ARE LOOKING OUT FOR EACH OTHER.

    • LaTigresse

      Amen.

  • http://vivid-liveincolor.blogspot.com/ sun.kissed

    More black nail salons are desperately needed. Asians come to our communities with quick/cheap/indirect and sometimes not so friendly services and we accept it because it’s cheaper than spending $20 on a mani and $30 on a pedi at a black spa not to mention they are few far and in between. I’ve thought of opening one myself.

    • Bronze

      Do it! I don’t ever see the nail industry going away. There is a niche market for Bio nails.

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