Tag Archives: Lois Christie

Op-Ed: Not all nail salons are equal

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


It’s been a long time in coming, but finally, the city and state are working to enforce codes for the nail salon industry.

As the owner of an award-winning luxury salon in business for 44 years in Bayside, I welcome these changes because many others involved in the industry have exploited cheap labor and bent the rules to make a profit.

Our salon employs qualified manicurists (now referred to as nail technicians) to service our clients. New York State requires a license to perform nail and waxing services.

Full-service salons had difficulty finding qualified nail technicians and also found itself competing with smaller nail salons that sprang up across Queens offering cheaper prices for all kinds of nail services. These salons employ unskilled and unlicensed workers.

The beauty industry faced the difficulty of language barriers in finding employees. We have hired a manager fluent in Korean who has helped us attract and train nail technicians for our business.

The nail salon industry today is a billion-dollar business, but questions abound as to who is working at these salons. Who trains them? Are they licensed? Where do the salons hire them? How are they paid?

Recent reports have revealed that many of these small nail salons with workers being paid in cash and kept off the books are denied any kind of benefits and forced to work long hours. Our business abides by the rules; we pay our taxes, as do our employees, and give our employees wages well above the minimum as well as paid vacations, training, health care and retirement benefits, and are provided sterilized tools – all of which I believe these workers are entitled to and deserve.

I do not believe employees should be forced to work more than a 40-hour week. In my opinion, that is an unfair business practice.

Before getting any service, my advice to customers is to ask to see all of a salon’s licenses and sterilized equipment. If a customer goes to a salon offering a $15 mani/pedi, they should probably assume they are receiving services from underpaid, exploited workers.

There are many salons in Queens offering very high-end, excellent services. Regardless of the culture of salon operators and employees, all businesses must operate under the same laws to make salons safe for clients and competitive. We must all pay our taxes and follow state regulations.

Christie is the president and hair color director of Christie & Co. Salon in Bayside.


Nail salon safety gets attention at City Hall rally

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of  Twitter/@TishJames


Public Advocate Letitia James wants your local nail salon to improve its health and safety conditions.

James joined advocates and elected officials outside of City Hall on Friday to rally in support of the Nail Salon Health and Safety Bill.

The bill would require all nail salons in New York City to register with the City Department of Health. Currently, New York State is in charge of inspecting the 5,000 nail salons in the state. New York City is home to 2,000 of those salons. There are only 32 inspectors dedicated to this task and only 25 percent of the nail salons are inspected each year.

“New Yorkers from all walks of life patronize our city’s nail salons on a regular basis, but most do not know that many of these businesses are rife with unsanitary conditions and hazardous chemicals that endanger the health of both customers and employees that work there every day,” James said.

Lois Christie, owner of Christie & Co. Salon and Spa in Bayside, said this bill is an important and necessary step to keeping customers safer.

“[In] my opinion, many nail salons really don’t follow the proper sterilization license rules and in fact, many put other products in other bottles so you think for example they’re using something like a gel but they’re using acrylic or something else,” Christie said.

Christie & Co. has been in business for 45 years, and Christie said her salon takes extreme measures to make sure their tools are sterilized. She uses autoclave to sterilize her instruments, which is the same process that dentists use for their tools.

Though the machine used to sterilize her tools is very expensive, Christie said she believes her clients deserve that level of care.

Christie said people should ask for the licenses of technicians working at the nail salons they visit and also be aware of how they sterilize their tools.

“People should have a level of safety just like a food [business], you want to know if somebody’s kitchen is clean,” Christie said.

The bill would also require the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to develop guidelines to improve the health and safety of nail salons.

Nail salons would be incentivized to install a new mechanical ventilation unit to improve air quality and can be reimbursed for up to $500.

According to a report released by James, hazardous chemicals such as toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate are used regularly in nail products and have been linked with reproductive harm, respiratory problems and cancer.

Salon workers are most at risk since they deal with these chemicals and do not wear any protective gear.

A task force of physicians, practitioners, government and advocates would also be required to gather data and produce a report on nail salon health, safety and standards of practice under this bill.

“Nail salons should not only help New Yorkers feel beautiful, they must also keep nail salon workers safe and healthy,” said Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacifica American Women’s Forum. “Intro 304-A is an important first step in creating healthier salons for consumers and workers.”


Courier publisher to take ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Help fund scientific research into the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The Queens Courier and Christie Salon are sponsoring the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Friday, Sept. 12 at 3 p.m.

The challenge will take place at Christie & Co. Salon & Spa, at  23-64 Bell Blvd, in Bayside, and all Bay Terrace Shopping Center employees are invited. Victoria Schneps, publisher of The Queens Courier, will also participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge, and she challenges her readers to come and join in. Donations are welcome and Lois Christie has offered a free blowout at her salon to anyone who participates in the new ritual of pouring freezing water over one’s head in the name of fighting a progressive neurodegenerative disease.

Call The Queens Courier at 718-224-5863 in order to participate.




Lois Christie hosts industry leaders

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of The Queens Courier

Lois Christie is not only the founder, president and CEO of the Christie & Co. Salon * Spa in The Bay Terrace, she is also president of Intercoiffure America/Canada.

She and the organization recently hosted the 2011 Fall Atelier, which combined the themes of Hollywood celebrities and red carpet glamour, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

“Our members attend the Atelier to meet other owners and artists who are as passionate and driven as themselves,” said Christie. “Certainly, the presentations are superb. But the sharing of knowledge and ideas face to face with leaders like Gina Khan and Vivienne Mackinder is exhilarating.”

To learn more about Intercoiffure America/Canada, visit www.intercoiffure.com.