Most Inspiring Nail Salons 2013

Nominations for this year’s Most Inspiring Nail Salons list really demonstrate the breadth of talent and originality shaping the UK market today, with many nail salons going the extra mile to provide clients with an exemplary service.

We asked readers to nominate the UK nail salons you believed deserve recognition. We then asked the owners of the 20 salons that received the most nominations to vote for one another – listing their top three from the other 19 – to decide the final order. The salons you’ll read about over the next few pages inspire others for a huge range of different reasons, from outstanding technical skills to innovative nail art to unique décor and customer service.

Nailspa, Huddersfield

1 Nailspa, Huddersfield

For the second year running, Nailspa has taken the title of Most Inspiring Nail Salon. Other salon owners and techs told us that it’s the professionalism of owner Belinda Price and her team that makes Nailspa a consistently winning choice. The salon’s décor was also commended and is set to get even better, with the salon planning a partial refurbishment within the next year.

Voters highlighted the innovative treatments on offer as another key factor that makes Nailspa such a forward-thinking business. Price has been described as “a fantastic example of women in business”. Alongside Nubar lacquers and Gelicure gel polish, the salon stocks its own brand of products, Queen B. This natural nail care range developed by Price is also now available nationally through distributor Palms Extra. Price said of her team that they “provide excellent standards of service and beautiful treatments that make the client feel special.”

Matrix nails and beauty

2 Matrix Nails and Beauty, Stockport

A new entry to the Most Inspiring Nail Salon list, Matrix Nails and Beauty has shot straight in at second place, thanks in part to its dedicated approach to education. Manager Rebecca Abernethy has built up a range of valuable skills from her experience in the industry, demonstrating them at many beauty shows. She was crowned the winner of Beauty UK Nail Competition 2013 in the Top Tech Permanent Polish category. 

Abernethy runs courses for young therapists at Matrix, as well as for local colleges and other salons and is Northwest educator for Nubar nail products. Other salon owners describe Matrix as “a hard working family salon that is always moving forward”. This is evident through innovations such as a nail art and care workshops for seven to 15-year-olds. The salon also keeps up to date by keeping staff trained in modern nail art trends.

Strategies such as using social media, a loyalty scheme and discounted treatments have also been used to secure customers.

MW Nails London

3 MWNails, Spitalfields, London

MW Nails has hit the top three once again due to the unique décor in its London salons. The airplane design and themed branding ensures that MW Nails stands out from any other nail bar in the capital.

This has caught the attention of many in the industry; voters have highlighted the brand’s “fabulous marketing” material and one even admitted, “I wish our salon did amazing designs like this salon. The major focus for the MW Nails team this year will be the launch of a new sister brand, Nailista, which opened the doors to its first salon in Chester in September.

Wah Nails4 WAH Nails, Topshop, London

The contemporary design behind WAH Nails has made the company a firm favourite in terms of nail art. The concession nail bar in the flagship Topshop in London’s Oxford Circus is widely praised by others in the industry for its “massively artistic” nail art skills.

Keeping up with the latest trends, founder Sharmadean Reid uses innovative media marketing techniques to connect with customers. WAH’s Instagram page showcases the most unique designs to a large following. WAH Nails has caught the interest of many in the industry, with other nail bars now looking up to the company for ideas. You told us its nail art book is great “to use for inspiration” both for professionals and the public. 

Nail Artistry

5 Nail Artistry, Ipswich

One of the main attractions of this Ipswich salon is its reputation for providing an excellent service, and the nail enhancement treatment has been described as “one of the best in the area”. Director Emma-Jayne Fryatt is keen to branch out and develop the training of technicians, with Nubar accredited courses that directly focus on beginner technicians wanting to develop their skills.

The size of the salon is often a talking point, with others in the industry said they are inspired by what Fryatt has achieved in such a small space. Nail Artistry is now looking to “renew and revamp” its existing salon, hoping to expand within the next 12 months.

Purely Nailz6 Purely Nailz, Thetford

Owner Hazel Dixon has impressed many with her passion, which she demonstrates through the constant training of technicians. Each staff member has an in-depth knowledge of treatments, which guarantees that each one is carried out to a high standard.

