#wahSELFLOVE challenge

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#wahSELFLOVE challenge

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!

It's the final day of the #wahSELFLOVE challenge, but as our gift to you we have put all of the challenges together here. Print it off, stick it on your wall and come back to it whenever you're feeling low. Self love is something that something that builds up over time, but by practicing small acts every day, you'll be become more confident, empowered and positive!

Never be afraid to ask for help if you need it and LOVE YOURSELF because you are MAGIC! 

xxx

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week in salon top ten

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week in salon top ten

A run down of our ten most popular looks from the salon this week.

TRENDING THIS WEEK - DETAILED NAIL ART, CHROME AND CHROME FADE

To book an appointment at WAH SOHO click here!

TEN - PURPLE CAMO BY WAH GIRL MIAKI

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NINE - POP ART BY WAH GIRL ANOUSKA

EIGHT - PURPLE MARBLE BY WAH GIRL MIAKI

SEVEN - HOLO AND CRYSTALS BY WAH GIRL ANOUSKA

SIX - NEGATIVE SPACE STARS BY WAH GIRL MIAKI

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FIVE - BLUE CHROME AND ACRYLICS BY WAH GIRL IZZY

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FOUR - COMME DES GARÇONS HEARTS BY WAH GIRL JESS

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THREE - ROSE QUARTZ WITH GOLD LEAF BY WAH GIRL MIAKI

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TWO - UNICORN DREAMS BY WAH GIRL ANOUSKA

ONE - CHROME FADE BY WAH GIRL ANOUSKA

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wah qts - maggie and rene matic

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wah qts - maggie and rene matic

Watch the video interview HERE

"I'm Rene"

"And I'm Maggie"

"And we're wife and wife"

"I had a crush on her for ages. I remember screenshotting when she followed me and sending it to my girlfriend at the time like ‘OMG Maggie is following me"

“We just realised we had so much in common”

“Seven months after we met we just kind of decided over text that we were going to get married. It sounds crazy, but it honestly just felt like the easiest thing ever”

“We did face quite a bit of negativity, people felt the need to check that we were in our right minds. Ultimately it all comes back to the fact that people really don't trust young women to make decisions for themselves”

“People always say your wedding day is the best day of your life, and I was always like, 'is it though'? But it actually was – it was perfect. It gave everyone an insight into our relationship for the first time. Everyone’s concerns just melted away and they were like ‘Oh okay, I get it”

“In a world where you’re constantly delegitimised, actually taking a step like getting married is like a coping strategy, it’s what we felt like we had to do to be like ‘yes this is real, it’s very serious and we’re crazy in love”

"The advice I’d give to young girls is just fuck it up...and fall in love with everything - because it will love you back"

 

Credits

Featuring Maggie and Rene Matic

Images, gifs and video by Kiran Gidda and Mamamanvz, House of eM-Kay

Art Direction/Production by Ellen Ormerod

 

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tutorial - valentines day heart hack

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tutorial - valentines day heart hack

If you can't make it to WAH SOHO for Valentines this year, treat yourself to a DIY nail art mani with this super easy heart hack! Watch the video above or follow the step by step instructions below.

After your basecoat, apply two coat of your base colour, we've used WAH GYAL DEM, a sugary pink polish with a slight gold shimmer. 

Using a nail art pen of your choice (we went for a classic Valentine's red), place two dots of polish  onto the nail - this will form the top of your heart.

Using your nail art pen, connect the two dots, drawing down through the middle to create a V shape. Neaten up if you need to and voila! You've drawn a heart!

Continue this process, adding as many hearts as you'd like and playing around with different colours! If you can, add some half-hearts around the edge of the nail, to make the print look more effective.

Finally, apply a layer of your favourite topcoat for that extra glossy finish!

Ta-da! Super quick and easy!

xxx

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valentines day nail art inspo

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valentines day nail art inspo

Valentine's Day is a week away so we are serving you a whole dose of inspiration for your upcoming appointment or DIY mani! From Comme des Garçons hearts which have been HUGE in the salon this year, to our #wahSELFLOVE campaign, which is all about putting YOU first this Valentines.

We're opening this SUNDAY 12-6pm especially for you before Valentine's Day! Click here to book!

Which look would you go for?

xxx

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week in salon top ten

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week in salon top ten

Happy New Year, wah girls! Every week we'll be counting down our 10 best looks from #WAHSOHO to give you allllll kinds of inspo for your visit or DIY manis.

TRENDING THIS WEEK - FOILS, HOLO AND CHROME

To book an appointment at #WAHSOHO or our Missguided Westfield Stratford pop up, click here!

