An Instagram-worthy rainbow array of nail varnishes greets customers at London Grace , Canary Wharf’s new nail bar.

But each shade represents more than the potential of a prettily photographed fingertip.

“Each one is named after someone who has helped me along the way,” said founder Kirsten Hazell.

“My mum Laura is an orangey shade, my dad Graham is a grey, even our fit-out guy has one.

“My property agent is a bright red and every time we see him he asks how he is selling.”

The 29-year-old, who opened her first London Grace store in Putney in January 2015, has reserved bubblegum pink for herself.

But on the opening day of her fourth branch in Canada Place, on July 3, her nails are bare.

“It’s terrible I know but I have been opening boxes and moving things around so my nails are in a terrible state,” said Kirsten who brings this hands-on approach to every aspect of the growing business.

She developed the 40 own-brand polishes herself, ensuring they contain no harmful chemicals and tested them out on friends and family for weeks before they launched.

She created the menu of treatments to appeal to modern, busy women who want a high quality, slick service on their lunchbreak.

All the treatments are waterless - meaning no time-consuming soaking of nails-which Kirsten said was not only better for the environment but helped prevent cracking.

Prices start at £9 and the shop offers a 15% discount during happy hours every Monday-to-Wednesday from 11am to 3pm.

“Our motto is no-nonsense nails,” said Kirsten who knew aged 13 she wanted to run her own business.

“I really wanted to be affordable and for anyone to walk in and feel like they can treat themselves without breaking the bank.”

But Kirsten is also riding the growing wave of demand for social-media friendly experiences that combine multiple elements.

Clients can sip a Cosmopolitan (£9) while their cuticles are snipped in front of a trendy neon sign.

The cocktail menu boasts ingredients such as Sipsmith Gin and offers two-for-one daily between 5-6pm.

Visitors can also order pink Prosecco (£7 glass) with their pedicure.

Two dedicated baristas whip up coffees (£2-3), made with beans from Old Street-based business Ozone, in handleless mugs and they are free with any treatment before 10am.

Next to the bar is a display of gifts such candles, bracelets and clutch bags by Katie Loxton bearing captions like “Hello Gorgeous” and “Bee Happy”.

And it also offers party packages with extras such as cupcake decorating, afternoon tea and pizzas.

Kirsten, who grew up in Oxfordshire and studied economics at Southampton, was inspired to set up the business by her time in New York.

She lived there for two years studying graphic design at Parsons School Of Design and said: “I got my nails done all the time there.

“It was a very social thing where you would go with friends and have a drink afterwards.”

On returning to the UK she was accepted on the graduate scheme at Deloitte in the City but after two years found herself drumming her fingers as the corporate environment “wasn’t for her”.

Her epiphany came at a London train station

“I was standing at Waterloo station with my friend after work and we were Googling places to get our nails done and there was nowhere,” she said.

Many people would have filed it away as a minor annoyance but for Kirsten, who started her first business – a hospitality recruitment company aged 15 – it was a pointed tip off.

Her starting point was an intensive nail course at London School Of Beauty which included studying anatomy, hygiene, spotting possibly health issues and completing four written papers and two months of coursework.

In between freelancing as a graphic designer she researched the industry, carefully crafting her brand using her business and design background.

“Nails has been an industry that has been a bit forgotten here,” said Kirsten who won the FSB Best New Business 2015 and FSB Young Business Person Of The Year 2016.

“Hairdressers let you book online and build a relationship with them but I felt that was missing with nails.

“You either get cheap and cheerful places or five-star, very expensive places. I felt there was a gap in between.

“My aim with London Grace was to create something unique, that offered the best of both worlds.”

She said the most surprising part had been how varied her work was.

“One day you are meeting an electrician and the next designing an advert for Canary Wharf and then interviewing a nail technician,” she said. “I have to wear a lot of different hats but that is what excites me.

“Canary Wharf has been a major moment. It is our first in-mall branch and when I turned the corner and saw the vinyl off it was a real pinch-myself moment. We are really a brand now.”

Top Notch

The top-end treatment for your fingernails is this manicure featuring a gel polish.

It starts with a file, to a length and shape of the client’s choosing, and is followed by a cuticle removal.

The nails are then buffed before a base coat, two-three coats of the chosen polish and a top coat are applied, with each layer dried under UV light.

It finishes with a hand or foot massage using moisturiser and oil applied to the cuticles.


Hunky Dory

A swifter treatment which features a shape, buff and polish but no cuticle removal or massage.

It can be done on nails or toenails with a choice of over 50 CND gel polish or 40 London Grace nail varnishes.

Colours ranging from reds and pinks to green and the classic London Grace blue.


Glitter Nails


London Grace glitter mermaid nails

newest addition to the menu is the mermaid glitter.

It takes a few minutes extra to press it into the polish after it is set using a brush.

The effect will be different depending on the base colour.

Choose to have an accent nail, popular with brides to highlight their ring finger, or go all out with all 20 digits set a-sparkle.

£2 per nail or £10 for 10 nails.

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