InBeauty, Features, Nails

A Day in the Life of Kirsten Hazell, CEO and founder of London Grace

“I’ve always loved nails, but it was during my time living in New York that I really fell in love with the mani-pedi experience. Living in NYC on a student budget, I was amazed to find that getting my nails done was an affordable treat that I could enjoy with friends, even at 9pm.

When I returned to London to start my career in consultancy I was disappointed by the lack of choice of nail bars in the city – the luxury, spa environments were too pricey, but the budget, high street options lacked in style and service. I realised there was an opportunity to do something unique, that offered the best of both worlds. My aim was to establish a branded lifestyle experience with beautiful store environments, high quality products and refined treatments, but at affordable prices. I wanted to transform nail care from feeling like a ‘chore,’ into a fun, social experience by creating a nail bar, coffee shop and cocktail bar concept with late night opening hours”.

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I’ve always loved nails, but it was during my time living in New York that I really fell in love with the mani-pedi experience. Living in NYC on a student budget, I was amazed to find that getting my nails done was an affordable treat that I could enjoy with friends, even at 9pm.

When I returned to London to start my career in consultancy I was disappointed by the lack of choice of nail bars in the city – the luxury, spa environments were too pricey, but the budget, high street options lacked in style and service. I realised there was an opportunity to do something unique, that offered the best of both worlds.

My aim was to establish a branded lifestyle experience with beautiful store environments, high quality products and refined treatments, but at affordable prices. I wanted to transform nail care from feeling like a ‘chore,’ into a fun, social experience by creating a nail bar, coffee shop and cocktail bar concept with late night opening hours. Although it’s been a lot of hard work, I’m so proud of how far London Grace has come in just under 2 years. I’ve shared a typical day for me below!

7am: I absolutely love what I do, so I feel very lucky to wake up each morning feeling excited about the day ahead. I went from working for a large corporate technology company, to creating a beauty brand from my living room, but having a real passion for what you are doing is the best motivation!

I swear by starting the day with one of my power smoothies (spinach, pear, apple, banana and lettuce blended with ice). I’m a firm believer in eating plenty of fruit and vegetables to keep your hair and nails strong and healthy. I love a to-do list, so I’ll write down my objectives for the day and then reply to any urgent emails before heading off to my first meetings.

9am: I’m currently on the hunt for new locations to open London Grace, so I’ll meet with our Property Agent, Charlie and look around a few potential units in the city. Next I‘ll head to the flagship store in South West London to catch up with my office team over an Americano – we serve Ozone coffee at London Grace, which is the best!

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10am – 1pm: Once I’ve had an Ozone coffee and a snack (my go-to is peanut butter on oatcakes) I’m ready for my most productive part of the day. I studied Economics at university in the UK and then went on to study Graphic Design at university in New York, so I like a working day that involves using both sides of my brain! I am very hands-on with all aspects of the business and each day is varied. I might spend a few hours working on a lease for a new store with our lawyers, before moving on to designing a postcard advertising our party packages (we host baby showers, hen dos and birthdays).

When 1.30pm lingers in I am ready for lunch. I’m a vegetarian so I love homemade soups and superfood salads. I’ll take a look at the weekly accounts over lunch to see how each store is performing and then meet with the Management team to discuss the business targets. I’ve experienced the ‘glass ceiling’ effect in previous environments I’ve worked in, so I really enjoy working with talented, ambitious women and encouraging them to grow within the company. One of the Manager’s joined us as a nail technician and worked her socks off to rise through the ranks and a former Barista in the store now works as a full time Admin Assistant in our office team. Not that we are by any means a ‘female only’ workplace, we have a bartender called Louis who works behind the bar and works his magic with the cocktails during our ‘Lacquer and Liquor’ happy hour.

By late afternoon the store starts to come alive with our group bookings and although nothing beats the sound of hearing clients enjoying pampering and drinks whilst they catch up with friends, it’s not the most productive environment to work in. I’ll head back to my office at home and work through my emails, before taking a few calls from our architect and fit out team to discuss plans for our new central London store.

7 pm: When I can fit it in, I love to sweat away the stress of the day with a spinning class. My girlfriends and I are very competitive when it comes to getting our names at the top of the leader board.

8pm: My husband is a car journalist so he’ll pick me up in his latest test drive and we’ll head home to cook a nice dinner together. We’re recently married, so we are currently spending our evenings writing thank you cards and reminiscing over our amazing honeymoon in Bali.

9.30pm: There’s nothing like a relaxing bath at the end of the day to help you unwind. I add a few drops of calming oil, light some candles and read my favourite magazine ‘The Week.’ My aim is to be in bed my 10.30pm as I’m an 8 hours of sleep kind of woman!

Kirsten Hazell, CEO and Founder of London Grace

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