TEN - CHROME AND MARBLE BY WAH GIRL MIAKI

NINE - NUDE, GLITTER AND FOILS BY WAH GIRL SADIE

EIGHT - GLOSSY RED GELS BY WAH BABE IZZY

SEVEN - CHROME OVER BURGUNDY BY WAH GIRL MIAKI

SIX - HOLO CHROME BY WAH GIRL IZZY FOR MABEL MCVEY

FIVE - GREEN FOILS BY WAH GIRL IZZY FOR ELENA ORA

FOUR - GLITTER FADE BY WAH BABE MIAKI

THREE - INTRICATE FLORALS BY WAH GIRL MADDY AT OUR MISSGUIDED POP-UP

TWO - NUDE AND GOLD FOIL BY WAH GIRL ANOUSKA

ONE - RAINBOW FOILS BY WAH GIRL ANOUSKA

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2017 is your time to SHINE

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2017 is your time to SHINE

We want you to SPARKLE in 2017 baby girl, so every appointment in January gets FREE SWAROVSKI CRYSTALS with their treatment. To get you inspired for your visit, we're serving you a whole load of looks from a simple touch of bling to extra EXTRANESS. 

Book your January appointment here! Because we all need a bit of crystal healing 💎🙋🏼💎

xoxo

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hacks for applying crystals

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hacks for applying crystals

2017 is your time to SHINE, wah girls, so this January we're all about that bling bling 💁🏾💎 Every appointment in January gets free swarovski crystals on their mani, but if you can't make it into the salon, here are our hacks for applying crystals at home!

You will need:

WAH HOLO POT (shop here and in-store at #WAHSOHO)
CLASSYGLASSYGLOSSY topcoat (shop here)
Nail glue
A waxy crayon
WAH CUTICLE PUSHER (shop here)

HACK ONE

After applying your base colour (we've used THE TRILLEST), paint a layer of our CLASSYGLASSYGLOSSY topcoat onto your nail.

You can then apply a small amount of CLASSYGLASSYGLOSSY to your application tool, to make it easier to pick up the crystals. Apply the swarovski crystals straight onto the nail, the layer of topcoat will keep them in place!

 

HACK TWO

After applying your base coat and topcoat, apply dots of nail glue where you want the crystals to sit.

Use a waxy pencil to pick up the crystals to apply to the nail! No fiddly tweezers needed!

Whether you want to go all out EXTRA or keep it classy, tag us in your pics on insta so we can see your work! Go get your GLOW on, girls!

xoxox

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wah powerlunch - raising investment

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wah powerlunch - raising investment

Last month’s Powerlunch was all about raising investment for your business – finding the right type of investor, putting a valuation on your company and nailing your pitch. Although most Powerlunches have focused on beauty businesses, this knowledge can be applied to a business of any sector on their path to raising investment. Fundraising can often feel like a difficult step, but our panel of experts have broken it down and explained everything you need to know, with some tips and advice along the way! Ready? Let’s get our #girlboss on…

Meet the panel… 

Michelle Lu & Georgina Harding left their jobs working for Mario Testino to launch Semaine in 2015, an online magazine-meets-concept store that allows readers to shop the lifestyles of various tastemakers, from Gia Coppola to Isamaya Ffrench. They have been raising investment for their company since day one and are on hand to advise all of our baby businesses!

Vanessa Gstettenbauer is the Senior Investment Manager at Founders Factory. As part of her job, Vanessa works closely with startups in the accelerator and incubator programs on strategy, business models and fundraising. In our Powerlunch, she was able to provide the perspective of an investor, giving advice on how best to impress!

Emily Forbes founded her video collaboration app Seenit as a way of turning smartphone users into a film crew. Seenit allows brands such as Adidas and The Body Shop to contact their chosen audiences around the world and collect their video footage, taking user-generated content to the next level. When the company needed investment, Emily joined an accelerator program and throughout the Powerlunch, tells her fundraising story.

So, WAH girls, you’ve got an amazing business idea! You’ve saved a bit of money yourself, but you need some extra funds to start turning your vision into a reality. What different kinds of funding are available for a start-up? Who should you turn to first?

“To begin with, asking friends and family is your first port of call, and then angels,” says Vanessa. “An angel is usually an investor who is very much invested in the story or dream of the company. Angels can get tax breaks on their investments, so they have an incentive to invest.”

“It tends to be a small investment (less than a million) and it tends to be from high-worth individuals,” Sharmadean adds. “Angels tend to be people who are rich from family money; rich because they had a company themselves and sold it and just want to help young entrepreneurs; or rich because they’re still operational in business and they just have spare cash. You do it because you want to support people, but also, you get really good tax breaks as an angel when the company is registered for SEIS.”

REGISTER FOR SEIS
“You all need to register for SEIS, which is a government programme that means anyone who puts money into your company will get a really good tax break on the first £150k you’re raising for SEIS. Anything over the first £150k they’ll get a 30% tax break, and for the first £150k they’ll get 50%. Angel investors will ask if you’re registered for SEIS and you should say YES, it makes you so much more attractive to investors. As long as you apply you can say you’re doing it and the application process takes around 6 weeks.”

But these aren’t your only options, as Sharmadean points out. There are many ways of raising investment, and some to be wary of.

“There’s incubator and accelerator programs and then there’s a third type of investor - the kind who is rich and just wants to own a business and show off to his friends. Imagine your business is a restaurant and every week he wants a free reservation to show off to his buddies. All of these things will happen, I’ve seen it and it’s not attractive, so be aware of that.”

