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Mental health awareness: How the nail sector has saved me from my struggles

By Rebecca Hitchon | 09 May 2022 | Feature, Health & wellbeing

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Sheryl Cooper, owner of nail art supplier, Enchanted Essence, and home salon, Nails By Sheryl, opens up about how getting involved in the nail industry boosted her mental health and how she champions mental wellbeing in her businesses.

In 2016 I had my daughter, Isla, and within six months I was thrown back into a 50-hour a week job in an office. I couldn’t cope at home, feeling lonely, isolated and that I had completely lost myself. When Isla turned two, the effects from postnatal depression (PND) going undiagnosed for so long meant I had to give up my job and take Isla out of nursery.

In 2018, with the help of my husband, I booked my first gel polish course. I had always had an interest in nails but I never thought that I would be able to make a business from it. I had no confidence, but I took the course, just for me and to do the nails of friends and family.

When I had moments where I felt I couldn’t cope, I escaped to the shed in my garden to watch YouTube and practice nail designs, helping to relax my mind.

Nails has been like therapy. When I needed to get ‘Sheryl’ back, the difference nails made was incredible. I’ve still had bad times but the escape has felt almost euphoric.

I have been diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is a severe hormone imbalance, and nails has helped me through this as well. It’s an escape which gives me a focus and helps me to clear my mind.

The pandemic was one of the hardest times, as it was for everyone. All of a sudden I lost my clients and my escape had gone. I was at home all the time with my daughter and I felt terrified, so I dived into creating as much social media content for my nail business as possible. Eventually, I started Enchanted Essence.

Because of my struggles, mental health is very important to me in my businesses. If I know a client is struggling I pop an extra hour onto their appointment, so that if they need to chat, stop or have a cry, I can allow for this. I’ve ensured that all of my clients know that my salon is a safe space.

With Enchanted Essence, my brand ambassadors’ wellbeing is a priority. Like my salon, I want them to feel that the company is a safe and open space for all, and know that I am always at the end of the phone if they need it. I understand that we’ve all got our own lives outside of the industry which can impact on our mental health.

Because of the support I give the BAs, they are brilliant with me in return and have supported me when times have been tough for business.