Do you know why most nail salons in US are run by Vietnamese?

Happy holidays to all of you. Summer holidays have begun, still I see no improvement in Austin traffic. Few years back we used to see a vivid difference , roads became  more free when schools were closed. Hope the Mopac project does some magic.

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I remember someone asked me a few years back “How does India manufacture so many Engineers ?”.  It is very hard to understand how this happens unless you are from India. Similarly have you ever wondered why most of the nail salons in US are run by Vietnamese people?  I have had this question in my mind for a while and got it cleared when I read an article on it recently.

The article mentioned that around 40 years the Hollywood actor Tippi Hedren traveled to Hope Village, a Vietnamese refugee camp near Sacramento, California,to meet a group of women who had recently fled the takeover of South Vietnam by the armed forces of Communist leader Ho Chi Min. Ms Hedren was trying hard to help these women to find some work so that they can support themselves in their new country. She tried to bring seamstresses and typists to see if they can be of some help. To Ms Hedren’s surprise she found all the women staring  at her nails. Then she understood that they all loved manicure and would love to learn that art.

Tippi Hedren with the 20 Vietnamese who got their first manicure license in 1975

Ms Hedren flew in her beautician and enlisted a local beauty school to teach 20 of the women on how to execute the perfect manicure. After these 20 women learned the art they slowly started offering manicure services.  Manicures and pedicures were thought as luxury in California before , which costed $50 and up.  These trained women offered the same service for 30 to 50 percent lower rate and made it available to everyone.

Now the nail industry is a $8 billion and around 80% of the nail technicians are Vietnamese. Many of them are direct descendants of the 20 women whom Hedren met and taught them this skill.  Hedren had mentioned that she wanted something good to happen to these ladies as most of them lost their family , homes and everything in Vietnam  and they had nothing  in this new country.

I found this story very amusing and wanted to share it with you all. This story is a reminder to all of us that even our small deeds matter. We should always help others, even our smallest deed might bring in a big change to a community.

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