Michelle and Georgina had experience with angels whilst fundraising for their business Semaine, so how did they find it? And what advice would they give?

“When we first decided to start our business we tried to speak to as many people as possible, because you never know, you could call them in three years’ time and they could become your investor,” says Michelle. “After lots of phone calls and meetings, we found our first angel investor, who really believed in us and the business. That angel funded us for the first few months and really helped us get to the next stage. We ended up finding seven investors who all believed in the vision of the brand.”

But finding those investors wasn’t just plain sailing, as Georgina explains.

“Something that was hard to stomach at the beginning was getting so excited and pitching so hard, just to be torn apart,” she says. “At the beginning it was soul destroying, but you need to get over that and use it as ammunition. Not everyone is right, but you have to be so open and take on board what everyone says.”

So, in the early stages of raising investment, try talking to as many people as possible about your business. Ask questions and ask for advice – as Emily advises, this often works better than simply asking for money.

“Someone once said to me, if you ask for money you’ll get advice and if you ask for advice you’ll get money,” she says. “I think that’s a really great way to walk into a meeting. It’s great to start these conversations early, before you need money, so that when you need an investment, they already know about you and your story.”

Starting these conversations early and getting a head start will only benefit you in future, as Sharmadean points out.

“It’s important to accept that you’ll have to meet a lot of people before you get investment. Even some of the most successful companies had to meet over 200 investors before getting a cheque.”

So there’s family and friends, and then angel investors, but what about accelerator and incubator programs? What’s the difference and how do you know if they’re right for your business? Luckily for us, Vanessa and Sharmadean are on hand to explain.

“Incubator for us can be taking people in who haven’t started anything yet, pairing them up with a co-founder and starting a company in the incubator,” says Vanessa, describing the process at Founders Factory. “Accelerator programs are more the full on - equity stakes are taken and we launch a sixth month program with a huge team and there’s constant support. Another great thing with accelerator is that you’re with all these other teams that are doing the same program, going through the same struggles, it’s like a co-working space.”

“Accelerator and incubator programmes tend to run for three to six months,” adds Sharmadean. “A lot of accelerators are backed by land securities, it’s all a big strategy on behalf of corporation. If you think about Barclays, they want to hear about any new technologies in finance, so how are they going to do that? By funding start-ups and giving them the space. You tend to be under a 3-6 month program and they tend to give you an office space, where you’ll be sat next to other start-ups working furiously on your product. At the end of the three months you’ll usually present to all of the partners and the investors in that accelerator.”

Emily took the accelerator route and tells her story.

“The accelerator I pitched to specialise in B to B in the marketing and advertising space. You should do your research and find the one that suits you, because so many specialise. The one I found was perfect and it was worth the equity I had to give away in exchange for funding. You probably give more equity away than you would with angels, but that’s because you get the additional support around you and you can ask the questions you are too embarrassed to ask someone else,” she explains. “Accelerator programmes also have amazing networks, so they can keep you going and open those doors. They can be great if you don’t know where to start.”

If you are just starting to think about investment, finding the program that’s right for you begins with research, as Vanessa is keen to stress.

“It’s so important to research the different types of investment first to decide which is right for you and determine the quality of the program,” she advises. “Read blog posts and talk to people who have done the program already and find out how valuable it was for them. Also, look at their networks and corporate partnerships to see how valuable these will be for your business. If you’re running a beauty business and one of the investment programs has a relationship with L’Oreal, that could be very beneficial and eliminates some of your risk early on.”

Research is key to choosing your investors. Do your due diligence on the program or angel in the same way that they will do theirs on you.

“You should be interviewing your investors, because you don’t necessarily know if they’re going to give you any support. As with researching accelerators, you should look through their portfolio and be able to ask them who else they have invested in and get their contact details,” says Sharmadean.

Choosing an investor is about far more than just money, as Georgina points out, you need someone you can work with in the long-run.  

“Having an investor is a two-way street, you’re obsessed with getting them to like you and believe in you, but you’re letting people into your family,” she says. “You need to know that you can grow with them. You need to make sure you understand the mentality of why they’re investing in you. Do they believe in your business or do they just like you and want to throw you a bit of cash?”

Whilst you don’t want people investing in your business for the wrong reasons, Vanessa is quick to point out that having a range of investors, with different levels of involvement, can end up working best for your business.

“There are very much two different types of investor, number one is the value-add investor who has experience in investing and experience in the industry you’re breaking in to. The second type of investor is an SEIS investor that enjoys their tax breaks, they may have a lot of spare money that they want to spend and invest. These investors are often quite silent. It can be better to have a mixture of value-add investors and then those who just have money, otherwise you risk having too many people trying to give you advice and give their input,” she explains.

So, you’ve done your research and you’ve decided which type of investor is right for your business. Now you need to prepare your pitch and make sure you’ve got the right valuation. But how do you set this? How do you go about valuing your own company?

