For this edition of Ask the Expert, we are catching up with one of the UK’s most exciting nail artists, the incredible Amy Guy!
Having worked her way from her parent’s kitchen table to being a salon owner, educator and founder of her own cosmetics line, Amy really is proof that dreams can come true.
So if you’ve always wanted to own your own nail or beauty business, be sure to keep reading…
Hi Amy! Can you give us a little introduction to yourself?
Hi guys!! So I’m Amy and I’m a nail artist and nail educator from Liverpool. I co-own a beauty salon, The Dolls House, and a cosmetics brand called The Dolls House Cosmetics. Most recently, I have launched The Nail Tech Org, an online learning community for nail technicians worldwide!
I’m also a brand ambassador for Salons Direct & Glossify – my two fave brands!
How did you get your start in the nail industry?
I literally just did a local nail course one day for something to do! I was working full time in a bank at the time and really enjoyed my job. But I also had such a creative side that wasn’t being explored. So when I heard about the course one day I signed up because I thought why not!
After I did my course, I just did my family’s nails for about a year. I never intended for it to be a career. Then when I bought my own house and it needed renovating, I struggled for money. So I started doing nails from home on my mum and dads kitchen table. It was always people I knew, friends etc. But it just built up from there and I ended up working all the hours to fit people in.
When it got too much from home, I went mobile for a while and then I was salon based one day a week. It was then that I decided I really wanted to make this a full time thing and I opened The Dolls House with my two business partners, Charlotte and Molly.
View this post on Instagram
What motivated you to start your own beauty business?
I think initially I just absolutely loved nails and wanted to be as involved in it as I possibly could be. I grew up around my dad who is very business minded and I’ve always kind of known I would go on to have my own business.
I’m naturally quite motivated and enthusiastic too. I always have to take things to the next level! At the time it just felt right. The opportunity came to me and my business partners when we found the perfect venue, so it took me about a day to make the decision and then it just happened! When we opened the salon and academy, I continued to work full time at the bank for about 3 months, until it got too much and I finally handed in my notice – no regrets.
With the cosmetics, we always wanted to turn our salon into a brand, so launching our own products was on the business plan from day one. We have always believed in ourselves and each other so much. Any ideas we have we write them down and just start working towards them. It helped so much that we have each other to cheer each other on and spread workload when it gets tough.
Then the idea for The Nail Tech Org came to me during lockdown. I found that I built a connection with so many different nail technicians through doing instagram live nail art classes. I honestly felt like being connected to so many other nail technicians and positively supporting each other was what got me through such a difficult time. I just realised just how much more you can achieve by coming together and feeling a part of something.
So, I started creating The Nail Tech Org. I just wanted to give our new little community we had created a home, a place where everybody has a friend, where everyone has the same passion and supports each other regardless of followers, experience or circumstances. It’s just a positive environment where everybody can only benefit from being a part of.
What would you say your biggest challenge has been in your career and how did you overcome it?
I definitely think the first lockdown was my biggest challenge when we ended up losing one of our businesses. We had two stores at this point – The Dolls House Salon and The Dolls House Academy. I knew without any money coming in we wouldn’t survive and I was so scared. When we closed the salon/academy I honestly cried for two weeks straight and couldn’t see past it.
Once I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I decided I just had to adapt and turned all of my focus into online masterclasses. I couldn’t believe how successful they were. We were also able to change all of our accredited courses to online courses, so then we made the choice to permanently close our academy. I think by this point we had become thick skinned and we knew it was the right decision for us moving forward.
When I look back now I am so proud of us! At the time It felt like we were admitting to people that we had failed. But in fact it was the opposite; we had taken back our control, and made a decision that actually helped us move forward a lot easier. Now we have fully renovated our salon and have a new office space for our cosmetics. We have also reduced our outgoings and we are so much happier.
It also gave me the opportunity to spend more time launching The Nail Tech Org, which I’m so grateful for.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about setting up their own nail business?
I would say go for it! If its something you are truly truly passionate about then do not let anything stand in your way. It is so tough, especially right now! But if you want it badly enough then you will make it work. I am completely obsessed with my businesses and a lot of people don’t understand it! But I do think you have to be, in a way, in order to be successful.
Running your own business is not easy! But if there’s that fire in your belly then you will always keep going. Be prepared for late nights, long hours, stress, anxiety, uncertainty… but its all worth it when you are following your dreams – there’s no feeling like it!
What are your essential products, tools and equipment in your salon?
My Lotus nail tools from Salons Direct I could not live without. Since I started as an educator, I’ve always included these in my beginner’s kits too! Then for my gels it would be Glossify – the Naturabuild collection is always my go-to and their Glossy Top Coat is a must. For nail art, I can’t say exactly yet – but, we are about to release a product from The Dolls House Cosmetics which I’ve been using secretly since last year and could not do my job without! So excited to share it when I can!
Do you have any tips for those who want to improve their nail art skills?
Practice, practice, practice and watch as many tutorials as you possibly can. On The Nail Tech Org we have over 20 nail art courses available, and each course has approx. 5 tutorials in it. So we are always here to support your learning journey. But if not, then I would say explore different products. Try them out, see what looks good and what doesn’t. And don’t be afraid to try new things and have a go. I taught myself nail art and it was purely down to me just having a play in between clients on false nail tips.
Where do you find inspiration for your nail designs?
Everywhere! And I mean literally everywhere. Jewellery is a big one for me. I have always loved accessories and often match my nails to new rings or necklaces. Pinterest has loads of nail art but also just nice prints that you can apply to nails. Also clothes and then my nail tech friends too. So many times I see another nail tech upload a pic and I’m like wow, I have to try that! There is so much talent in this industry!
View this post on Instagram
How important has social media been to your career?
Hugely important! At the beginning when I started out, Instagram wasn’t really used for businesses like it is now. Most of my clients were built through word of mouth. But when I started doing my teaching and really used instagram to connect with other nail techs. I started seeing my following increase and it definitely was the reason I was able to build the little community we have. I love that social media can connect you to different people in the industry from literally all over the world. We have members of the Nail Tech Org as far as Australia and it literally blows my mind! So I am so grateful for this platform.
What is next for your career through 2021 and beyond?
So much!!!! I have one million ideas in my head and I am so excited because I love what I do.
With The Dolls House, our salon renovation is now complete so I’m excited to get that back open following lockdown. For the cosmetics, we have four product launches planned this year!
And The Nail tech Org is still a baby – I can’t wait to focus on building our community further this year, keeping people motivated during this difficult time and helping people to feel supported. I hope to have 1,000 subscribers by the end of 2021 and we are already half way there! It will become an app this year too, which I feel will be a game changer for us. We have other plans I don’t want to reveal just yet, so watch this space!
Find professional nail supplies & more online at Salons Direct
Order before 4pm for next working day delivery!
Read more Ask the Expert features on our blog…