In August, I stumbled into a nail salon downtown Brooklyn with anticipations of getting a full set of nails with some jazz on it for a wedding. I usually do tips once a year and I know the higher end places (Bling Bling, The Nail Boutique) are super pricey so I strayed from those and opted to go the cheaper route to stay in my budget of $40.
I was in for a surprise! My full set of nails with two nail design came out to $60. Yes, you read that very correctly. $60. I was astonished. My initial reaction was BITCH, WHERE?! In order to not fulfill that ratchet black girl stereotype, I paid my $60 and fled out of the salon. Upset only because that extra $20 was meant for my pedicure and a bitch is broke. If you're a NYC girl then you know that a full set of nails usually ranges from $20- $30 adding $5 or $10 for design. There were times where I have bedazzled the hell out of my nails plus had a pedicure and paid $60. However, never have I ever paid $60 for some damn acrylic. I really felt robbed.
After investigation and conversation with other women who get tips on the regular, this was the newest complaint in the stay fly community. Cuomo is to blame. Cuomo and DeBlasio have been on this pay tirade lately, first with the fast food workers making $15 an hour, and then on to the nail salons which have been publicly known to underpay their workers (less than minimum wage because of tips and percentages of add on services.)
I spoke to a shop owner (but I can't reveal which shop for anonymity purposes) who in short, told me she pays her girls in upsells and tips and they get way more than they would if she were to pay them hourly. She told me the incentive of more money makes them business oriented and gives them the desire to push customers for the eyebrow wax and pedicure instead of being lazy and not peddling more services. The fact that her pay scale was work performance based means that she has the best girls, who do the best jobs. As we all know it only takes one person with a bad experience to make a nail salon lose tons of business. In addition to the wage increase, she told me there was another clause that will require all salons to use disposable instruments. Because I used to work for a podiatrist, I know how costly those can get. It is so much cheaper to spend $700- $1000 on instruments one time and autoclave them after every use than to spend $200 every month on disposable ones. I also read online that another component to Cuomo's emergency plan is that there will be a chip inserted in the work area to monitor the amount of fumes because there is belief that formaldehyde(possibly causes cancer) is being used at some of the cheaper salons.
For someone like myself, I simply can not afford to pay $60 for nails. In today's society, being in a professional environment and not having your nails done is not acceptable. Luckily, I can do my own nails pretty good but not everyone has the time or patience to do so. There have been murmurs of salons who have been mixing high end and low end polishes but charging the premium to make up for some of the costs. Shady.
I know that there will be adverse effects for the workers because of this initiative. Whenever minimum wage is raised or over time is enforced for any industry, employers force workers to take days off, drastically cut their hours, dock their lunches and a whole bunch of other shady practices. One New York Times article has already stated that for some employees this bill has hurt them instead of help.
Have you have any experiences with inflated nail prices?! What do you think about the new initiative? Do you ask your manicurist if she gets paid in accordance to the law? Is that even your job?!