“There are many ways to go about valuing your company,” says Michelle. “When you’re pre-launch and you don’t even have a product or any revenue, it can be difficult. The best advice we were given was to figure out how comfortable you are at a certain threshold; how much are you willing to give away? I think that was useful for us, because we would go into a meeting and know what our breaking point was.”

“One thing that we did was look at our competition,” adds Georgina. “Who is doing something similar and how are they doing? We looked at everyone from Refinery29 to Vice to Farfetch to understand the value of our company and see future revenue paths for us. You can map out 16 different ways you can grow to reach a certain valuation and plan your evolution. You can use your comparables as examples for understanding opportunities and showing investors your value.”

Looking at the market and your competition is key to setting your valuation, as Vanessa and Emily agree.

“An investor wants to know that you understand what your market looks like, how much money it makes and what percentage of that you forecast to make in three or five years’ time,” explains Vanessa. “Often the market sets the price. Valuation is psychology, it’s often about what people perceive your value to be.”

“Another thing I learnt is that a high valuation doesn’t mean you’ve nailed it,” adds Emily. “You want to be seen to be doubling in value every time you raise investment, so if you start too high, you can really shoot yourself in the foot. You also have to be really confident talking about your valuation. If you’re nervous to say it out loud, it probably isn’t right.

With your valuation all set, you’re ready to start meeting with investors and pitching your business! So, what are the dos and don’ts when meeting investors?

“The best meetings start by asking your investor to imagine a scenario 5 or 10 years into the future,” says Vanessa. “Sell them the dream and future vision of your product, asking them to visualise it is a great way to start a meeting. I want to see that you have a plan and that you understand your numbers. I refuse to do anything until I have a metrics sheet. Having a founder that relies on others to explain how decisions will affect their finance and business model is a recipe for failure, you need to understand your own numbers.”

Vanessa speaks from experience, at Founders Factory she works closely with start-ups on fundraising and has heard countless pitches – so what makes a bad one?

“An investor has around 3.5 seconds to judge a pitch, I hope they’d pay more attention but that’s the essence of it,” she says. “The most important thing is that in the first lines of what you send, you convey your story and what you are doing. The worst pitches are the ones I read and am still like ‘huh?’ because I can’t work out what your product is or what you’re doing. It’s best to explain your product, then your story and then talk about your team – that’s what I’m most interested in.”

So, you've been going to loads of meetings and pitching hard to investors! But as a start-up, what do you do if an investor wants to change your ideas?

Sharmadean faced this issue when raising investment for WAH, as investors gave their two cents on how the business should change in the future.

“When I first started raising investment, I found myself becoming a chameleon,” she says. “At each meeting I would change myself to what that investor might want. I had to take a step back and stop, because I needed to figure out what my mission and true North was. I literally found myself being moulded every time, but you have to hold your ground. Having said that, it’s important to have an understanding of why you’re going to say no. If you aren’t willing to compromise part of your business, you must have a valid reason for it, otherwise you just sound like a brat.”

That valid reason can be as simple as knowing what makes your company special and sets it apart from the competition, adds Georgina.

“It’s important to know that you aren’t a company for everyone,” she explains. “It’s okay to put a marker in the sand and say what you stand for, whether people like it or not. In every sector there is so much competition, you need to give people a reason to believe in your vision, and if you’re going to be swayed as the founder, then your investor will be swayed and so will your customers. If you don’t believe 100% in what you’re doing, how can you expect anyone else to?”

Wish you could’ve attended and watched the whole thing? Don’t worry WAH girls, if you missed it, you can visit our Facebook page to view the live stream here!

Also, thanks to our amazing sponsors Baileys for making this Powerlunch possible!

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meet wah girl kayleigh!

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meet wah girl kayleigh!

Our social media content creator, nail artist and ultimate WAH QT Kayleigh Jean talks about landing her dream job through Instagram, finding inspiration and Kimoji nails…

“All I was doing was painting my nails at home, and now I’m doing my dream job!” gushes Kayleigh Jean, WAH’s social media content creator, best known for her ultra-girly unicorn nails and insanely detailed nail art.

Just a few months ago, Kayleigh was working in retail full-time, struggling to find an outlet for her creativity. After graduating from a Fashion Design course at university, she’d found it difficult to find her place in industry.

“When I left university I did a few freelance jobs, some of my illustration work was published in a book but it just wasn’t turning into a job. I started working at Zara just to pay the bills, it isn’t my dream career and I have to wear a plain black uniform, so I was really missing that creativity I had at uni. My creative outlet became painting my nails, because that was all I was really able to do. It quickly went from a French tip to polka dots, and then I discovered WAH and realised you could literally paint anything on your nails, so I took it to the next level,” she said.

Taking it to the next level might just be an understatement. This WAH baby began creating miniature masterpieces on her mani; taking inspiration from pop culture, trends and intricate prints, her work quickly saw her gaining the attention of big brands.  

