Thousands of nail technicians raise prices 'in solidarity' to cover unseen costs

  • Video report by ITV Wales' national correspondent Rob Osborne.

A nail technician in Cardiff who is raising her prices as part of what's being billed as "National Nail Price Increase Day” says it marks a "big moment of solidarity", with some workers earning below the minimum wage after paying their overheads.

More than 5,000 nail technicians across the UK are coming together to collectively raise their prices from today - Monday, 8 April - as part of the movement.

This is to make a fair wage the Nail Tech Org (NTO) says, as the organisation warned its member nail technicians make on average just under £7 per hour.

The minimum wage, also known as National Living Wage, increased to £11.44 per hour for workers over 21 from April 2024.

Elsie Tate has been a nail technician for two years and has owned her own studio - Beelsiebub Nailz - for a year.

With rising costs of utilities and products, she explained the reason for the national price increase is to ensure all nail technicians are earning the minimum wage.

Elsie said: "It's really easy to think when you go into a nail place and you pay £40 to think that's going straight into the nail tech's pocket.

"But there are so many unseen overheads and training and product replenishment and all of that, that doesn't get seen.

"It's more common than you realise for nail techs to go home with less than minimum wage at the end of the day."

Elsie has been a nail technician for two years.

Elsie said the increase is "relatively small but in terms of a percentage it's quite significant because it means that I can put aside a pension and I can put aside sick pay because I've not been doing that for the past year, so that's quite an exciting thing for me.

"It is a big moment.

"It's really important and I'm excited that it's being recognised because when I first started doing nails, I was really stressed about figuring out prices and all of that and the last year it's just been battling 'what should it be? What's a good price?' But we've finally kind of made a day of it which is good.

"The purpose of having a specific day for it is for nail techs, we tend to ignore the actual expenses of what we pay, and I think it's fair to have a specific day for it because otherwise a lot of nail techs would put off the price increase or they wouldn't put it up as much as they need to and the specific day gives a sense of solidarity which makes it less scary.

"A lot of companies are upping the prices of their products as well so we need to make sure we stay in line with that so we can keep providing the luxury services."

Niamh Crawley is one of Elsie's clients and said she is "fine" with the price increase, adding that she felt like what Elsie was previously charging was "too cheap".

Niamh is one of Elsie's clients and said she is "fine" with the price increase.

"I'm glad she's increasing the prices," Niamh said.

"I've been seeing Elsie for a while and I remember when she first started out, I remember coming away thinking 'gosh she's charging me too low and I would charge more in her position', so I used to buy her coffees."

She added: "My sister's a beauty therapist as well and I remember when she was starting out and she was giving student prices and it just wasn't covering enough for her and I felt the same for Elsie.

"Everything's just gone up in the world, things are so expensive now that I think it's only fair."

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