You’ll be Well Gel after a visit to Mandy’s Nail Bar

In the past I would have trawled the high streets or got a personal recommendation from a friend when choosing a nail technician – however in today’s social media focussed world I thought I’d give it a go and try someone who was recommended via Facebook by a neighbour of mine, this would be Mandy’s Nail Bar.

I booked into have my nails done with Mandy after I “liked” her Facebook page and she kindly send me a £5 off any treatment offer.  I haven’t had my nails done for a very long time, certainly haven’t had anything attached to my nails since 2010 when my acrylic nail (along with some of my own nail) got ripped off during a fitness session.  These days you can have tips added with Gel so acrylic isn’t necessarily the only option for permanently manicure nails.

I arrived at Mandy’s Nail Bar which is run from her beautiful home in a gorgeous village just outside of Milton Keynes on the way to Northampton.  She instantly makes me feel welcome, it’s very comfortable and relaxing in the room at the front of the house – which for me I prefer when a business is run from home (you don’t feel like you’ve taken a grand tour of the house and are now imposing on family life).  Her workstation is waiting for me, fresh, clean and looking decidedly professional with her newly acquired certificates on display along with some deliciously bright nail polish colours.

I gave Mandy free reign to do her favourite work on my nails (I had 5 long and 5 short nails due to a housework incident) and settled on White Tips & Gel with a “Squoval” edge. I was surprised to learn of a new tip shape called the “stiletto” which is similar to the pointed almond shape à la Jessie J, but has a defined triangle point – somewhat impractical and possibly dangerous.

Mandy’s journey to Nail Technician seeded from a personal passion for nails at a time when life handed her one of those difficult crossroads, redundancy after maternity leave.  Instead of being another victim of the ‘system’, with her Husband’s blessing she created a new life for herself and growing family (4 children with the youngest 15 months); her background is childcare.  She enrolled on a distance learning course via Stonebridge College in October last year and by April this year she was qualified.  The online course allowed her to complete all the modules, assignments and exams at her own pace with extensive deadlines for submission – the practical part involved posting off painted false nails for marking.  She giggles as she tells me about her practice work on a dummy finger and hand.  You can see she loves working with real nails, she lights up from the inside.

Business has been bountiful from the beginning of her self-employed venture with regular weekly bookings.  Facebook seems to be a perfect platform to manage her marketing & promotions, although the “boost” options which come with a small fee haven’t helped bring in customers as the online service attracts users from overseas – which even for the most affluent self-employed home-working nail technician would be a tad far.  Her page has a 5 star rating…although I’d award her 6 if I could!

I’m pleased to hear that any negativity that has been thrown her way has not faltered her enthusiasm; there will always be competitive online ‘trolls’.  She has quickly learnt how to satisfy any inevitable issues that arise with customers and has a generous free fixes/repairs policy within 7 days.  Competitive prices and regular offers have allowed her to gain a firm grounding for what appears to be a successful business already…less than a year old – which is no easy feat.

We discussed trends and popular requests for nail art.  She has experimented with colour changing polish (her client is in Egypt – Mandy is eagerly awaiting feedback), glitter dust & glitter gel polish (popular on the tips), gems, patterns and the ‘odd’ nail trend (e.g. the nail of the ring finger is different but co-ordinated).  She prefers to use Signature and CN brands.

Mandy had no personal horror stories to tell, but did enlighten me to a lady who had bought a motorised nail filing/buffering kit, used it haphazardly and damaged her nailbeds so badly they were pitted to a degree where the only treatment would be good old lacquer polish as anything gel/acrylic related would have taken off her own nail.  Having owned one of these kits myself in the past it hadn’t even occurred to me there could have been significant permanent damage if misused.  Mandy explained the course taught her these things along with topics such as infections and what can alternatives can be offered.

This is a focussed business woman with plans to branch out with additional treatments starting with waxing & threading next year.  Mandy doesn’t do feet though, which I learnt when I originally asked for a pedicure, but that’s the beauty & bonus of being your own boss – you get the freedom to not only choose your own hours and environment to work in, you decided what treatments to offer.

… I’ll keep my fingers (and toes) crossed she doesn’t get asked to wax someone’s toes when she includes waxing to her treatment list.

By Leanne Nuttall

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