Caitlin Iley

Salon in the Spotlight: SB Nails, Basingstoke

By Callie Iley | 17 November 2022 | Salon & Spas

Sonia Brown Sb Nails Basingstoke Salon In The Spotlight Header

Salon in the Spotlight: SB Nails, Basingstoke

After working in education as a learning support assistant and art therapist within a school, Sonia Brown decided it was time for a career change.

“I knew that my new career path wasn’t going to be in education, it was going to be in nails! I always had my nails done every 2 weeks, so I understood the power of having that time out, and what putting yourself first can do for you and your mental wellbeing.”

“I am a go-getter and when I have something in my mind, I go and get it! I started training in nails in January 2020, not knowing that the pandemic was on its way, I had also handed in my notice for the end of that academic year!

“Whilst still working in the school during the pandemic I became a qualified nail technician and built my garden salon,” Sonia remembers. “I wanted a home-based salon that was not in my house. The whole family helped convert a 10×6 foot shed that we had brought into the beautiful salon that it is today.”

“SB Nails officially opened its doors in July 2020, but as I had no client base as such apart from friends and family, as well as being closed more than I was open I class myself as being open from April 2021,” she explains. “Since then, the business has been going from strength to strength.

“I currently love the set up in my salon and being 1-to-1, as well as the convenience that it gives clients as well as myself by taking the salon away from the high street. If I was ever to move house, then I would look into a bigger salon space to be able to offer more services, but the nails that I create for my clients is of more value to me than expanding.”

“I am a natural nail only nail technician. I offer gel manicures and pedicures, mummy and me appointments, as well as luxury services. I pride myself on keeping up to date with my education, which enables me to educate my clients on their nail health.

“The most popular service requested is a gel manicure with hand painted nail art,” Sonia reveals. “Most of my clients love it when they come into the salon with an idea on what they would like, which is delivered. Others that will see my nail inspiration boards and leave with something completely different than what they had in mind. Regardless, all of my clients leave happy with their hand painted nail art!”

“I currently use Premier Gel. I have spent time researching gel polishes, tried and tested many brands to see which brands works best for me, finding one that’s vegan and cruelty free, how it lasts, durability, and Premier Gel ticks all those boxes for me.

“Myself and my clients absolutely love it,” she enthuses. “I’m also trying Urban Graffiti from Naio Nails as the range has the most gorgeous colours.”

“My clients vary from professional women, stay at home mums, students and people who are retired, but they all leave feeling the same, having had have had their therapy session and a bonus of having a gorgeous new manicure.

“However, I’m an all-inclusive, non-judgemental salon,” Sonia notes. “Everyone is welcome – nails have no gender!”

“I would say that it’s the personal touch before they even step foot into my salon that makes me different. I’m honest with my marketing, telling them that I suffer with anxiety especially when going somewhere new, how I love having a laugh as laughter is the best medicine, but they also know that I am there wholeheartedly for them during their pamper session.

“The best part of my job is being able to hold each and every one of my client’s hands whilst doing their manicures and them being able to off load their stresses,” she smiles. “They leave with gorgeous nails, and receive lots of complements which give them a boost in-between their appointments.”

“I rebranded in September 2022, as I assumed that my branding had to be pink with cursive writing when I first set up SB Nails, but I soon learnt that this isn’t the case.

“My new branding speaks volumes about me and my salon – how it’s okay to be different, stand out from the crowd, and be unique,” Sonia shares. “My colour theme is black, white and neon purple, with an added touch of colourful leopard print.”

“When choosing the colours for the rebranding, I used my knowledge of colour theory to get the best outcome,” Sonia says. “The bottom half, which is the floor, blinds and furniture, is black, which is symbolic of mystery, power, elegance and sophistication. Three walls are plain white which symbolises purity, simplicity and cleanliness.

“The pops of colour in the leopard print and across the room symbolise the rest of the colour theory which means that everybody who steps into my salon will find some harmony, relaxation and sense of calm.”

“The best part of my set up is seeing my client’s reactions when they see the salon for the first time. When I welcome them in from the gate, all they see is a black shed, but as soon as I open the salon doors they’re wowed!

“They all say you would never know from the outside that something so beautiful is behind those doors. It’s like I have my very own nail Tardis in the back garden,” she laughs. “I also love the fact that I am an appointment-only salon, meaning that my clients get my undivided attention at all times, and everyone leaves with a positive affirmation card.”

Follow SB Nails on Instagram and Facebook.