“I was posting on Instagram and on my blog and got loads of amazing feedback, I did some work for Primark and So..? fragrances, all because they’d seen my work online. I was constantly posting nail art and using WAH products, I absolutely loved the brand. Sharma invited me down for a masterclass for all the WAH babies and shortly afterwards a job came up. I commented saying ‘Oo I’d love to! Dream job!’ and that was that! Here I am!”

Now our dream girl is creating fresh content for WAH every week, from brand collabs to topical talons, she’s constantly coming up with new ideas.

“I always love to do a lot of colour and a lot of detail, my favourite design is probably Aztec prints,” she said. “I get a lot of inspiration from other nail artists and celebrities, but mainly just what’s around me – what’s on the catwalk, what’s outside, colours, patterns, etc. I find inspiration everywhere and anywhere.”

Having only been with WAH for a matter of months, it’s clear this qt is totally nailing it right now - we can't wait to see what more she's capable of! On the road to #wahWORLDWIDEDOMINATION, whose nails is she dying to paint?

“My dream client would be someone like Kim Kardashian, she never has anything interesting on her nails! It’d be cool to do something really out there with loads of colour, maybe I could give her some Kimoji nails…”

Follow Kayleigh on Instagram here! For an appointment at our Dalston salon, just click here!

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wah power lunch - beauty distribution

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wah power lunch - beauty distribution

This month’s WAH Power Lunch was all about distribution. You’ve built your product, but what's next? How do you plan your strategy and when do you know it’s time to outsource? Well, we’ve got all you need to know, wah girls! Whether you’re working with a physical or digital product, this Power Lunch has everything you need to know.

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Meet the panel…

Sisters Hannah and Sophie Pycroft founded beauty start-up Spectrum Collections in 2014. They have only recently begun outsourcing their distribution and were on hand to give advice to all of our baby businesses!

Perri Lewis is the co-founder and director of MasteredHQ, a talent company for creatives launched in 2014 that provides courses and programs taught by some of the industry’s most respected professionals. Perri added a fresh dimension to the panel with her experience in reaching an audience with a digital product.

Sarah works for KeepMe Group, a warehouse and fulfillment company that take care of the international distribution for WAH London, as well as many other brands. Sarah added a different perspective to the panel, explaining the nuts and bolts of distribution and advising us on what makes the perfect client.

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Girlbosses! You’ve set up your business and your product is on the market! When do you decide to make the leap and outsource your distribution?

All start-ups have been there, distributing products themselves. You wake up to a house overflowing with products that you package through the night in your kitchen, before putting it all into bags4life and hauling it to the Post Office after breakfast. Pack, post, repeat.

“It gets to the point where it all just gets too stressful and you need to pay someone else to do it,” Sharmadean says.

Hannah and Sophie had the same problem, their at-home distribution system was taking over their lives (and other aspects of their business!).

“We distributed our Christmas orders ourselves and we had to stop people ordering because we just couldn’t keep up with demand. We literally waited until we were on death’s door before finding a distributor, we were losing money and it was becoming a detriment to the business. It was a big step for us, but it really helped us grow. When we outsourced our distribution, we had so much more time for marketing and developing new products.”

So like Sophie and Hannah, you’ve decided you need to outsource, but how do you find a distributor and make sure you’ve got the best one?

“We found KeepMe Group through a recommendation and the big draw for me was that they were already distributing a nail product, because nail products have such a specific packing and hazards process. It’s definitely a plus if you can find a distributor that works with a similar product to yours, because you know they can deliver,” says Sharmadean.

But if you don’t have any girlboss friends to offer recommendations, there’s always the Internet! With their start-up business booming, that’s exactly what Hannah and Sophie did.

“We just started looking on Google to be honest! Sometimes that’s just the best place to start. Then we just use Shopify as our sales channel.” 

When you’ve found your perfect distributor, make sure you factor in cost…

“One of the things that I didn’t really know about distribution was that when you’re calculating your profit margin, you need to add all of those costs in as an overall for each product,” Sharmadean explains. “So say a nail polish costs you £1, you don’t realize that you have to factor in the cost of the warehouse, the carriage and the pick and pack before you know your true price of your product.”

So, you’ve found your distributor and factored all necessary costs into your business plan (woohoo! 10 wahgirl points for you!). Your product is a huge hit and you’re being approached with offers from other retailers to sell your product. But how do you know if this is a good move? How do you choose between stocking in Topshop or Urban Outfitters?

Sophie and Hannah learnt the hard way, when their collaborations with big retailers didn’t go as well as they’d planned.

 “We’ve had Asda, Argos and Not on the High Street approach us and ask to wholesale the products. We tried Not on the High Street but that just didn’t work for us. We had to create an exclusive, personalized product for them which cost us a lot of money, and the website just didn’t suit our customer base. Also, we were still managing distribution ourselves which made it more complex, because we then had two sales channels to manage.”

Despite their deal with Not On the Highstreet falling short of expectation, Hannah and Sophie thought their luck had changed when Selfridges got in touch.

“Selfridges approached us for their pop-up summer shop. I think people automatically assume big companies make big orders, but Selfridges placed a small order and then sent back 30 that they didn’t sell. We put them online and they sold within 3 minutes. So we knew that wasn’t working for us either.”

