Anyone who has lived in Vietnam long enough will notice the countless beauty salons scattered around the country. When wandering through the alleyways (whether it is a big city or a small town), you will notice that these hair-nail-spa parlours bloom at every corner.
I recently found out about the story behind the rise of Vietnamese nail salons across the world. Tippi Hedren, who starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds, was a volunteer with a humanitarian group that worked with Vietnamese refugees in Sacramento. Having escaped war-torn Vietnam, the refugees lived in a tent city, which the actress often visited. This group of 20 women loved Hedren’s nails; when she realised it, she brought her manicurist so she could give lessons to the bunch once a week (more on this story here).
That initial group would later be joined by Vietnamese immigrants who fled the war-torn country. They started setting up small nail parlours in California, offering top-quality service at much cheaper prices compared to the luxury salons. And the rest is history. The story of how Vietnamese women transformed a single industry radically across the world.
What goes around, comes around. Back in Vietnam soil, beauty salons offer top-notch services ranging from nails, pedicure, hair, facial masks to massages. The parlours look nothing but fancy, but locals yet love going to the salons located just around the next hem to enjoy their ultimate pampering session.