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Thursday, July 27, 2017 12:14 am

“We speak to you, not about you”

An immigrant’s billboard about not gossiping


I established my Springfield salon, Gulden’s Nail Spa, in 2012. I was born and raised in Adana, Turkey, and moved to the United States at the age of 21. It has always been my dream to own my own business so, I earned a bachelor’s degree in business at Robert Morris University. I still reside in Springfield, where I raise my two sons, Dallas and Denver. My salon is different from most because it is considered a medical grade spa. Aside from nail treatments, we offer many other services, like facials and waxing. My staff and I choose to speak English, mostly as a common courtesy to our clients.

“We Speak to You, Not About You” has been my business slogan for five years. Recently, I have come under fire, being accused of racial undertones in my advertisements (See “A billboard about language and intolerance,” GUESTWORK, July 20). I have been called every hurtful name under the sun, by people who have never even met me or stepped foot inside of my salon. Recently, I’ve even been slandered by local politicians, using me and my salon as an opportunity to further their own agendas and gain the popular vote. I suppose it’s easier to assume the worst about someone rather than taking the time to get to know them.

The advertisement was intended to let everyone know that we are talking to our clients and not about them. Being a woman of Eastern European descent, the last thing that I would ever want to do is insult or harm another individual’s nationality. It’s my business to make people feel better about themselves, which is why I was so surprised by the backlash. At Gulden’s Nail Spa each one of us have a different background and nationality. So, let me be clear, we are not practicing politics or attacking any other nationalities, sexual orientations or religions.

In the beauty industry, it is very important to have good communication skills to be able to provide consultation to clients in order to provide customized services to meet their needs. It is also important to be informed about clients’ health conditions, for example if a client is diabetic or has a blood clot, then nail services need to be provided with caution.

In service-based businesses, it is very common to see the same faces repeatedly and, in most cases, our clients become more like friends. When you’re spending an hour with a person during their services, there are many conversations about their personal lives.

Under the new measure signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, licensed beauty professionals must take an hour-long course designed to teach them to recognize signs of domestic violence and ways to address it. Each professional is required to complete the course while applying for a new license – as an additional hour added to 14 hours of continuing education required for license renewals every two years by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. It is a state requirement to pass the nail technician test with a minimum passing score of 75. The test is only provided in English.

We speak to our clients, not about them, when they share personal things with us. Sometimes being a nail technician is a lot like being a therapist.

Gulden Haslett of Springfield is a former interpreter for the United States Air Force, an entrepreneur, a licensed insurance producer and broker and owner and operator of Gulden’s Nail Spa, Body & Boutique.


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