French-born Sonia Hully, 43, is founder of Nailberry, a 4-Free nail polish line and South Kensington salon. Sonia has lived in the UK since she was 21. Sonia’s career path has been anything but obvious, from city trader to freelancing in the film industry, finally launching her own nail business with a strong aesthetic and contemporary edge.
At Beautyplus.com we love the clean lines of the Nailberry bottle. With so many nail lines, was it difficult to break the mould in terms of aesthetics? “Not really, as nobody of my knowledge came out at the time with this look. I have, amongst other things, a background as an interior decorator and really wanted a product which would look decorative anywhere. I always wondered why nobody had tailored nail polish like a perfume bottle before. Most are not that attractive unless you get a haute couture brand and pay the price for it. Since then, though, I have noticed a few brands who came out with the same concept so it was obviously a good idea.”
In the US, there’s a nail bar (and a blow dry bar) on every corner – we can’t seem to get our heads around this in Europe? The concept of fast beauty is only just starting to emerge – why have we been so slow do you think? “To be brutally honest I think it is because services are not that profitable unless you charge quite a lot. With the rent, business rate tax and VAT we have to pay a lot of tax before we are even profitable. In the US business rate tax doesn’t exist and VAT varies from none to 8% depending where you are. European ladies are actually very into their looks but might be more inclined to do it themselves. However I have noticed, the rise of the nail bars and blow dry salons the last two years because the demand is definitely there and it is a small luxury everyone can afford.”
Are there any issues you come across in the older woman demographic in terms of nail problems that are specific to age? “Many people notice an increase in vertical ridges of the fingernails as they age, and this can be a normal development. As you age, the growth of your nails slows down and ridges can form from lack of moisture from your body’s natural oil. Your nail can also become brittle or start peeling. Moisturising your nails with vitamin E oil or olive oil will benefit not only your nails, but your cuticles as well.”
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How can you find the perfect nude nail polish for your skin tone? “If you have a pale complexion it is harder to find the right nude. If your skin has a tendency to be white with a yellow tint best to get a pink nude like our Candy Floss and keep away from the beige. If you have the perfect white skin like most English roses, actually all pink will look fresh and elegant and the more solid is the colour the better. Olive skin or dark skin are quite lucky, they can wear anything and I have to say Almond, a creamy beige, is my favourite nude for those skins.”
Some women feel, as they get older, they can’t be as adventurous with nail colours – what do you say? Tone it down or go for it?! “Definitely go for it! We have at the salon, some older ladies who really play with colours and it suits them so well. It always depends on your personality of course. Dark colours, dark blues included, are sophisticated and modern at the same time. If you wear them you are probably a confident woman. Some prefer staying neutrals, and there is nothing wrong with it. But I would say nail polish is an accessory, like jewellery, so have fun with it.”
What’s the advantage to being an older women within the nail industry? “I will just say the more experience you have, the more knowledge you have, so people will maybe trust and listen to you more than a younger woman. Personally, I have found having a nail salon and being close to my clients has allowed me to understand better their needs and going healthy on your choice of product is the way forward.” Find Nailberry HERE.
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