“This is why direct to consumer is so important,” Sharmadean adds. “It’s so important to know your customer, your girls are on Instagram, not shopping in Selfridges. You have to know your customer inside out, their hopes, dreams, hobbies, everything about them. Only then can you start making decisions about which retailers to stock in, because you’ll know where they would shop.” 

Knowing your customer is an essential part of your distribution strategy…

Sophie and Hannah made the mistakes so you don’t have to, and Sharmadean was quick to offer her advice for start-ups facing the same dilemma.

“Try not to jump at every single opportunity you get because it might not be right for your brand. Knowing your customer profile is so essential, it allows you to have a framework for every single decision you make. The more information you have about your customer, the more you’re de-risking every aspect of your sales process. Direct sales for me are always a better investment than anything else, so if you’re trying to prioritize spending, build an amazing website and content before launching in someone else’s catalogue.”

Knowing your customer inside and out is VITAL for any business, whether your product is physical or digital. So far, we’ve spoken mostly about physical products, but If your product’s digital or you’re trying to build a digital platform, how do you make sure you’re reaching your audience?

 As the Director of a company offering a digital product, Perri offered her pearls of wisdom.

 “When we launch a new program, we first identify our target customer. We then try to simplify the program and distill the concept into one sentence so that anyone can understand what our product is and what it can do for you. The best way for us to recruit is with social media, using both organic growth and paid advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’ll find now that when things happen organically, through press releases or a review in a magazine, a brand will often post that on their social media pages and put some money behind it so that people actually see their positive press.”

“If you’re building something and you don’t have a marketing budget, it’s kind of pointless,” Sharmadean adds. “How can you expect anyone to know about your product if you aren’t pushing it out there?”

So, you’ve had a super successful marketing campaign and your product is HOT HOT HOT! You’re getting requests to go international, but what’s the best strategy?

Working for an international distributor, Sarah has seen countless brands on their route to global domination.

“The first step once you’re established in the UK is to go to Europe and you tend to then go to America when your brand is big enough,” Sarah explains. “China seems to be a growing market. Asian customers are very interested in getting British products that they can’t get elsewhere, so it’s definitely worth looking into if you have an unusual product. Territories do vary from product to product though, we deal with a luxury perfume brand that do 75% of their sales to the UAE, but our nail brands don’t deal with that part of the world much at all.”

If you’re selling your product online, there’s no reason not to be an international brand from the start.

“If you have a dry product you can ship it anywhere in the world. If the extra cost is no problem for the customer, which it often isn’t if you’re a cool brand, you should be global online from day one,” says Sharmadean.

Sophie and Hannah offer worldwide shipping of their product and are finding their international orders make up a sizeable amount of their sales.

“What we’re finding at the moment is that we have a large customer base in America, but we have to charge them so much money for postage and we still make a loss on that. We’re now looking for more distribution options with companies that have more experience with international shipping.”  

It goes without saying that in business, it’s always best if you can avoid making a loss! But it can be difficult when you’re trying to keep your customers happy.

“One good piece of advice I was given when I wanted to charge more for a leopard print manicure was ‘if you charge £2 more no one will care’, so, if you charge full postage, people will still buy your product. When a product is so hot, it’s almost part of the kudos and the hype that you got it from London and had to pay extra for postage. Customers would rather have the option to pay more for it than not be able to get it at all.”

So there you have it! Our experts’ top tips and advice for beauty distribution and world domination!

Wish you could’ve attended and watched the whole thing? Don’t worry wah girls, if you missed it, you can visit our Facebook page to view the live stream here!

Also, thanks to our amazing sponsors Baileys, HER and Smashbox Studio Store One Fitzroy for making this Power Lunch possible!

 

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wah qt: lucie davis and her oyster card nails!

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wah qt: lucie davis and her oyster card nails!

It’s no secret that we love everything beauty tech at WAH, so when we found out that a future #GIRLBOSS had created nails that act as your Oyster card, allowing you to literally touch in and out on the go, we just had to find out more.

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Wah qt Lucie Davis has just finished her BA in jewellery design at Central Saint Martins. On her way home, she joins the hustle and bustle of London rush hour, joining the queue of commuters fumbling around for their Oyster cards and heading for the tube. But Lucie doesn’t reach into her bag or get flustered searching for her purse, she steps ahead, taps her acrylic nails onto the card reader and waltzes through. For her graduate project, this wah babe has created Oyster card nails, challenging convention with an ingenious piece of wearable tech.

“I took the RFID chip from an Oyster card and embedded it within a full set of acrylic nails to give commuters the ability to pay for their journeys with a single tap/touch,” she explains. “You can still top them up with money too. Now you’ll never have to worry about misplacing your card again!”

Lucie looked to innovate the everyday commute and encourage us to find wonder in even our most routine activities.

“I was hoping that this idea would make everyone’s next commute a little more thoughtful and enjoyable rather than our usual mindless ones,” she says. “I like to think of my work as a 21st century update to the traditional keepsake. It’s about finding a fresh new perspective on things, providing more meaning in a world we may take for granted and (hopefully) changing the way we think in a positive light.”

