A.I.I. Hosts Three-Day Vietnamese-Focused Nail Training, Challenge and Celebration
Forty years ago 20 women made history by becoming the first Vietnamese nail technicians in the U.S. with the help of actress and model Tippi Hedron. Hedron met the women – mostly wives of high ranking military officials – through her volunteer work at the Hope Valley refugee camp near Sacramento. With the assistance of her personal manicurist and a local beauty school, Hedron helped “The First 20” graduate and find work in Southern California. Since 1975, the number of Vietnamese nail technicians has grown to dominate the U.S. and especially the Southern California area with a staggering 80% of licensed nail techs in the southland being of Vietnamese descent. To commemorate this historical event, American International Industries (A.I.I.) hosted what is being called “The Second 20 (plus 3),” a three day intensive training for three of the Southern California manufacturer’s top nail brands; ibd, EzFlow and SuperNail.
American International Industries (A.I.I.) has long been committed to developing the next generation of talent in the growing nail industry, hosting educational seminars and classes around the world. July 26-29, 2015, the manufacturer and worldwide distributor further supported that commitment by hosting an A.I.I. Educational Consultant (AEC) Training specifically for the Vietnamese nail professional community. Spearheaded by A.I.I. Key Account Manager Kelvin St. Pham, A.I.I. identified 23 up and coming as well as established Vietnamese nail professionals from around the country to attend the three day intensive training with the expectations that the AECs will be able to provide product knowledge and support to the community. Attendees underwent extensive training specifically focused on EzFlow Acrylics System, ibd Hard Gels and Just Gel Polish, and the overall SuperNail line. The classes covered product knowledge, chemistry, technique and presentation skills. Classes were led by A.I.I.’s Lead Educators Terry Burciaga, Teresa Hamm, Vicki Ornellas and Sreynin Peng.
To mark the end of training, the new AEC’s showcased their talent with a nail art competition on Wednesday, July 29th. The artists competed in three categories that included EzFlow acrylics with a summer theme, ibd gel negative space design, and a mixed media design that represented their hometown using a combination of the three brands’ products. The competition was attended by special guest Ms. Thuan Le, one of the original 20 Vietnamese manicurists, who served as a Competition judge
Trainees proudly acknowledged their role as the next generation of Vietnamese nail stylists, bonding during the recruitment period via social media and over late night study sessions following each day’s class. Before the last session of the training came to a close, AEC Sean Phan gave special thanks on behalf of the entire class to A.I.I. for the opportunity to participate. The group, via Phan, also gave thanks to Ms. Le for the road she and the other members of “The First 20” paved so they could have the opportunities they do 40 years later. “You (Le) are the Godmother of the Vietnamese nail industry and you will always be in our hearts,” said Phan.
A.I.I. was honored to anniversary this monumental event with this special group of nail industry talent. “An overwhelming percentage of our business is Vietnamese based. The footprint you as nail stylists have on the industry is impressive. You have revolutionized the business and made it what it is today, and we are excited to partner with you to help make it better, make it more profitable and more fun all at the same time,” said Mark Moesta A.I.I. Vice President of Professional Sales, as he addressed the group on the final day of training, recognizing them as ambassadors not only for A.I.I.’s brands and the company as a whole, but for the entire nail industry.