Art Contest Winner..

Thank you to everyone who participated in our very first art contest. Our judges, comprised of community and nail salon leaders, reviewed several pieces of great artwork. While we could not select them all, we we selected three that stood out the most, showing strength and courage in what these nail salon workers go through everyday. All of winning authors are children of nail salon workers. Partnered with Vietnamese American Arts and Letter Association, our goal was give this nail salon movement a voice and we’re proud to have achieved that goal through these three entries submitted by children of nail salon workers. The Collaborative will be creating a limited amount of materials (stickers, buttons, etc.) that we will be using at our outreach events. If you would like one, contact


The winner of our art contest is Natalie Bui.

Vietnamese Americans in the nail salon industry’

I hope that this illustration series captures the plight of the nail salon industry. I wanted to highlight the sacrifices they go through, the issues they face, their unwavering resiliency, and their strong pride without victimizing them further like how mainstream media does. I also indicate how sometimes it's easy to take advantage of the communities you know best so that means we must call it out for what it is and hold them accountable.

Fruits of Her Labor.jpg

Our 2nd place prize goes to Julie Nguyen

Fruits of Her Labor’

Fruit of her labor is a piece that strives to illustrate the gentle, but far-reaching impact of manicurist labor. Many manicurists like my mother are immigrants who work hard in often difficult conditions to support their families, a form of implicit love that complements the nurturing, emotional love of a parent. In this picture, the deliberate use of cherries and rambutan is an homage to the Vietnamese-American experience, and the sweet dynamic between both cultural influences. In particular, the cherries, considered a luxury in Vietnam, embody the triumph of the immigrant. Placing a manicurist’s bare hand in the center reminds viewers that at the core of exquisite hands and prosperous lives is a strong-willed, beautiful force that many of us owe our entire livelihoods to.


Our 3rd place prize goes to Christina Truong

All I Know’

A piece about my mom, who gave up her education so I would have an opportunity to have an education. She may not know advanced math, science, or English very well, but she knows how to work hard and provide for her family. It is quite common for Vietnamese immigrants to go into the nail technician field. Contrary to what the consumer often sees, this type of work is not easy-going. Both of my parents along with my aunt are all nail technicians so I have seen firsthand what the environment is like. As I have grown older, I understand how much work my parents put in to take care of the family. Because of them, I am grateful to have the opportunity to pursue an education and reach my goals.

Calling all Vietnamese American Artists

The CA Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative invites Vietnamese American artists (ages 18-30) to create art pieces that reflect the strength and humanity of the nail salon workforce and nail salon worker movement. The winner(s) of this competition will receive a monetary prize and have their artwork highlighted in a social media educational campaign. Manicurists and children of manicurists are encouraged to apply!

Artwork Submissions
Email the following:
1. Between one to three art pieces
2. One short description (150 words for each art piece)
3. An artist bio (one page max)

Deadline for the artwork submission: February 1, 2019
Announce artist winners: February 28, 2019

Email your application package to
Vu Nguyen:

Collaborative and UCLA Releases First National Study of Labor Conditions in Nail Salon Industry


November 27, 2018

Media Contact: Veena Hampapur,, (310) 489-3957    

UCLA Releases First National Study of Labor Conditions in Nail Salon Industry

Nail salon workers face labor issues in an expanding multi-billion dollar industry

LOS ANGELES - Key issues, trends, and areas of oversight in the multi-billion dollar nail salon industry are highlighted in Nail Files: A Study of Nail Salon Workers and Industry in the United States, a new report by the UCLA Labor Center (a unit of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment) in partnership with the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative. This report is the first to examine the nail salon industry nationally with a focus on labor conditions.

The study finds that 78% of nail salon employees (excluding the self-employed) are low-wage workers. This is more than double the national rate of 33% for all industries.

"Getting your nails done used to be a luxury for the wealthy, but now it's relatively inexpensive due to new tools, market demand, and the low wages paid to workers," said Preeti Sharma, the report’s lead author. “Full-time workers earn less than half of what workers earn in other sectors, and at times they are paid at a low flat rate rather than hourly.”

Nail salon workers experience challenging work conditions and labor enforcement issues, which include minimum wage and overtime violations, harassment and surveillance, and pressure to work while sick. Misclassification is also a key concern.

“30% of nail salon workers are self-employed, which is triple the national average. There is a worry that a number of workers are being misclassified as independent contractors as a way around labor laws and protections,” said Saba Waheed, Research Director at the UCLA Labor Center.

The report notes that nail salons are primarily owned and staffed by immigrants and refugees. The majority of salons are small mom-and-pop businesses with 68% having fewer than 5 employees. The labor force is predominantly Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Nepali, Tibetan, and Latinx, with 81% women and 79% foreign-born.

“There is a lack of understanding of labor laws on the part of both employers and employees. Salon owners have a responsibility to treat workers well and follow labor laws. It is also critical that workers and owners have access to multilingual resources explaining workers’ rights and health and safety issues, as well as reproductive health and immigrant rights,” said Lisa Fu, Director at the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative.

The nail salon industry is expected to grow at almost twice the rate of other U.S. industries in the next decade, and report authors make recommendations for key stakeholders: ensure quality jobs and labor protections for nail salon workers; guarantee workplace protections and their enforcement; support high-road businesses and good employers; and assure health and safety of nail salon workers.

The report is based on existing literature, policy reports, worker stories, and government and industry sources.

Download the full report here:

**Please contact Veena Hampapur to schedule interviews.**

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The UCLA Labor Center believes that a public university belongs to the people and should advance quality education and employment for all. Every day we bring together workers, students, faculty, and policymakers to address the most critical issues facing working people today. Our research, education, and policy work lifts industry standards, creates jobs that are good for communities, and strengthens immigrant rights, especially for students and youth. The UCLA Labor Center is housed in the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, a multidisciplinary research center dedicated to the study, teaching, and discussion of labor and employment issues at UCLA.

The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative’s mission is to improve the health, safety and rights of the nail and beauty care workforce to achieve a healthier, more sustainable and just industry. The Collaborative brings together a wide variety of organizations with diverse expertise. We are a 20-member statewide coalition representing the nail salon community, environmental and reproductive justice, public health and workers’ rights organizations