The Nail Salon Saved My Life

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The Nail Salon Saved My Life

I know... The title may sound a little outlandish but oddly enough it's completely true. I used to go and get my nails done like clock work. Every two weeks in the salon to get the best new color to compliment my outfits for the upcoming weeks. Yes... it was a whole ordeal for me! My mother started me on this journey for we used to do these type of things together. It was a part of our bonding moments since I was about 14. I literally still go to the same nail salon from when I was 14 to this day. Once I moved out, went to college and started living on my own I noticed my salon location had to change in order for me to find something closer to my home.

I found a great nail bar close to me. I thought it was such a cute concept and who wouldn't like to be served with mimosas while enjoying a foot rub? I soon grew to call this salon my second nail home. Then about two years I took notice how this salon had no black nail technicians but all of their clients/customers {nearly 90% on average} were black. I kind of shrugged off the thought but then it resurfaced every time I came back. I kept an eye on how they treated people and they were great to most of their customers but some of their customer service due to cultural differences.

I grew to challenge the thought of not seeing black nail techs and began to want to do more to support my own community. This meant if I needed to be inconvenienced to go to a black nail tech so that my dollars circulated within my own community of people than so be it. The icing on the cake to fully make my transition to finding a black nail technician was when I noticed the manager of the nail bar never acknowledged that I was a regular customer. Their cute receptionist always knew. "Mani and Pedi Mrs. LaShawn" she would say as soon as I walked in. "But of course" I would reply. That soon came to be known as our little exchange every time I came in for my appointment.

This would be the last time we would greet each other this way for this time I told her no to the mani and pedi and that I wanted my nails removed. She looked so shocked and said it was such a big change for me. I told her I know but I wanted to try something new. Here is where everything changed with the nail techs. Technicians that I used to have throwing themselves to take my appointment because they know they were going to get the works out of me and a nice tip where no longer to be found. This was due to natural nails being a lot less than gel nails {which I used to wear}. I was no longer a cash cow for them. Instead of paying $80-100 per appointment, I now was a $14-20 customer.  If a nail tech took me, they would potentially miss a higher paying client who wanted more on their nails. Literally, at the end of my appointment the nail tech told me to come back when I wanted gel put back on my nails. Now she was laughing and being sarcastic but let's be honest, there's a little truth in all sarcasm. I wasn't planning to return to this nail bar but after that I definitely will never return. 

I ended up going back to my old faithful nail home that has never did me wrong since I was 14. A little out of the way but willing to endure the inconvenience. "Long time no see" is how they greeted me after not seeing them in nearly 3 years. "How's the family?" was next to follow up. I appreciated being around "friends". It felt like home for when I looked around I saw they had 3 black nail techs and a hair salon connected to the side which was owned by a black woman. Now this is what I'm talking about for this nail salon used to be only filled with individuals of Asian decent. Equality!! Equal opportunity for us all and giving everyone who had the skill a chance. Don't only take our money. Employ us! I now get my nails done by one of their black nail techs who also teaches me different African languages so that I can understand her and another nail tech better.



This made me see how I need to do this in all aspects of my life. Black and brown women are out here making great moves. We just need to be open to being slightly inconvenienced to get to them so that we can receive the gratification later of growing our community. By the way, my natural nails have never been so healthy and look so good! I now spend more than 60% of my money within my community and that makes me feel extremely happy!!

So yes, the nail salon saved my life because now I see more than ever how I need to continue to do more in keeping my money circulating in my community. The outcome is what gives me the most joy for this helps us build a legacy for our family, our schools, our markets versus steadily helping to only build others.

I pray the day my people will have the same opportunities as our counterparts. If we all build together collectively and improve where we spend our money we would see an immediate difference in economic power. We are the biggest consumers. Let's put it to the betterment of US!

Much Love!
--LK

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