Caitlin Iley

Salon in the Spotlight: Omega Nails, Pontypool

By Callie Iley | 14 September 2023 | Feature, Salon & Spas

Omega Nails In Pontypool

Wanting to create a space for herself and her clients to unapologetically be themselves, Tan Adams drew inspiration from tattoo shops for her salon’s alternative styling.

“I want my space to feel like a haven for people who struggle to fit into mainstream spaces. Growing up, I was convinced that the beauty industry in general was not a place where I felt welcome. After pushing past that feeling and joining the industry, I see now that it is actually a place where individuality is celebrated, and I want my clients to feel that too.

Training in 2015 at a local training academy, the importance of continuous professional development was instilled in Tan Adams from early on in her nail career. “For me, training never stops. I will always continue to learn and grow with every opportunity that I can. I’ve had the opportunity to take further education classes with some of my industry heroes, including Katie Clark, Kirsty Meakin, and many others.”

Opening up her own salon space for the first time in 2023 after nine years in the industry, Tan felt like the time was right for her to strike out alone and carve her own path. “It’s the first time I’ve had a space that’s completely my own,” Tan shares. “Before I was here, the space was part of a larger sunbed salon that has now been broken down into smaller units. I took the room with the fresh plaster on the walls, but nothing else – it didn’t even have a floor!”

“The smaller units beside me are a barber, and a women’s hairdresser on the other side. Alongside us, we have a sunbed salon that was originally in my building, and upstairs, there’s an aesthetician. I feel like all of these businesses work really well together and we’ve created a little beauty hub, attracting all types of people.

“The most challenging issues I faced came with what I thought would be the most simple, which was painting,” she remembers. “With the ceilings being 12 foot high, I couldn’t reach the top even on a ladder and had to recruit my friends to help based on their height and ability to reach.There was one area of the wall where no matter what we did, the paint just wouldn’t take. After seeking advise, I was told that the plaster was probably over polished on application, and the only solution was to sand the wall back to the beginning and start again, so we actually painted twice.”

Gravitating towards darker and alternative aesthetics and styles, Tan wanted to provide a salon space for clients who shared her taste. “In the small town where I live, there’s a void when it comes to spaces for alternative people,” she explains.

“I chose a dark green hue with black and gold accents, with a slight industrial feel for the furnishings. I’ve always loved the aesthetic of tattoo shops as that’s my happy place, so I wanted to bring a little bit of that vibe into my salon with my artwork and decoration choices.”

Working alone in the salon, Tan offers a range of nail services including gel polish, builder gel and sculpted L&P acrylics, using products from Magpie Beauty. “I’ve tried many brands through the years, but I love Magpie for its quality, range of products, and great customer service. My clients love the longevity of the products as well as the choice available.

“I love having the freedom to make my own choices. It’s a freedom that I’ve never really had before and it still feels a bit like a dream. If I want to try new products, redesign my space at any point, or alter my working hours, I can do it simply because I want to! It’s a strange feeling that I’m still getting used to.”

“I have fabulous working relationships with local businesses to provide the things that I need but cannot do myself.
I have connections with a photographer, who also provides all of my printing. I used a small local business to design my logo and another to press it onto t-shirts, and yet another to turn my logo into a beautiful window frosted sign,” Tan explains. “I think when you work alone and are used to taking on all of the roles yourself, it can be difficult to delegate. Having a good relationship with other local business to fill the gaps is essential to me.

“I think my salon is unique because of my relationship with my clients. I offer bespoke nail art and my clients will often have nails that represent their personal lives, with pet portraits becoming increasingly popular.


“I think it’s so important to get to know clients as individuals, to be able to provide them the best, most personal services.”


“All I hope for my salon is that myself and my clients will continue to be as happy here as we currently are. Since moving into this space I feel a lightness and a pressure that I didn’t even know I was carrying has been lifted,” Tan smiles. “Now that the salon has become established and I have more time and freedom, I plan to use that headspace to once again start competing. I feel like competition is what really pushes me to grow and allows me to work without limits. I would also love to again travel for on-location training to help further my skills and meet more people who share my passion.

“My favourite aspect of the salon is my high ceilings. I have a gallery wall showcasing my medals and competition pieces alongside unique art pieces. Art is very important in my life and I plan to continuously expand my gallery.”


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