This wah babe quite literally has the world at her fingertips, as beauty and tech continue to merge and innovate our everyday interactions. We can’t wait to see how this project develops and we’ll be first in line for our metro manis!

“I hope to see it make its way into the street, the public sphere, the universe! I think the whole process of making it actually got me further questioning the world and allowed me to view it differently; imagining needs and products which may fashion the future.”

Lucie Davis is fashioning her own future and it looks super bright for this wah qt. After all, the world is her oyster.

Check out Lucie's instagram here!

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wah power lunch - building beauty tech

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wah power lunch - building beauty tech

Our panel (l-r) Kim Boutin, Gemma Bellman, Sharmadean Reid, Jenna Harris and Jamila Robertson

Our panel (l-r) Kim Boutin, Gemma Bellman, Sharmadean Reid, Jenna Harris and Jamila Robertson

Power Lunch - A gathering of co-workers or of mostly young male corporate douches (see yuppies) for a 3-hour lunch on the clock that includes such things as a motorcade of Lexus and BMW automobiles, motivational speakers, cheers, steak, and talk about something like the “bottom line” or bonuses or something. Supposedly a motivational event, but usually turns out to be a feast of gluttony and ruined neckties. Newly motivated and encouraged participants are expected to go back to the office and make phone calls and fire off emails and achieve results, but most usually end up at a local boozer and get tanked before happy hour even starts.
Gemma takes the mic to talk about how she founded her app Beauty Spotter.

Gemma takes the mic to talk about how she founded her app Beauty Spotter.

WAH has always been about getting cool, ambitious girls together under one roof to chat business, ideas and #goals. Power Lunches are held on different topics each month, from product development to building your business empire. Aspiring #girlbosses can learn from the best, with a panel of some of the most influential or up-and-coming players in the beauty business. This month we were talking beauty tech – how to build your own app and how to integrate tech into your business plan.

Our very own boss babe Sharmadean Reid hosted the talk, joined by four experts in creating beauty apps and digital content:

Gemma Bellman (@GemmaBellman @BeautySpotterUK) – Gemma quit her job in investment banking to build her app Beauty Spotter, an innovative way of discovering salons and stylists that allows you to view their previous work and reviews before booking. Genius!

Kim Boutin (@D_V_T_K) – Kim previously worked as Digital Art Director at Kenzo before setting up her own business, London-based creative studio DVTK. DVTK offer services in UI and 3D design – check out okgrl to really get a sense of how DREAMY their work is!

Jamila Robertson (@JamilaTSJ @Slappldn) – Jamila recently founded Slapp, a beauty app that allows users to find their ideal shade or make up product, no matter where they live. Slapp launches in September!

Jenna Harris (Metix app) –  Jenna also represents the up-and-coming #girlbosses, having founded Metix App in 2015. This beauty app allows you to buy products from MUA, celebrity or blogger uploads. No more “OMG where is that lipstick from? I NEEEEEDDD!”, you can just buy straight from the pic!

If you missed the May Power Lunch, you can still watch the whole event through Facebook by clicking here! Don't worry, we got your back girl! Below are some key quotes from the night to get your fix of beauty app business inspo!

“Apps aren’t essential for every business; you know your business model so don’t get swayed by what everyone else is doing” – Sharmadean Reid

“Be open to let your idea evolve to what the consumer wants, no matter how much you loved the original” – Jenna, Metix app

“Go through apps you have on your phone and look at the smallest details, use that to get ideas of what you do and don’t want” – Jamila, Slapp

“It’s so valuable to have a demo to show your target consumer so that you can get a feel for whether your idea works or not” – Gemma Bellman

“You can’t want these things and not put 100% into them, you need to be so focussed on your project” – Sharmadean Reid

WAH Power Lunches get down to the details you really want to know, with honest, real answers from those who have been there and done it themselves. All the questions you’ve always wanted to ask, from set-up costs to paying developers and creating water-tight business plans, will be answered! Don't be shy!!

 

We hold WAH Power Lunches every month and they’re 100% FREE to attend! Follow us on Instagram and Twitter to be the first to find out the deets on our June edition! Be there or be square girl!

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wah qt: lily vanilli

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wah qt: lily vanilli

The girlboss of the baking business, Lily Vanilli continues to rise.

From a working art deco clock made from gingerbread, to a bleeding heart made of red velvet cake, this is badass, bespoke baking at its finest. 

Lily Jones (aka Lily Vanilli) is an artisan baker and cake designer based in East London. Her bakery, just off Columbia Road, features a seasonal menu of sugary sweet treats and creates insane cake creations for the UK’s coolest brands.  

It all started in 2008, when Lily moved back to the UK after working as a graphic designer in Australia. She arrived back home just as the country was hit by the recession. Struggling to find work, she knew it was time to get creative.

