Caitlin Iley

Salon in the Spotlight: Nailed it by Jo, East Kilbride, Scotland

By Callie Iley | 27 July 2023 | Feature, Salon & Spas

Jo Simpson Salon In The Spotlight Header

With a background in finance and a BA Honours in Business Management, Jo Simpson’s passion for nails and nail art remained as a hobby until 2019, when a serious infection led her to re-evaluate.

“I had a long recovery and a few stays in hospital, which really made me reflect,” she remembers. “This is when I decided to take my nail training seriously.”

Completing a 12-week college training programme in NVQ Level 6 acrylic nails, Jo began to work on her portfolio, creating nails for family and friends. “I was just about to get going and start my own home nail business shortly after recovering from my illness, and then the first lockdown hit,” Jo recalls.

“Instead of allowing this to crush my dreams, I found my love and passion for nail art and decided to put my spare time in lockdown to good use. I trained with Pure Nails and got certificates in Halo’s EasiBuild and PoliBuild systems. I also trained in various different courses with Katie Barnes and Dorota Palika in electric filing, builder gel and hard gel extensions.

“I decided the nail industry was definitely my new passion – I absolutely love all things nail art and will literally encapsulate anything into a nail!”

Spending her time in between lockdowns investing in training courses instead of trying to build a client base, Jo sought to expand her knowledge to allow her to offer the best service to clients when she was able to open up her home salon.

“I’m a single parent with two young girls, and I really wanted to build a business from scratch to give them something to be proud of. In June 2022, I became part of the Nail Business Success Club and took mentoring and business management advice from the amazing Joanna Tompkins, which has been invaluable.”

“In October 2022, I decided to take the plunge and renovate my messy garage to turn it into a stunning garden based studio,” she reveals. “This was a real graft, but worth every second.

“From January 2023, my studio has been my happy place and I have absolutely loved seeing my daughters’ faces light up at the end result and from being part of this project. I’m now fully booked most weeks and my clients love the quirky, fun, calm space that I offer.”

Working alone in the salon with a range of nail services on offer, including gel polish, builder gel, hard gel extensions, Halo PoliBuild extensions, nail biter packages and bespoke nail art, Jo notes that festival and bridal nail styles are her favourite to create at Nailed it by Jo.

“There’s a large festival in Glasgow, and I created a set of bespoke Liam Gallagher nails for one of my clients to wear, which were so quirky and cool.”

“I use mostly Halo by Pure Nails for my nail services, but I have also recently completed training with Bio Sculpture and Evo Gel to offer additional health repair packages for clients with damaged nails.

“I also offer luxury and express Elim pedicures with gel toes – these are very popular as my clients absolutely love my funky leopard print pedicure chair,” she explains. “I go full-on luxury in this chair, so that my clients forget the world with a weighted blanket to reduce anxiety and heated bootie.”

Letting clients choose their own music to play through a speaker in the salon, Jo shares her love for music and hearing the eclectic music choices of her clients. She also provides Nailed it by Jo chocolate coins, a selection of coffees and the option to enjoy a Prosecco or red wine on during Friday night treatments.

“My typical client is always up for a laugh. Lots of my clients have commented that my neighbours must wonder what I’m up to, as there’s always lots of laughter coming from the salon,” Jo beams. “It’s all about the banter with my clients. I can truly say the majority of my clients have become real friends.”

Choosing a Hamsa hand for her logo, Jo reveals the spiritual significance behind the decision. “The symbol prevents negative vibes from entering your aura, keeps you safe and protected, and brings good health and luck, which is everything I wish for all my friends, family and clients. It’s also a hand, which is apt for nails!

“I get amazing feedback and comments from my clients about my studio,” she smiles. I love bright, colourful prints and eye-catching colours, so I chose my business logo and colour scheme to be navy blue and gold. They’re so opulent and bold together and I always knew if I ever had my own space that this would be the colour scheme.”

“I absolutely love cherry blossom trees and wanted a feature wall with one, but they were really expensive. I made my own with individual cherry blossom branches from IKEA with the help of my amazing mum and dad who are such a great support to me.

“My clients comment how my salon completely suits my personality, which is welcoming full of character and quirky. I really wanted the wow factor and for my clients to feel right at home straight away with quirky, funky surroundings.”

“I have a print of Audrey Hepburn on my studio with the quote, ‘I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.’

“I chose this print because it portrays my character and studio perfectly,” Jo enthuses. “However, my favourite part of my set up has got to be my pedicure chair. My clients absolutely love it and never want to leave.”

“My little girls know how much of a dream it has been of mine to have my own nail business, and it hasn’t come without a lot of determination.

“I’ve doubted myself along the way, and sometimes given up, but with the correct positive mindset, passion and flare for your work and total consistency, you really can turn your dreams into a reality,” she says. “My daughters saying that they’re proud of their mum is the only validation I need.”

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