This is my first nail blog after so many years in the business! So I'm very new to this, so feel free to comment on anything that I would need to improve on. I hope to be able to document most of my ideas and thoughts into this blog which can help fellow nail enthusiasts like myself to keep up in this fast-paced society.
First of all, I will introduce myself. I'm Jaclyn, founder of Luxe Women. Here's the long-winded story of how I started into this nail industry.
It was in 2001 when I finished my Diploma studies majoring in Fashion Design in Singapore. After that, I landed a job as a Fashion Merchandiser (not my major tho') at a large fashion company. It was the relaxed dress code there that made me get creative to looking unique (that's what we always try to do as a design student ya?) at work.
I'm not a fan of makeup, so clothes and nails are my next interests. So every weekend will be a "nail crazy" day when I spent hours experimenting with art on my own nails.
Learning about nail art during those times are NOT easy as we have limited access to learning on the internet (Facebook and YouTube weren't not even born yet!). I relied on expensive Japanese magazines from Kinokuniya, watching how the nail salon people do it, and whatever information I can get my hands on.
Nail enhancement was not very popular as the only extensions most nail salons offer are the full plastic tips kind that they just glue onto your nails which can drop off hours later - and they cost a bomb!
As for nail arts, salons mostly use those squeeze tube art pens to draw them or simply use nail stickers which were thick and stiff that do not stick well on polished nails.
So back to learning on my own... I ended up being the "weird" girl in office having those fancy nails every Monday. Soon, most of my colleagues are actually looking forward to Mondays, guessing what will my nails would be like for the week. I killed the Monday Blues at work. Hah!!!
In 2004, I went to the nail salon for the FIRST time to get my wedding nails done. I remembered it was in Toa Payoh Central.
Nail spas were huge back then (probably not many knows how to do nail arts). I did a nail spa (don't even remember what was done to me then), and full set of nail extensions (yup, full fake nail tips only) and simple French with nail design done over them. I can remember that one of the fake nail dropped off while I was wearing my gown. I panicked to find something to paste it back and ended up using double sided tape. But it dropped off again and lost itself - for good.
After my session at the nail salon, I started to look at nails differently. I had observed how the manicurist had cleaned my nails and I was practising how to do it myself. Wow... save some money on that then.
Jumping to one of my life-changing milestone in 2007...
I had my first baby boy, Nathan. My company decided to close down their Singapore office and move operations to merge with their Hong Kong office. There was a major restructuring at the office. We were offered a choice to move with them or take the retrenchment package.
Seeing my only 6-month-old baby then, I could not bear the thought to leave him at home while I travel to overseas to work, coming home about 3-4 times a year to see him. It would be selfish of me to do that. So I took the retrenchment package. If you are thinking about the huge retrenchment benefit I got, oh... so wrong! I actually left the company for 2 years and only return back to work about a few years prior to the retrenchment. So they only consider those later few years of employment for my retrenchment package.
Being me, I never plan for my life most of the time. Just go wherever life brings me. So when the retrenchment came, I felt so lost. No more job, no more income... what's next?
My husband, Daniel was very supportive. He encouraged me to take up a course and start a home-based salon while taking care of my little boy. So I started my course at The PinkRoom Academy and after graduating, start working from home. I was the FIRST home-based nail salon in Bukit Panjang then - I named it Sophistique Nails.
Home-base business is comfortable but has its pros & cons. I get to manage my own time for appointments and taking care of my active toddler. There is no overheads or rental to worry about. However, I have to allow strangers into my house quite often so caution is a must. I always inform my husband (if he is not at home) on my customer's details and I will leave the door open (gates locked of course) throughout the service.
Three years working as a freelancer did not gave me the satisfaction I was looking for. During this time I also started participating in nail competitions locally. Confidence came when I won first place in my first nail competition. Then I started to have the opportunity to participate in nail competition overseas too. But all these made me want to share my passion with more people, reach out to more customers so they can know how pretty nails can be.
So I decided to move up a step by starting my own nail salon in 2010. By then, I'm a mother of two lovely boys.
So Luxe Women was borne. Started at the heart of Ang Mo Kio. Within a year, the 2nd outlet at Upper Boon Keng. After that, Yishun & Sembawang.
Having a retail business is real hard work. Managing manpower, training and paperwork took a lot of effort for a new business owner like me. Good staff is hard to come by and yes, I learnt that being a landlord is the best. As the Chinese saying goes, 创业容易，守业难 (business startup is easy, sustaining it is difficult) - I learnt so much from having Luxe Women. It is just like having a baby.
Flying by the years of ups and downs, it had been almost 6 years of having Luxe Women. So much had changed in the years; economy, trends, customer behaviours, etc.
So to keep up with the times, Luxe Women recently got herself out from retail and back to freelance, focusing towards online services. Some of what we do now will be 24/7 concierge nail services, corporate events and of course, specialized education in nails.
Luxe Women also sponsored a non-profit event, The Touch Pageant, an inaugural global online poster nail competition. You may find out more about this event at www.thetouchpageant.com
I hope that Luxe Women will grow stronger in the nail industry and help create a more exciting platform for all nail enthusiasts.