Eight years ago, a Central Saint Martins graduate decided to combine her love for beauty, fashion, and technology into one; oddly enough, through nail art. What once started off as a zine for girls in hip hop turned into WAH Nails- perhaps the biggest, most fashion forward nail salon to exist in all of Europe. Sharmadean Reid has incorporated the developing technology industry into her business, from utilizing a Virtual Reality Nail Designer to an automated robot used for booking appointments. We sat down with Sharmadean Reid after her talk at #FASHIONTECH during Berlin Fashion Week to talk about her advice in intertwining technology within a blossoming business. Watch part 1 with David Fischer here.
Visualize the entire process
The number one tip Reid gave us in upstarting a successful business was to visualize the entire process from start to finish. This means every little element from website organization to costs to accolades and rewards. Being able to weigh out the pros and cons- especially while creating the entire image of the business will motivate you to create an all around successful business. She underscores how even within visualizing the entire process, it is essential for you to put yourself in the customers’ shoes and see it from a client’s standpoint. Being able to answer questions that you would have as a client is a crucial step in forming a business.
There is no excuse to stop you
With everything the internet offers for us at the tip of our fingertips- and that means everything, there is absolutely no excuse to stop you from starting your own company. For many, starting a beauty business can seem daunting- with stories of massive loans and struggles to creating a top notch business. Now, one can register a company for £15 in under 15 minutes, buy a URL, or start a free blog through several blogging websites. Which leads us to our next point..
If you don’t know where to begin, start a blog
With nearly 500k followers on Instagram, the London-based WAH Nails has attracted the attention of young millennials all over the world. Surprisingly, WAH Nails became the company it is today through one simple- and free- platform: Tumblr. To this day, Reid has about fifteen unfinished Tumblrs and urges you to create a blog the minute you find inspiration. You never know if that can lead you into upstarting your own successful business like Reid did with WAH Nails.
Use technology to your advantage but don’t rely on it
Technology is a double-edged sword: it helps us and we love it, but it might have gotten to a point where we might rely on it a little too much. Reid says that technology is a great entry point and is necessary to incorporate into your brand but a mix of human and machinery elements is still essential. WAH Nails has an automated robot for scheduling appointments via text. This allows the nail artists to know everything needed before the appointment (ie polish removal, etc) without having to personally text the clients. However, though the booking process is automated, Reid chooses down-to-earth, attentive girls that the clients will want to be friends with.
Don’t be afraid and just do it
Starting a business from scratch sounds daunting, no matter who you are and what your background is. But in a society like today, being afraid will only hinder your growth. Reid’s final words for us were: “You have as much right to be accepted, be successful and make it as everyone else, so don’t be afraid and just do it.”