The Nail Industry And Covid-19

12/10/2020

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone in the beauty industry. I remember sitting there in shock the day Boris Johnson announced the country-wide lockdown and finding out that everything was closing. Knowing this would be my last day in work and not knowing the next time I’d be able to work again made me feel sick. In one day my entire world was taken away from me, and I felt like all of my hard work over the past three years was being destroyed. All nail and beauty salons across the UK shut down, not knowing when we’d next see our clients.

For those next few months, the beauty industry didn’t know where we stood. We’d never faced anything like this before, but we all pushed on and did everything we could to keep in contact with our clients. For me, lockdown pushed me to work as hard as I could and use the time wisely to work on my skills, improve my social media presence and work on raising the profile of my brand in the nail industry. 

To practice my skills and keep engaged with my clients, I began making my own custom press on nails. This meant I was still able to keep in touch with my clients, keep my business running and make people feel confident about themselves during lockdown. I reached out to my regular clients and asked if they would be interested, and I was fully booked up within a week. This shows how resilient the beauty industry is, as we all fought to find different ways of continuing to work during these times.

As well as this, I used the time to focus on improving my social media presence. I posted photos of my press on nails and I also attended various online workshops to learn so many new skills during these few months. This provided me with the time and some amazing photographs to post on my Instagram, which is when I began to take more of an interest in my profile. 

I’ve had my salon for three years, and when lockdown started in March I had 1500 followers on Instagram. I didn’t invest that much time into social media as I was lucky enough to be busy with my regular clients, so was never phased by needing followers and engagement online.

Since then, I have gained over 9,500 followers in seven months. Lockdown gave me the opportunity to grow my Instagram account and allow me to be seen by other nail technicians and industry leaders across the country, and I have had such amazing opportunities these past few months. I am now a brand ambassador for Nails.By Gel Polish and am on the PR list for NAFSTUFF!, a brand I have supported since the very beginning. My work has also been featured in articles worldwide, such as Bored Panda and Scratch Magazine. 

Although this was a huge positive for me during these times, one thing that was truly disheartening was the way the government treated the beauty industry. We were talked down upon, classified as non-essential and were always forgotten about during the updates. 

It made the entire community extremely angry and upset, but also made us uniquely unified together. 

We may not be essential to the UK government, but we deserved so much more support. We have spent years training to become beauty and nail technicians, worked extremely hard to gain a regular client base and struggled this year to even keep our businesses afloat. 

For many clients, we’re a support system. It’s often joked that we’re beauty technicians and counsellors all in one, and I truly believe this to be the case. As an advocate for mental health, I know that speaking to my clients daily has really helped me during dark times and I hope that I do the same to my clients. 

This year has been full of ups and (mostly) downs, but I think one thing that the entire nail and beauty industry will take from 2020 is the connection we’ve built across the country. We have united together to support each other, and this is something that can never be broken.

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Abi Markey

Abi Markey is from the Rhondda Valleys in South Wales and has owned her own nail salon called “Nailed It” for the past three years. She is a qualified nail technician and self-taught nail artist with eight years of experience in the industry. Abi says the best parts of her job are her clients and getting to try new and exciting techniques and designs on them.

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