Pressing On with Press-On Nail Art During The Pandemic

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Pamper Nail Gallery owner Vivian Xue Rahey shows off her Cruella Deville inspired painted nails.
Pamper Nail Gallery owner Vivian Xue Rahey shows off her Cruella Deville inspired painted nails.  (Pendarvis Harshaw)


Have you ever wanted nail art that highlights your favorite Disney Movie? Maybe nails that show Mulan below a cherry tree, or Alice at her Wonderland tea party, or maybe you want to see Stitch getting into shenanigans across your hands... Whatever your preference, Vivian Xue Rahey has you covered.

These conversation pieces are clear fan favorites online. Vivian's Pamper Nail Gallery has hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram and TikTok, and millions more views.

And they do more than just Disney; they paint everything from popular anime shows to pop singers. It's a unique art form.  And their business is growing.

Since the start of the pandemic, Vivian, has switched up her "Disneyland of Nails" business model: moving from appointments in the salon where nails are painted on site, to an e-commerce model where you can order press-on sets that ship to your doorstep already bedazzled and painted with scenes from your favorite flick.

Press-on nail art inspired by the Pixar movie, Cars.
Press-on nail art inspired by the Pixar movie, Cars. (Vivian Xue Rahey)

Since the switch to press-ons, Vivian says, "now we can do it at a larger scale, faster!"

Vivian, who had been concerned about her ability to retain employees through pandemic, says she's started to hire more artists from across the country.

Despite changes to the model, the company is staying true to the vision she first described to me in the spring of 2019. Today, we're revisiting that conversation with the CEO of Pamper Nail Gallery, and hearing how this art-based business not only stayed afloat, but expanded in the midst of a global pandemic.

Press-on nails inspired by the cartoon film, Coraline.
Press-on nails inspired by the cartoon film, Coraline. (Vivian Xue Rahey)

Rightnowish is an arts and culture podcast produced at KQED. Listen to it wherever you get your podcasts or click the play button at the top of this page and subscribe to the show on NPR One, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

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