Nails Inc founder Thea Green, the woman credited with bringing New York-style nail salons to the UK, is expanding her beauty empire by launching a new make-up business, Inc.redible.
Ms Green, a former Tatler fashion journalist, launched Nails Inc almost two decades ago after being inspired by trips to New York where nail salons and manicures are common place.
“When I launched in 1999 in the UK manicures were really only for those ladies who lunched and it was a sea of french manicures”, said Ms Green. “Instead we wanted to offer a quick and inexpensive treatment for busy women.”
Since raising £200,000 from angel investors to open Nails Inc’s first store on South Molton Street, in London’s West End, the chain has grown to 60 stores, has a big international division and is entirely self-funded.
While the business started with Nail Inc salons, around 40pc of its £18m sales now come from selling polish after launching innovative nail gels that include superfoods such as kale and caviar. Nails Inc also sparked a viral craze two years ago after launching a nail polish formula in a spray can.
Ms Green said that her passion for product innovation had led her to launch the new beauty business which would bring new products to the market, such as lip balms with real flowers suspended in gel.
“We could have just matched lipsticks to our existing Nails Inc range of colours, but that would have been quite limiting and not exciting enough”, the 41 year old entrepreneur said. “Instead we wanted to have wearable trends so women can be in fashion, without feeling foolish.”
She added: “Social media has made customers so much more knowledgeable about trends and products. As a result it has made it very difficult for large cosmetic companies to keep up with trends as they are constantly behind. Instead if you are launching new innovations, you’re the one driving the trend.”
Ms Green reckons that the new beauty business will mean that around 70pc of sales will come from products, while 30pc of revenues will still be from nail salons.
The business already has the backing of online retailers Asos and Feel Unique as well as Boots in the UK and Sephora in the US and the Middle East and H&M shops across Scandinavia.
Nails Inc was break even and made £18m in sales last year and is on track turn a profit this year, despite investing in the launch of Inc.redible.