“I'm a self taught baker so I started out experimenting at home, I think I just got the sense early on that there was something fulfilling to be found in the kitchen. What I really love about being self taught is that it means from the very start you take your education in your own direction - it means you immediately start developing your own style.”

It was Lily’s experimental style that whisked her straight into the spotlight. From a stall on Brick Lane, she started selling her home-made creations and it wasn’t long before she accumulated a fan base.  

“It happened really organically - I was selling a few cakes to friends and it became a press story - then I started getting orders. It was a while later that I realized I had a full time business on my hands and that I should start thinking about getting a proper kitchen.”

Starting from the bottom now she’s here, creating cakes for Alexander McQueen, House of Holland and Hello Kitty, just to name a few. “We never make the same cake twice, and it’s always the same level of stress and passion with each big commission because we’re always trying something new,” Lily says. “I really enjoyed making a sculpture cake for the V&A museum though - it was exhibited during the day and then cut up and eaten.”

Lily has been credited for bringing baking back, with creations that range from the kitsch to the gothic, from elegant floral designs to the wonderfully bizarre, she’s effortlessly blended cake with couture. 

The icing on top of the cake is that not only has she been dubbed the ‘Queen of Baked Goods’ and proved herself a successful business woman, but Lily is also working to inspire the next generation of foodies.

In 2012, Lily co-founded the Young British Foodie awards, inspiring others to get creative in the kitchen in the search for the country’s latest innovative talent. Her advice for other creatives is simple – find your own style and focus on improving your skills.  

“When you want to start a business, the tools for self promotion at the start are free, so spend time and money on developing a style that is uniquely yours. Before you start investing money into branding and marketing, focus on developing your skills and talent and when it comes to market, the difference will be clear.”

Lily’s latest project is the launch of a new patisserie range on the ground floor of Fortnum & Mason, where her sugary sweet treats will be available seven days a week for the first time ever. 

“I think its a really exciting fit, a coming together of classic, grand London and modern East London. It’s also the first time you can get my cakes and pastries without ordering ahead, so its going to change everything.”

The only way is up for this baking babe, set to taking over the world with flour power and cake couture. It’s official, Lily Vanilli is on the rise and the proof, is in the pudding.

Get a slice of the action at http://lilyvanilli.com/ 

By Ellen Atlanta

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flower power: lana elie is bringing fashion to floristry

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flower power: lana elie is bringing fashion to floristry

Not many people would risk leaving a high-level career in fashion to set up their own business, but Lana Elie has proven that the grass is greener on the other side, you just have to plant the seed.

With a career that started out at Burberry and led to roles with Marc Jacobs, Gucci and i-D, Lana worked at the forefront of creative and digital revolutions in the fashion industry, creating high profile campaigns that were seen by millions. But there was always something missing.

“Whilst I worked with some amazingly talented people the lack of opportunity to express my own pure creative vision became increasingly frustrating,” she says candidly.

Born in Paris and raised in Bali, Lana has always had a love for plants and flowers and thus Floom was created, a “passionately crafted, meticulously curated expression of my true love - offering the gift of flowers in all their natural glory”.

From Raf Simons’ walls of flowers at his début Dior show, to Alexander McQueen’s iconic fresh flower dress in S/S ’07, the rosy relationship between fashion and flowers has been forever blooming. It’s no surprise then that Lana wanted to nurture this relationship with Floom, a digital platform that delivers perfect posies right to your door.

Launched last month, Floom is bringing floristry to the forefront, and Lana's experience in the fashion industry is evident, as the company combines striking bouquets, stunning visuals and luxury craftsmanship in a stylish site of seasonal blooms. Florals for spring? Groundbreaking (but this time we actually mean it) -  floristry has never been so fashion.

“We focus on seasonal blooms and only work with local florists who we feel offer a premium product and a unique identity,” Lana explains, for her, this is a huge part of the project.

With Floom, Lana stresses her support for local businesses as well as her passion to help increase not only the appreciation of floristry as an art form, but the prosperity of the community.

“Provenance, heritage and craftsmanship all exist in the flower-world but they are currently so, so undervalued. We hope to change the perception people have, whilst also supporting these small-scale businesses and artisans who have devoted their lives to their craft.”

In setting up Floom, Lana is also devoting her life to the business, proving that she’s anything but a wallflower when it comes to making her dreams a reality. It can’t have been easy, but she isn’t looking back.

“Of course there have been moments where it all feels very scary, but these are always drowned out by a hundred more amazing moments as everything begins to come together. It’s all been much more liberating than it has been scary,” she says. "Ultimately, if you have a dream to do something, and you can’t imagine wanting to do anything else, then just go for it. It's surprising how much people want to help you when you're following your dream.”

That dream is now a reality, and although the service isn’t UK-wide as of yet, Lana hopes to expand fairly quickly.

“If all goes to plan you should be able to order our beautiful bouquets in a few major European cities by the end of the year.”

A Girl Boss that uses her business to combine flower power with girl power will always get us excited at WAH and we can’t wait to watch this one blossom.

Make sure you check out Floom's website here.

By Ellen Atlanta

 

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