Sharmadean Reid is the founder of nail sensation WAH Nails. If you’re a girl you’ve definitely heard of them. If you’re a boy, you’ve probably seen them somewhere (even if it hasn’t registered).
She set up WAH Nails in 2009 after having a series of unsatisfactory manicures. She felt frustrated with the lack of creativity manicurists would have, and how unwilling they would be to do something a little different. Now, usually business ideas borne out of frustration don’t work out so well, particularly as Sharmadean notes that she ‘didn’t even bother finishing her business plan because it was boring’.
However the differentiation in the offering got her noticed, and gained popularity quickly. Having never owned her own shop or business before, she fully immersed herself in the ins and outs. She fitted the whole thing by herself with her boyfriend, took a nail course, read some nail blogs and ‘opened shop’. For a while she worked her usual job as a stylist alongside running the business, before ‘taking a leap’.
She never took a loan for the business, admitting that she hates filling out forms, and found the process of “explaining to a middle aged man why nails were cool, because I knew it would be” frustrating and unnecessary.
“..we completely changed culture, we completely changed trends. Nails are a thing now in a way that they weren’t before” – Sharmadean Reid
She doesn’t regret this choice however, as she now owns WAH 100% and has ‘investors knocking down the door’.
“I spent my time not worrying about money, but building our brand, brand value and building our fan base” – Sharmadean Reid
She has done pop-ups for huge brands – providing nail services at events such as fashion week. She now has WAH books, salons in Topshop and a line of nail polishes and nail art tools selling in various high street stores such as Boots. She’s all about the do-it-yourself, do-it-at-home accessibility, and not the exclusivity of the salon experience.
What really draws me to Sharmadean, and the reason she is my #wcw, is that she puts up no pretense that she is someone who is better in some way because she has started a business. She does not claim to be a genius, or a marketing whizz, have extensive experience or be particularly special. She just had an idea and went through with it. She worked hard. She made smart decisions and she stuck to them.
“You can just go home and start your business. You can buy a URL and register it online…you’ve just got to remind yourself that you’re an amazing person, capable of so much” – Sharmadean Reid