NPR

How Vietnamese-Americans Took Over The Nails Business: A Documentary

If you got a manicure lately, chances are your nail salon was run by Vietnamese entrepreneurs. In Nailed It, director Adele Free Pham investigates how refugees built a multi-billion dollar industry.
In Nailed It, director Adele Free Pham — whose father is a refugee from Vietnam — explores how Vietnamese entrepreneurs came to dominate the nail salon business in the U.S. Source: Adele Pham

If you've had a manicure lately, chances are you probably had it done at a nail salon run by people of Vietnamese heritage.

The salons are everywhere — in nearly every city, state and strip mall across the United States. So how did Vietnamese entrepreneurs come to dominate the multi-billion dollar nail economy?

Filmmaker Adele Free Pham set out to answer that question in a documentary called Nailed It. Growing up in Portland, Ore., she says that she observed that all the nail salons around her were Vietnamese-run.

"So I knew that something was missing in mass media about this thing, this nail thing," Pham says in

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