Within the last four years, Dixon has travelled around the world picking up skills to use in her own salon. Nail art techniques such as “one stroke” draw in customers who want “amazing and wacky designs”. Hazel plans to improve this further, through sending her technicians on more training courses. To meet the growing demand, she also plans to expand Purely Nailz to new premises within the next year. 

Nailistics

7 Nailistics, Crawley

It’s the décor and stylish layout of Nailistics that voters found most inspiring. However, this “fabulous-looking salon” secures clients through more than just its impressive aesthetics. Great customer service, has also helped make it a regular on the Most Inspiring Nail Salon list.

Owner Amanda Gould says she “works hard to educate her team and the public”, keeping the salon’s Facebook page up to date with information on treatments as well as important industry news. Other salon owners highlight the friendliness of the staff as great attraction to the business.

Coco Nal bar

8 Coco Nail Bar, London

Coco Nail Bar’s effective promotion and marketing strategies have ensured that the salon is a popular choice in London. Social media campaigns, local advertising, leaflet distribution and special offer referral cards are just some of the techniques the owners have used, and they plan to increase promotion even further this year with an advertising campaign in London Underground stations.

Classic treatments remain popular at Coco, and new US brand Morgan Taylor has recently been added to the portfolio. Other salons said the most inspiring element of the salon is its innovative service. Owner Tima Reshad keeps clients coming back to the salon with her late night openings, a resident DJ on weekends and a barman who can serve clients Champagne and cocktails while they’re enjoying their mani.

Bodylines

9 Bodylines, Sittingbourne, Kent

Last year was a busy one for Bodylines as the salon celebrated 25 years of trading. Having previously won both Professional Beauty and Scratch Stars awards, Bodylines is set to build on its success this year, with the team hard at work on new marketing campaigns and a relaunch of the salon website.

Owner Liza Smith is also a session tech working on a host of celeb clients and backstage at Fashion Weeks. In her role as a CND trainer she strives to offer her clients maximum choice when it comes to nail treatments within that brand. Her varied menu includes CND’s latest launch Vinylux. And she’s just as keen on her staff developing their skills, putting them through regular in-house training.

Denise Wright Perfect 1010 Denise Wright’s Perfect 10, Hartley, Kent

Denise Wright’s longstanding Perfect 10 salon has made it into the top 10 once again, thanks to its inspiring role in the local community and Wright’s passion for championing industry talent.

The salon helps to fundraise for small businesses in the area through donating vouchers and gifts to raise money. Voters were drawn to the “fun and chatter” provided by the staff, alongside an excellent treatment service. Wright has successfully developed a new logo and design within the last year. She uses NSI OPI, Spa Ritual, Gelish, Shellac and Young Nails in the salon and plans to continue improving service with the a combination of “a good work ethic and environment”.

Perfect 10 Burgess Hill11 Perfect 10 Nails and Beauty, Burgess Hill

This West Sussex salon has been highly praised for to its professionalism and its “fun and approachable” owner, Lisa Comber. Her enthusiasm for her salon and the industry is evident in her current plans to expand the business. She is keen to develop a new area, which will specialise in luxury foot treatments. In this new zone, clients will be able to relax privately or with a friend. Comber hopes this will add to the overall positive experience clients have at Perfect 10 Nails and Beauty. The friendly attitude of the team rubs off on the clients, and Comber says they feel like part of the family.

Podology

12 Beauty Pod and Podology, Saltburn-by-Sea, Yorkshire

A new entry to the Most Inspiring Nail Salons list, Podology has received brilliant reviews by offering beauty treatments with a scientific edge. The salon offers chiropody services, and voters were impressive by the quality of its pedicures.

