When’s the last time you went into a nail salon and got excited? Having to get your Shellac removed, or going in for a monthly manicure seemed like such a chore. Well, thanks to the queen of nail art and founder of chic polish brand WAH London, Sharmadean Reid, that’s all about to change…
Last weekend saw the grand opening of her flagship salon, WAH Soho, which promises a whole new experience for those seeking great nails. Her new salon boasts two floors, but most excitingly, her new idea that’s never been seen before. The Virtual Reality Nail Designer allows her customers to digitally design and trial nail designs, as well as share them on Instagram (and what could be more insta-worthy than that?!) Days of umm-ing and aah-ing over what polish to get? Be gone!
The chic salon is decked out with 6 manicure chairs, 3 pedi chairs and a cocktail bar (because who doesn’t like a Sex on the Beach with a mani?!) as well as phone charging stations on the nail bar, built-in gel lamps, TV screens and wireless headsets! If this isn’t the most 21st Century salon, we don’t know what is.
We spoke to Sharmadean to find out more about WAH Soho, what she predicts for the future of nails, and more…
What was the concept behind this store and what makes it different to others?
To create a digital space IRL [in real life]. To merge beauty and tech and build a salon like no one has ever seen before…
Are most of your customers coming to you for a classic manicure or are they still crazy about nail art?
Gel is our most popular service, and will be for a long time, and also people are going crazy for chrome. People still want something different!
Can you tell us more about what your new salon has to offer?
The biggest thing is our Virtual Reality Nail Designer. It lets you try some of our most famed nail designs in real time and customise the colours, so if you then want to do a DIY job at home you can buy the shades, or get them painted downstairs at the nail bar. We also have an Art Pro Nail Printer to print them onto the nail! Sick, right?
Can you tell us about the brands you picked for the store, and why you chose them?
All the brands are female founded and independent. I’ve met a lot of amazing women in beauty on this WAH journey and I am happy to be able to support them! It’s so important to me that they’re being supported as well as my own brand.
You studied at Central St. Martins which is known for its creative alumni – has that had much of an influence on your brand and design of the salon?
My fashion career has completely influenced the salon! When you travel as a stylist, you get accustomed to incredible hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. All these great locations allow me to bring that global sensibility to this London salon.
There’s no other salon with a Virtual Reality Nail Designer, it’s such a cool addition – how did you develop this and where did you come up with the idea?
I worked with Kim Boutin at DVTK to develop it. It came from a genuine problem in the salon - I didn’t have the time or resources before to create such technical designs quickly. We said it could never be gimmicky, but should help girls visualise their nail designs with different colours.
Why did you pick Soho for the flagship store? Do you think you’ll attract a whole host of new customers as well as your loyal ones?
Soho is my home, it's where I studied at Central St. Martins, it's where I got my first jobs and it's where I used to go clubbing. I love the high and low vibe and the local community. It’s such a great place to be, and the heart of London and feel like it reflects what I stand for and what my brand stands for.
What’s the most extravagant nail art you’ve been asked for?
A strip scene on each nail. That was a detailed design to say the least!
What do you think is next in the world of nail art?
Metallics, colour shifting and more gel. I’ve also seen on Instagram recently all these tutorials on how to do chrome or mirror nails, and also holographic nails using powder! It’s amazing how social media is influencing beauty trends so much.
Who inspired you growing up?
Robin Givens in the film Boomerang.
Visit WAH Soho at 4 Peter Street, W1F 0AD, and for bookings email email@example.com