Nailing the business

Rachel Farrell

You can buy subscriptions for music, movies, magazines and now nails, thanks to Chipped.

Chipped nail salon opened its doors in Powerscourt Centre in January, and has already become a favourite among Irish bloggers and celebrities. After living abroad in London, Milan and Paris, founder and creative director Roisin became frustrated with the lack of creative nail businesses in Ireland.

“It has never been done before here, and I wanted to bring something new to the beauty market. It’s all about being a market leader,” she explained.

Chipped’s launch was much anticipated, with cryptic photos posted on its Instagram in the lead up to it.

For Roisin, it’s a passion for nail art that keeps her going.

“The best part of what I do is working in an industry I love and have a huge passion for. Every single day is different for me, and no one task is the same. This really keeps me motivated.”

Customers can choose from different subscription levels, or book in for a single manicure. After paying a one-time €30 joining fee, the basic package includes four file and paint treatments for hands, one free gift and a free manicure for a friend annually – priced at €29 per month.

Chipped couldn’t have come at a better time for the booming Irish beauty business. The skin care and cosmetic sales industry in Ireland was valued at over €200 million in 2016, according to Euro Monitor.

Across the pond, WAH Nails started a nail art revolution in London nine years ago. Sharmadean Reid opened her first salon in Dalston, and their flagship location now resides in the busy area of Soho.

Boasting over 470,000 Instagram followers, they’ve painted talons at London Fashion Week, The Brits, and even at the Grand Prix. They’ve had pop up shops in Topshop Oxford Circus, and even in Harvey Nichols here in Dublin.

“Not only does WAH promise to ‘translate fashion trends into fingertip art’, but having a WAH manicure is the most delightful experience,” according to Grazia magazine. Known for their intricate designs and attention to detail, WAH Nails paved the way for nail salons of the future.

There’s no denying that Irish girls love getting their nails done. Whether it’s shellac, gel, or simply falsies, drugstore brands are constantly coming out with imitation of salon quality products.

“I think Irish girls take care of themselves, and I just wanted to find a way to make it easier for them to do this,” Roisin said.

“When you pay a monthly subscription, taking care of yourself becomes hassle free. I think it is important to keep a little aside for pampering each month, isn’t it?”

Also in Dublin is the popular salon Tropical Popical, a self-described “soundtrack of pop via a love affair with Dublin.” Colourful nails and a dash of kitsch are what Tropical Popical is all about.

“We went out of our way to find some outrageously talented nail artists… and threw as many pineapples, flamingos, parrots, palm trees, neon signs and anything gold we could find into the mix,” the salon says on its website.

“If you’re looking for whale music and rose petals, we’re not for you. But if you want some cracking tunes, a tropical drink in a coconut, some gorgio giorgio nails and a little LOL, get yourself in gear.”

In recent years, the nail industry has forged links with fashion. Nail artists are constantly looking to the runway for inspiration, with many designers creating nail looks to match the models’ makeup and outfits.

Likewise, designer fashion is taking a leaf out of the world of nails. Vogue named the ‘logo manicure’ the trend of the season at the start of March, after Balenciaga models walked the runway with the brand’s ‘B’ logo painted on their fingertips.

Japanese-born nail artist Mei Kawajiri took the social media world by storm with her technicolor interpretation of Louis Vuitton’s classic monogram print. For Roisin, it’s the hottest nail trend of the season.

“I love that the fashion industry has really fused with the beauty industry. I love seeing colours taken from the catwalk available as gel polish colours in the same season. I also love having my nails match with the handbag I am wearing,” she said.

There’s never been a better time to be a nail art lover in Dublin. Whether it’s a simple mani-pedi or long stylish talons you’re after, the options are endless.

Rachel Farrell

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