Nail tech Annabel Maginnis is a social media success story, opening fairy tale-themed salon Nails by Annabel in Newcastle-under-Lyme and launching her own brand of acrylic and gel systems off the back of her online profile. Her reputation as a nail influencer can’t be denied, with an impressive 31K YouTube subscribers, 408K Instagram followers and 146K Facebook followers (as PB went to press).
After undertaking extensive training with award-winning tech Kirsty Meakin six years ago and becoming her apprentice, Maginnis began her career in nails, starting off home-based before renting a space in a business centre for a couple of years as she built up her clientele.
However, her reputation really took off when she posted a photo on Instagram of a standout nail and make-up look she created – silver painted lips adorned with Swarovski crystals, accompanied with a full set of pure glass nails, also covered in crystals (pictured, next page).
“This photo is when things really changed for me,” said Maginnis. “The image got shared by a lot of large nail and make-up accounts on Instagram, including Brian Champagne who is a pro MUA with one million followers. It gave me massive exposure. That image is how I got my name out there and it’s why I use a lot of Swarovski crystals on my nail sets today.”
From there, her social media profile grew as more make-up artists, nail techs and clients followed her. With her success showing no signs of slowing down, Maginnis’s husband Elliott (managing director of Nails by Annabel) encouraged her to open her own permanent salon, followed by a nail supplies business.
“The idea of owning a space and employing other techs terrified me. I was like, ‘No, I don’t know if I can do it. What if it doesn’t work?’. It was only when one of my regular clients revealed that she was a trained nail tech and would love to work for me that I took the plunge and opened my first salon, Annabel’s, in Newcastle-under-Lyme in 2017,” explains Maginnis.
Hitting the big time
In 2018, the entrepreneur launched her nail supplies company under the name Nails by Annabel to take her business to the next level. “We already had a dedicated audience of nail techs on social media who we could sell the products to, so it felt like a logical step to move into manufacturing supplies,” she says.
In this day and age, your salon space and nail pictures need to be worthy of the ‘gram
“Elliott and I only launched with a small selection of core acrylic powders and monomers though – no colours – because we wanted to see if there was an appetite for the range. I was shocked when we got 21 orders on the first day.”
From there, the company launched more extensive Glitterbels acrylic and gel systems, Nails by Annabel Swarovski Crystals, pigment powders, brush sets and branded t-shirts, and the tech says that there are even more products in the pipeline waiting to be developed.
Now, the team manages on average 3,000 orders per month and this has been the greatest challenge for Maginnis. “Blowing up on social media helped me make the business a success but it’s been tough managing the rate of growth in such a short time,” she explains.
“I wasn’t expecting my collection to be so popular. As such, stock levels were an issue to start with because we only had so much to hand, yet the list of people wanting to purchase the products was growing rapidly.” During this time, Maginnis also opened her second nail salon, Belle’s, in the same area.
Strike a pose
Riding high on her success, Maginnis made a big business decision at the start of this year – to merge her two salons at a larger premises to create a space that matched her successful nail supplies business. The 5,000sq ft Nails by Annabel salon opened on Lower Street in May and is an Instagram haven, with gold-painted trees and a unicorn statue complementing the millennial pink painted walls. The space features cool nail stations, a dedicated training space and a retail shop filled with her eponymous range.
“In this day and age, your salon space and nail pictures need to be worthy of the ‘gram,” she says. “How you photograph your nails is one of the most important things because without careful placing of the hand, teamed with decent lighting, people won’t be able to see the detail in your work.
“You also need to take your pictures against a background that isn’t too busy, so as not to detract from your nail design. I use a fluffy white bath mat as it goes with every set of nails and I shoot the photos using my iPhone and Daylight Company Desk Lamp.” Maginnis also suggests watermarking your images, “because if a big account shares your work and forgets to include your handle in the caption then clients won’t know it’s your design”.
The timing of your posts is even more crucial. “You need to do at least one post per day to your grid feed but schedule them to go live at around 7–8pm. This is prime time as most people will be home from work so you’ll get more likes and engagement,” she says. “For your Instagram Stories, post throughout the day but use a mixture of content, from product videos and mini tutorials to updates on salon life.”
This month, Maginnis is launching the Nails by Annabel educator programme for techs who want to become an ambassador for the brand. She is looking for 18 to 20 educators to perform the brand’s training across the UK, with those tutors having access to refresher courses – to brush up their skills – at Nails by Annabel HQ on average every two months.
“To have educators all over the country is our biggest goal and I want the best people representing us – they need to have a dedicated space where they can host our training, a few years’ industry experience under their belt, and have the appropriate qualifications to teach,” explains Maginnis.
The future’s bright
The brand is looking to run more educator training in the new year as it plans to expand its family of ambassadors, and Maginnis is even thinking about hosting an Annabel Masterclass Roadshow in the future “because the brand is moving so fast. I want to be out there more, but the idea hasn’t been fleshed out yet,” she adds.
Nails by Annabel will also be exhibiting at Professional Beauty North, taking place on October 13–14, for the first time as the brand looks to get further exposure. “Quite a few of our accounts attend Professional Beauty so we’re looking forward to meeting them, but we’re also hoping to demo products to a range of new customers too.” Find out what Nails by Annabel will be bringing to PB North on page 96. PB
2013 Maginnis trains with award-winning tech Kirsty Meakin and starts working from home
2017 Opens first nail salon, Annabel’s, in Newcastleunder- Lyme
2018 Launches nail supplies range Nails by Annabel and opens second salon Belle’s
2019 Merges her two salons into one, rebranded as Nails by Annabel, and launches the brand’s educator programme 2020 Nails by Annabel will be looking to take on more educators