Although our personal, business, and current economic world is challenging, and the fact that at the time of writing we are in Lockdown 3.0, these closed periods are what have allowed the FNP to come to fruition.  From the onset, one of our priorities was positioning the organisation that was developing as “The Voice of the Nail Industry”.  Throughout the history of nail services in the UK there have been several attempts to create a formal association that speaks for our sector of the industry.  What has always been clear is that it is needed, but what has always happened is that eventually they have, for many different reasons, not survived.  The FNP does not intend to become another faded association added to the pile.  We are working at the highest levels already to prove to our prospective members that we are a force to be reckoned with and that we will be YOUR voice, but we need your support in many ways to do this as we proceed.

How We Find Ourselves At This Turning Point
What we have seen over the last 10 or so years in the nail industry, but also within the beauty sector too, is the rise of gel polish and consequently a huge boom in nail service providers, we can’t call all those who provide nail services a professional, because, as we know, that just isn’t true currently.  When these products first launched, they were hailed as a near miracle for the professional, as well as for the client, as it meant perfect nails for 2-3 weeks, no smudges, no drying time, no chips!  Many of us remember the imagery used in Shellac’s first adverts with that beautiful high gloss nail with the key symbolising so much in that one image, but the message was clear – our world was about to change!  The industry was won over and virtually every nail pro fell in love with the variety of gel polishes introduced by the market leaders of time, and even Jessica the natural nail specialists brought out their own gel polish.  This was huge!

However, the reality of that magic bean was that it led to a belief that anyone can do nails as it is “just painting nails” – that’s a whole different conversation.  Those of us that were working in the nail industry prior to gel polish often shake our heads sadly at what has become of our professional status as our skills leaked into the wider industry and our sector diluted.  This is not to undermine the many amazing gel polish pros out there, but I know I speak for many when I refer to the consequent dumbing down of our industry and this impacts nails and the wider industry sectors where these often misunderstood chemicals are now used.  We now have our own epidemic of allergy amongst product users, be it as a provider or as a client, we have semi-skilled and under-skilled workers, who, perhaps through a lack of research or naivety, have entered an arena that they have not been taught well enough to become part of, as the true professional you need to be to work on the public.

Where does this backdrop lead us? 
The answer is to potentially a huge restructure of our industry – which will happen, maybe not this year, but it is on its way.  How can we know what it will mean?  Because we now have an opportunity to be heard!  We now have “The Feds”!  We now have a VOICE!  The Federation will be at the forefront engaging with the right people to ensure that the damage that has happened to our industry through poor quality, mass produced gel products, a growth in cheap and unsuitable education is halted.  We cannot change the past but we can aim to provide a better future for UK nail professionals.

How You Can Make A Difference
Here’s the kicker, the Voice of the Industry needs words, messages and information to be heard!  This is where the Census of the Nail Industry comes in.  It is a survey like no other.  All our industry trade bodies send out the odd survey from time to time to pinpoint and answer specific questions or situations that they need a quick dip test of where their members sit which is useful and through the pandemic has given fast information on adapting to difficult times.

The FNP Census of the Nail Industry something different from a straw poll or a take on a specific topic.  The Census is just that – a census.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines a census as ‘An official count or survey, especially of a population’.

The information we are requesting is to define our industry and provide the information we need to take to the tables of power where the discussions around regulation and licensing, amongst other things, will take place.  Our industry (that’s YOU) has been crying out to be regulated, licenced, and controlled in some way and now is the time, but we need to take you with us and to do this we need to understand who we are, how we work, what we do and what we need.   The Census will give us those answers.

Within the survey there are areas covering you as an individual, you as a worker, you as a business owner, you as an employee, you as a learner, you as a buyer, you as a professional, you as someone going through the pandemic and how you have dealt with the challenges.  All this information can be utilised to show how AMAZING you are!  The results will show how we have developed as an industry, where there are gaps and will also, give us, on the Board, the information to push the nail industry agenda to the places it needs to be seen and heard.

So please take time out to complete it.  It is essential in our work going forward.

How Do You Find The Census of the Nail Industry

There are two versions of The Census. They have similar veins but also sections that are specific to the intended respondent. We initially tried to keep as one document but it became too complicated and so it divided so that we could ask more directed questions of the people answering.  We want all sectors of our professional workforce represented in our data.  All responses are anonymous and we do not know who any one is, and neither can we find out so please answer some of the more difficult questions as honestly as you can.  There is no judgement just a reflection of the industry.  The forms are comprehensive, and we would recommend that you put 15-20 mins aside to complete with a cuppa or a glass of your favourite tipple.

The first is for Employed/Student/Apprentice Nail Pros. If you are one of these roles please complete this Census and if you are a business owner and have a team please ask them to complete it as something to help their careers going forward and to make a difference.  

The second is for Self Employed/Business Owners.  This is for any nail professional technician, educator, salon owner (unqualified) who is responsible for their own taxation in any way.  

Some nail professionals may find they fit both as they may go between being employed but also have their own mobile business, for example.  All we would ask is that you select which is more appropriate and both if necessary and answer as fully as you can.  There are no right or wrong answers, just authentic information on our industry.  

We cannot emphasise enough how important your answers are to give power to the Voice of the Industry.  You will be heard, but only if you contribute.

LINKS TO THE CENSUS ARE ABOVE AND BELOW

SELF EMPLOYED/BUSINESS OWNER CENSUS 

EMPLOYED/STUDENT/APPRENTICE

We are excited to see the responses so far and are looking forward to being able to report back once we have enough data.

Sue Davies
Deputy Chair