From working in the corporate sector for property developers, to splashing gorgeous colours and designs across nails at pop up events for some of Australia’s biggest brands, Celia Cecchi’s I Scream Nails has quickly gained cult following. With more than 58,000 Instagram followers at the time of writing, you’re sure to see I Scream’s handiwork on talons near you soon. Here, we chat with Celia on nailing the pop up event market…
So, Celia, tell us about your business…
I Scream Nails is a group of talented nail artists operating out of a small hidden studio space in Collingwood, Melbourne. In addition to taking on private appointments, in our studio, we specialise in pop up salons, corporate events, private events, hens days, birthday parties, baby showers… all over Melbourne (and Sydney too from time to time).
Who are your clients?
We have worked with Australia’s biggest brands, organisations, event companies, artists and bloggers on events and collaborations such as Westfield, Sportsgirl, Myer, Kit Cosmetics, Seed Heritage, Ken Done Gallery, Obus, How Two Live, Moxie, ModelCo, Melbourne Museum, Nike Australia, Cotton On, Victoria Racing Club (Melbourne Cup Carnival) and Seek, as well as Melbourne’s cool boutiques like Lady Petrova, Alice McCall and Grace. We have also donated our time and services during the Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal and to Ronald McDonald House.
What prompted you to start your business? Did you identify a gap in the market?
I had been working in a corporate environment since I was 18 years old. When I started I Scream Nails, I was working for property developers. Although I loved the direct team I was working with, it wasn’t my passion. I always felt like there was something else I should be doing. I got into nail art as a hobby and a way to unwind after a day at work. It soon became my obsession.
I took a five-week holiday from my office job, headed to New York City and Mexico, had my nails done by a very talented nail artist in Brooklyn, New York (Fleury Rose), sat on a beach in Mexico and decided that I wanted to open my own little pop up nail salon. I noticed a big gap in the market. Even though nail art existed within Melbourne, there was nobody doing it on a larger scale at the time. Everyone was either working from home or in salons — there was nobody extending their services into other people’s spaces, or doing larger corporate events.
What’s special about your business? What’s your ‘Point of Difference’?
With a staff of 15 nail artists, there is definitely something for everyone! No matter what your personal style, whether you are outrageous, fun, colourful, daring or more conservative, we can find the right style of nails for you. We have created a unique experience and a fun vibe, whether it be in our Collingwood salon or at an event. We also offer quality nail art at affordable prices. Our nail artists are constantly working on new ideas and love any challenge I throw at them.
I got into nail art as a hobby and a way to unwind after a day at work. It soon became my obsession.
Our main point of difference is our event experience. In the two years of operation, I Scream Nails has done well over 300 events. We work hard to offer customer service that goes above and beyond our customers’ expectations. Although I am a nail artist, these days, I spend more time on the business development and growth. I have surrounded myself with inspiring young artists who I know have amazing things to offer I Scream Nails and vice versa.
What was your first major achievement in the business?
Our first major achievement was landing a three-week pop up salon in the Myer (Bourke Street) Melbourne windows. This opportunity gave us the exposure we needed to launch I Scream Nails into the mainstream. Since then, we haven’t stopped being crazy-busy.
What’s been your biggest challenge? What obstacles have you overcome?
The biggest challenge for me was taking the plunge and leaving the safety of my full time corporate job to work full time at building I Scream Nails. Because I Scream Nails — with a focus on nail art pop up salons and events — was the first of its kind in Australia, there was no precedent for this type of business.
Tell us about your marketing strategy…
Our strategy is quite simple. We work on producing nail art that we think is cool, keeping up with what’s hot and what’s not, and working with other brands that we love. Obviously, social media plays a huge part in our success so we make sure we engage with our audience every day.
Who is/was your business inspiration?
Sharmadean Reid of WAH Nails London. She has created an amazing brand and is responsible for bringing nail art to the forefront across the globe. I was lucky enough to get to work at WAH Nails in early 2013. It was a great experience but I didn’t get to meet Sharmadean! Damn!
What is one thing you could be doing better in your business? What’s your opportunity?
Sharing the workload! I’m not very good at delegating.
Don’t rush to do things because you’re afraid someone else will do it first.
Do you have a mentor? (Or did you have a mentor during your business-building phase?)
No, I don’t have a business mentor, but my partner (bf, other half), Benjamin Johnson has been a huge influence on the direction of I Scream Nails.
What does the future hold for your business? Where to from here?
We have so many projects we are working on at the moment. Some of these are collaborations and others are solo projects. All are absolutely top secret. One is a very special project we have been working hard on for over a year. We hope to be able to announce it in or around November this year. We also have plans to open another I Scream Nails salon, this time in another state!
What’s your best business tip for our readers?
Although very tempting, try to take things at their natural progression. Don’t rush to do things because you’re afraid someone else will do it first. Think about what you want and also think carefully about the steps you are going to take to achieve what you want, then do it! Go for it!
‘I love my business because…’ I am finally doing something I love, on my terms.
At a Glance
Business Name: I Scream Nails Pty Ltd
Business Structure: Company
Location: Melbourne, VIC
Your Position: Director
Year business established: 2012
Number of employees: 15
Industry: Beauty/nails/nail art
Visit I Scream Nails
First published October 2014.