Popular nail treatments include the combination of The Orb warmed paraffin wax with regular OPI manicures and pedicures. The salon is able to give prescriptive advice to clients. Beauty Pod has a range of effective marketing strategies including seasonal themed packages. Owner Laura Dicken also keeps clients up to date on new treatments and promotions though the salon’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Polish13 Polish Nail and Beauty, Aberdeen

Having won the Professional Beauty Award for Nail Salon of the Year 2013 in February, Polish show no signs of slowing down. The team behind the Aberdeen-based salon is busy putting the finishing touches to a second branch, and owner Sammy Grant has plans in the pipeline to open an out-of-hours training school.

“Since winning Professional Beauty’s Nail Salon of the year title earlier this year our salon’s profile has been raised dramatically,” says Grant.

The salon focuses on delivering a quality nail service to clients. Its on-trend designs have proved to be the most popular, with two thirds of the salon’s clients choosing nail art with their treatment.

Spoilt for choice

14 Spoilt for Choice, Newcastle

On trend with the latest designs, Spoilt for Choice’s 3D acrylic nails have been described as “very inspiring” by other nail salon owners. Owner Vikki Taylor Dodds maintains a quality service by providing an ongoing training plan for her staff to ensure all technicians deliver to the best of their ability.

Everyone on the team has either achieved or is working towards master artist status. This has led to many exciting new opportunities for the salon, such as working with MTV on reality TV show Geordie Shore. Taylor Dodds hopes to build on this success by securing more television projects as well as expanding the salon in the near future.

Tillie15 Tillie’s Spa and Nail Lounge, London

Tillie’s Spa and Nail Lounge has been praised for its vintage-inspired décor. “Tillie’s is on a mission to re-write the rule book and create a unique space,” explains the website. The quirky salon is run and owned by Tillie Fredericks, who wanted to create a professional service with a homely feel. She hopes it will “grow and develop into a household name for stylish Londoners”.

Located in London’s upmarket Maida Vale area, the salon also markets itself as a unique location for business meetings, providing a range of treatments and food packages for this. 

Touch Nails and Beauty

16 Touch Nails and Beauty, Carlisle

Touch Nails and Beauty recently introduced the glamorous Swarovski pedicure to its treatments list. The salon has also impressed clients and industry peers alike with its innovative packages. The various treatments available use the brands OPI, Gelish and NSI, and technicians are often busy with acrylic nail treatments as they are still the salon’s bestseller.

The team is now looking into expanding the salon by adding another beauty room to fulfill this demand. There are also plans afoot to offer a range of facials in the near future.

Bluebelle nails

17 Bluebelle Nail Bar & Beauty Studio, Wakefield

The village-based salon has come a long way since owner Lucy Vodden opened it four years ago at the age of just 18. Since then, the business has gone from strength to strength, expanding to bigger premises that have allowed the salon to spread over two floors. Vodden now plans to enter more specialist competitio

ns and develop social media marketing to boost recognition of the salon and her skills within the beauty and nail industry. With nails being the largest part of the business, the salon has inspired others with its ability to offer excellent value for money. 

18 Nailgirls, Islington, London Nail girls

The launch of two new retail counters in Scotland was a successful decision for the Nailgirls. They hope to continue this achievement by opening a salon in the Glasgow City Centre within the next year. Other salon owners say the most inspiring element of the London salon is that it uses its own range of nail polishes. These are popular with clients as they are vegan friendly, come in recyclable packaging and don't use animal testing or harmful chemicals. The most popular treatment using the polishes is the Signature Mani-Pedi

Beautiful nails

19 Beautiful Nails & Body Salon, Crawley

A finalist in this year’s Professional Beauty Awards, Beautiful Nails & Body Salon puts care for the client’s nails firmly at the centre of the company ethos. The team is against using MMA or electric files, choosing instead to do acrylic and gel treatments by hand. Owner Denise Holland says they also strive to use only “the best products in the industry.” To create fabulous nails, the salon uses OPI and CND. 

20 Boutique Fifty One, Northampton  Boutique 51

Boutique Fifty One showcases its range of quirky and original designs on the company’s Facebook page. This has proved an effective marketing tool for the salon, as clients share their new nails with friends online. The team’s creative nail art and extension techniques inspire others to experiment with designs. It also interacts with audiences by posting regular updates and offers about the salon.