Movers and Shakers | Nicola Soremekun | Founder | Manicure You London
Nicola Soremekun is the founder of, Manicure You London a luxury nail care and nail polish brand. Their polishes are toxin free, cruelty free and vegan friendly with a fashionable colour palette that is inclusive of all skin tones. with statement colours. She launched her business just over two years ago.
What drove you to start your own business?
From a very young age I have always loved to paint my nails. In 2015 I started a blog called ‘Nikki Nails’ where I documented my natural nail growth along with tips and tricks and swatches of nail polish colours from different brands.
I found that most of the brands I was using had products that contained many toxins and were not inclusive of all skin tones and I struggled to find shades of nudes that complimented my skin tone. Therefore, I created Manicure You (in 2018) a toxin free brand that is inclusive of all skin tones.
What was your career path prior to starting your business?
I am a Law Graduate and worked in different sectors of Law from Litigation to Immigration and Music Law.
Tell us about the business planning stage.
The business planning stage started about 18 months before the launch. I wrote a business plan using templates I had found online to finalise my thoughts and ideas. Most of the planning consisted of a vast amount of research for finding the perfect bottle, brushes and caps for my product and testing many items from different suppliers to ensure the products were in line with my values. This was a lengthy but very important process of starting the business.
How far ahead do you plan and what keeps you on track and motivated?
I plan about 6 months ahead. For example, I am now creating mood boards and researching colour trends for autumn/winter 2021 nail polishes and planning new product releases and gift sets for Christmas. Planning really helps to relieve the pressure. I write weekly and monthly to do lists and goals and it is this that keeps me on track and motivated.
Can you describe a typical working day?
I am a mother to a toddler who is nearly 3 years old, who I care for on most days, so working on my business really begins in the evenings once she is in bed. I begin by fulfilling any orders that may have come in. I hold some stock, but some orders may require me to make a new shade in batches.
All polish is made and poured by hand, so with the help of my husband, we will make the polishes that are needed for the orders. I will then package the orders ready for shipment the next day. I will then do some admin whether this be updating the website, replying to emails, or ordering stock and then my day is always finished with a little engagement on social media, interacting with other users and planning content for the week.
What has been your scariest moment?
A few years ago, I posted 4 pictures to my Instagram account within the space of 5 minutes. Instagram thought I was a spam account and blocked my business account. I was unable to access my account for 3-4 months. After months of trying to contact Instagram and prove my business account was not a spam account, my page was reinstated.
This was very scary for me as my business was solely online, I was unable to sell or promote any products, I was out of business for months. Not having a subscriber list meant that I was unable to reach out to my customers and followers to notify them of what had happened. This was a big lesson for me to set up a subscriber list asap.
How do you work on making your business grow?
This is a daily task which involves constant networking, creating a community with my followers and customers and developing my product to ensure we are always offering the best and more. As a small growing business, it is important to market to new customers. I work on this by carrying out tasks such as running social media campaigns, improving my SEO and website content, and engaging in regular PR.
Customer reviews and feedback are very important and valuable to the business as it reinforces the product quality and helps attract potential customers.
What is the best thing about being your own boss?
Time management – not being confined to normal working hours gives me the flexibility to work how and when I want and to prioritise family life.
What are the challenges of working for yourself and how do you tackle them?
Working for myself requires me to wear many hats in the business. As I am a small business and I do not yet have a team, I am required to handle all roles such as marketing, PR, packaging and shipping, photographer, hand model and many more. I tackle this by planning well ahead of time to ensure I can cover all the jobs in hand.
Who do you admire or look to for inspiration as a business owner?
I am inspired by Sharmadean Reid MBE, she is a British Jamaican entrepreneur. She is the founder of WAH Nails (now closed) and Beautystack. She is an advocate for women’s empowerment. I have followed Sharmadean’s journey from the very start and admire how she has built her beauty business empire. She is a true gem to the beauty industry.
What piece of advice has had the most impact on your business? And who was it from?
I had a consultation with Camille Johnson, a Product-Based Business Expert who really made me investigate what was going on behind my business. I’m a very creative person, so making colours, naming the colours, website design etc. is the most interesting part of the business for me; I needed to look into how the business works and what drives more sales.
Camille gave me great advice which involved; analysing my analytics to see how and when customers shop, making my website more user friendly to drive more sales and evaluating cost prices. This has made a big impact on Manicure You London.
What are the three books, websites or resources (professional or personal) that you would recommend to other business owners?
Book – Hype Yourself: A No-nonsense PR Toolkit for Small Businesses by Lucy Werner
Website – gov.uk this website is great for the beginning stages of a business. I used this for financial advice and admin advice such as registering and filing for my company.
Social Media – @phoebeparke on Instagram. Phoebe is the Social Media Editor at Grazia UK and her page shows you how to be good with Instagram. It is filled with amazing tips and tricks for your content. I learn something new every day from her posts.
What other passions do you have away from your business? How do you relax?
I love to read. It is what I do to relax, and it provides great escapism. I love all genres but mostly love a good psychological thriller. I have a book blog where I post weekly book reviews with ratings.
Connect with Nicola: Instagram: @manicureyoulondon | Facebook: Manicure You