1. What has been your proudest career moment?
There have been so many, which is a really cool thing to be able to say, but I tend to be spinning plates and racing forward to the next thing so rarely step back to appreciate anything. Most recently my proudest moments are moving all three of the NAF! businesses into the same building (it took a year of searching, failing, negotiating and renovating!), writing some incredible training manuals for NAF! School and being registered as a CIBTAC training centre, moving our team to a 4 day work week and getting through a 2 year pandemic relatively intact. I feel like the past year has had so many big changes that are laying the groundwork for our next steps.
2. Who has been/is your biggest mentor?
If there’s one thing I’m not afraid to do it’s ask for help. I’ve built up a really great network of mentors, advisors and consultants and love asking for advice and getting feedback on my plans and ideas. I don’t think I could pick one because they’re all experts in different areas and I value them all so much.
3. What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?
“Will what you’re working on or worried about have an impact in a year’s time? If not, then don’t spend too much time on it”. I can sometimes get overwhelmed with ideas or bogged down with to-do’s so I look at my list and think “which one of these will have the biggest impact in a year's time if I do/don’t do it sooner than everything else”.
4. Which training body would you recommend for someone wanting to enter your area of the industry?
If you want to step into the nail industry in any way you now need to have an OFQUAL regulated Manicure & Pedicure qualification as your starting point. A lot of people skip that step and go straight into Gel Polish and many skip Pedicure altogether, which not only puts you at risk of not being insured, but means you miss the opportunity to have a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, physiology and health & safety before you start working on paying clients.
Lots of insurers won’t allow you to use metal tools if you only have an accredited Manicure course, even if you have Gel Polish or Enhancements certificates. I recommend getting your Level 2 (which is a Level 5 in Scotland) Manicure & Pedicure with CIBTAC and doing further education with BABTAC providers, NAF! School teaches both, but there are other amazing providers out there.
5. How do you make sure you stand out from the crowd e.g. up-skilling, research, social media?
I think just actively wanting to stand out makes you stand out, it pushes you to think outside the box and challenge norms! Having a passion for what you do, communicating that and networking with people who share that passion but can share a different viewpoint will always develop you and your brand. Always listen to feedback and challenge everything you do to make your business as inclusive as possible. Challenge yourself, keep learning and don’t try to replicate anyone assuming it’ll be easy - it won’t! If someone copies you, just wait it out, they’ll change direction once they find their niche. If lots of people start copying you, take everything you’ve learned and level up! Make friends with other business owners, especially if they’re in the same industry, at some point they’ll be the only people who know what you’re going through.
6. If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting their own business, what would it be?
Get your ducks in a row before you start your business because you’ll never have that time again when you’re running that day to day! Make sure you’re passionate about what you’re doing, always keep learning, trust your gut and don’t compromise on the things that light a fire in your belly. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s the only way you learn, but always hold your hands up and admit when you’ve done wrong. Find a good accountant and get on top of your finances from the get-go, open a business savings account, put money away for VAT, Tax & big plans weekly & don’t touch it!
7. What’s the best and hardest thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is being in a space I’ve created with wonderful people coming in and out every day that share the same passion I do. I love nails, I love skincare and I’m so passionate about education and our industry so having a space where the team, clients and students all feel the same is just amazing.
Separating myself from work is definitely the hardest part of my job, we’re all human at the end of the day and the flip side of having a passion for what you do means you don’t just stop when everyone else stops. It can be quite isolating when you’re the only person carrying the risk.
8. How do you switch off after a difficult day?
If I have a difficult day I normally need to talk it out before I can switch off, I like to figure out why something has felt challenging and figure out what I can learn from it before I forget the feelings I’ve had about it.
If it’s something work related then I’ll normally see if one of my team is free to talk it through but if it’s something that’s impacted me a little more personally I’ll call a friend or speak to my partner. I don’t really switch off by watching TV or going for a bath, I need to be talking or moving so going for a meal, a walk or doing something else fun after work always clears my head.
9. Desert island 3 course meal?
Oh now you’re asking! I feel very passionately about food.
To start - Loads of snacky bits! Some veg tempura, inari tacos, some wee bits of veg sushi, gyoza, wok fried greens and some miso soup.
Main - Chicken waffles, fried chicken on top of some sweet waffles with sriracha, mayo, spring onion (maybe some maple syrup too!) with truffle parmesan skinny fries & a watermelon salad on the side.
Dessert - A warm, chewy chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream with a wee raspberry on top.
(Ideally I’d be with friends who didn’t mind me trying & sharing their food too!)
10. Which 5 people (dead or alive) would you have at your dinner party?
I’d love to have all my grandparents in one room and find out more about them now that I’m an adult and can appreciate all of their advice & experiences. I never met one of them and didn’t get enough time with the others before they passed away. The fifth person would be a really good chef!
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