Memo Exclusive: An Interview with Jan Arnold of CND
1990s – Fashion Week: Bare nails were common before 1996, but when CND became involved, one by one, designer by influential designer, nails were adopted as a fashion accessory and nail professionals everywhere were validated.
2000s – SpaPedicure and Spa Manicure: CND launched the SpaPedicure and SpaManicure systems designed specifically for the nail professional. Before this time, nail pros were using facial and body scrubs on feet and makeshift beatifying solutions for hands. CND received the rights to the trademark for both terms.
2010 – CND Shellac: CND launched Shellac Brand 14+ Day Nail Color, a long lasting, high performance nail color that goes on like polish, wears like gel and comes off in minutes.
2013--CND Vinylux Weekly Polish
Jan Arnold, founder of CND, has been a staunch advocate of the professional beauty and nail industry. An innovator and a respected authority on nail technology, runway trends, and education, Arnold is also a mainstay at Fashion Week events around the world. MODERN sat down with Arnold at Cosmoprof North American in Las Vegas and asked her how CND continues to lay out a career path for nail professionals.
MS: How do you at CND work at advancing the industry?
JA: We have in the past, and still today, strive to pioneer paths of success for our customer, the nail professional, and our thriving category, nails.
Over the nearly four decades that we’ve been in the business, we have secured a seat on every major board in our industry: founding members of the Nail Manufacturer’s Council (NMC), board seats on Beauty and Barber Supply Institute (BBSI), American Beauty Association (ABA), Professional Beauty Association (PBA) and Beauty Changes Lives (BCL). We believe in making great things happen through industry participation and persuasion.
Back in the early ‘80s, full service distributors did not know how to serve the needs of this new emerging customer called the nail professional, so we started a business building program called Nail Advantage. This training program was supported with implementation tools for distributors and designed to teach them about serving the nail professional. To participate, the distributor had to commit to the program personally and hire a Nail Advantage manager to champion the division. Both the owner and the manager came to the training together to build their nail division plan. They learned about the ‘language’ of nails, buying habits, educational needs, support requirements and emotional needs. There were how-to guides on how to host a nail competition, how to merchandise the shelves in systems vs. by category, how-to support the booth renter who didn’t have a manager’s support, etc. As a result, every major ‘A’ rated distributor attended and implemented the program into their businesses. Prior to adopting the program, their nail business represented less than 2% of their total revenue. Five years later, after attending and putting Nail Advantage into action, they averaged over 10% to total revenue in nails. Then they wrapped the practices into their business and never looked back.
MS: What do you mean when you talk about “a path to prosperity”?
JA: The Path to Prosperity is a strategic approach surrounding nail professionals that we as a brand are taking with the end goal of advancing the state of the industry. Currently, we are focusing on six specific steps, including Brand Awareness, Distributor Support, Education Development, Scholarships, Job Placement and Community Outreach. The full circle path will enable us to elevate the status of the nail professional, help the nail community to reach its highest level of success, unify all pros to celebrate their diversity and see them all live their dream of prosperity in their chosen career.
Our steps in achieving this path include announcing internally-acclaimed Vietnamese actress Kieu-Chinh as a CND Brand Ambassador. We are thrilled to work with her; her celebrity influence and connection to the Vietnamese-American community are invaluable when it comes to spreading awareness about the nail industry.
We’ve also named industry veteran Tan Nguyen as a Brand Advisor for CND. Nguyen has over 22 years of experience, owns a successful salon in Conroe, TX and most recently, was named the winner of the 2016 CND/VietSALON Nail Artistry Competition. In his new role, Nguyen will work with the sales, marketing, and education teams to develop initiatives for the Vietnamese community to increase brand awareness, offer empowering education and extend in-salon success support. This will include developing programs with distributors, recruiting and mentoring educator talent, and fostering relationships with key influencers.
And we have been aligning with ABC American Beauty College in Los Angeles, a close and trusted partner, and there is more to come on that, soon!
MS: Please talk about your work with Beauty Changes Lives.
JA: The BCL | CND | Tippi Hedren Nail Scholarship program was launched in 2014 to support aspiring nail professionals in their educational endeavors and to expose the nail profession as a rich and rewarding career. The fund honors accomplished actress and humanitarian, Tippi Hedren, who is credited with pioneering the Vietnamese-American Nail Professional movement in the 1970s. For decades, Tippi has served as an advocate and champion of the professional nail care community, helping thousands of individuals find lucrative careers as entrepreneurs and nail care technicians.
To date, CND and its co-donors have raised over $250,000 to fund scholarships for interested new talent to pursue professional nail education in the U.S. BCL, a non-profit initiative of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS), serves as the administering body for the scholarships. With competition rounds open each spring and fall, the BCL | CND | Tippi Hedren Nail Scholarship has already provided 30 nail students the opportunity to pursue their education. Each scholarship winner receives full tuition in a professional nail program at an AACS member school, up to $5,000.
MS: What kind of consumer outreach is CND working on?
JA: Our top priority is to promote the nail professionals who are educated and ready to delight the consumer with top-notch services and meticulous practices. We do this through our CND Shellac Certification Program and our Masters Programs (Master Painter, Master Sculptor and Master Architect). When a professional completes our training criteria, they receive special rewards and are named in our salon referral program to connect consumers with the best talent. As a pro-only brand, we are strictly dedicated to the elevation and ultimate delivery of our promise to the consumer through the best and most professional practices available. Every year we send over 200,000 consumers to our quality, high-end salons.
Additionally, we elevate the status of nail artistry among consumers in a huge way two times per season via our amazing collaborations with high profile designers during New York Fashion Week. This September we are thrilled to be collaborating with Libertine and Alice + Olivia. This will be our fifth consecutive season collaborating with the amazing Johnson Hartig of Libertine, and we’re so excited to team up with Alice + Olivia again. We’ve created gorgeous nails for their presentations in years past. The nail looks this season will range from avant-garde to ready-to-wear…something for everyone!