Metta Francis is happy to share her experience to encourage others who are interested in the creative industry.
1. Brief background of Metta Francis
I was always a very studious person. Education was instilled in me by my parents from a young age and in 2008 I graduated from Aston University with a First Class Honours degree in Business & Management. Soon after graduation I started working for a global IT company as a technology consultant and 5 years later I’m still there, working full time but in a slightly different role.
In early 2010, I decided that this was not the life I wanted to live. At the time I was working on a high profile project, pushing myself unnecessarily to work long hours. I started to live an unhealthy life – I was always exhausted, I started looking guant as I didn’t have time to eat, I didn’t have time to spend with loved ones and I wasn’t receiving the necessary recognition or reward from my employer. It just wasn’t worth it!
When the project finished in the summer of 2010, I went on a number of holidays to have a break and I really thought long and hard about my life – I knew I had to start doing something for me, working hard for myself and my own venture rather than just for a large corporation. That is when I started to seriously think about setting up my own business and brainstorming what I felt could be viable business.
I thought long and hard about my options and knew that I had to choose something I was truly passionate about – not something I would quickly get bored of. Since a young age, I have absolutely loved looking after and tending to my own nails. At school I’d buff my nails to a gorgeous high shine and moisturise my hands constantly and at weekends I would paint my nails with my favourite Rimmel polishes from Superdrug!
The idea of NAILS BY METS came from my own love of wanting to get my nails done professionally. The issue was that I simply didn’t have the time and the last thing I wanted to do was sit in a salon when I did have a spare hour or two. That’s when I realised I couldn’t be the only one who had this problem.
From my research it was clear there was a real gap in the market for a professional mobile nail service that offered the latest and greatest nail innovations, especially for natural nails. Most mobile nail services were still quite dated and didn’t offer creative or customised services.
I put together my business plan and went on to complete training with the prestigious CND Academy and Nail Harmony UK and officially launched NAILS BY METS on 1 January 2011 – all whilst still maintaining my day job!
Since 2011 NAILS BY METS has had the privilege of working with individual clients in London and also major brands such as Rimmel, Sally Hansen, N.Y.C Colour, Henrietta Ludgate, Florence+Fred and Finchitidda Finch. NAILS BY METS has provided pop-up nail art bars for a number of events including River Island/Barry M store launch, Starbucks Xmas Red Cups Launch, Swimwear365 press events, Jonathan Aston & Mark Fast collaboration launch, the Treat Centre event and Tresemme product launch. This year I had the opportunity to paint the gorgeous Jourdan Dunn’s nails for the 2013 Glamour Woman of the Year Awards and was involved in London Fashion Week, my third season to date.
2. What is your motivation behind what you are doing?
I love transforming nails for my clients. Some people just don’t get it, but honestly when a client is so happy with their nails it makes me feel happy. Some people like a nice lipstick, some people like a nice pair of shoes whilst some people love beautiful nails. I really try to focus on good nail care with my clients and advise them how to look after their nails to keep them nice and healthy – I want everyone to have beautiful nails!
Nails can be an instant pick me up – nothing is better than having a bad day, looking at my nails and smiling inside because of the piece of art on my nails or simply because they’re a bright colour and they have brightened my grey day! Some people might think I’m crazy but I know my clients are with me on that, yes there are more important things in life but sometimes you just need that little thing that will make you smile and that little confidence boost!
I also love giving people the comfort and convenience of having a fully personalised service in the comfort of their own as I know how much of a benefit it is. It gives people the luxury of time – time saved from travelling to/from a nail salon – which gives them more time to enjoy other pleasures in life be it spending time with their families or just relaxing more at home with the TV on and a glass of wine.
3. There are many great nail technicians in London. Do you think that there will always be a high demand for nails technicians?
The nail industry is booming – nail polish is the new lipstick! Never before have nails been featured or reported on so heavily in mainstream media. There is a nod towards at home treatments or DIY nails but depending on the market you are targeting there will always be a requirement for a professional nail technician/artist. Market needs and fashions will evolve over time so the services offered by nail technicians/artists will also change.
4. When you were young did you know that you were going to start up a business?
I always knew that I wanted to have my own business but I just didn’t know in what! It wasn’t until much later in life I realised.
5. What does it take to be an entrepreneur?
You have to have a real drive and passion and prepared to work hard. You cannot hide behind a team of people. You have to be dedicated to your business. I definitely lack sleep and have had many a late night immersed in NAILS BY METS. That’s not necessarily painting nails, it’s also the background work such as accounting, website development, admin – these are things no one really loves to do but they have to be taken care of! If I didn’t love NAILS BY METS I wouldn’t do this but it’s the go-getter, hard graft attitude that I have that keeps me up late. I don’t resent it because when I am focused I don’t even notice the time!
A good network is also important – it’s so daunting (for me anyway) to speak to new people but you just have to reach out to people. Many of the opportunities that have come from NAILS BY METS has been through networking.
Be proactive – no one is going hand anything to you on a plate! You also need to have a business mindset, after all it is a business you are trying to run and not a hobby 😉
“Being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle” – that’s a quote from Diosa Nail’s founder Diana Long and I 100% agree. You have to be prepared to sacrifice things in life for your business, for example cutting back and saving your money to invest into the business or sacrificing going out to dedicate time to the business.
6. What is your best advice for someone who is currently working 9-5pm and wants to start off a business?
Use your time wisely! It is not easy at all and you have to make sure that you still give your all to your day job to avoid losing your job! Working hard and proving yourself in your day job may lead to your employer being more flexible when you need time off. Save any annual leave for anything that crops up with your business. Last year, I was travelling a lot for leisure but that won’t be happening so much next year!
Plan ahead, if you have tasks to do make lists and put time aside in the diary for when you will do them. I found it great in fact having my own business because it meant that I no longer took the office/day job work home and I had a clear distinction. Previously I was so focused on my day job and there was no cut off.
One big thing is to make sure you still have time for your family and loved ones.
7. Have you got any plans to expand?
Yes, I have so many plans for NAILS BY METS and for me, Metta Francis, as a nail artist. For me, it’s a marathon not a sprint and I am still building up the foundations of my business to get it to a state where I will be ready to immerse myself into full-time, without the day job
8. For younger females who have a passion for nail art, what three steps should they take to start off their business?
If you are serious about being a nail artist it’s important to invest time and money in the necessary nail training. Not only will you be learning how to do things the right way but you will then be able to gain the relevant insurance that will allow you to work on the public. This is so important and I cannot stress that enough – you must have insurance to carry out nail services for your own protection and also the public’s. Possessing the relevant certifications also says a lot for you as a nail artist/technician and shows your clients that you are fully qualified in the products you are using. I am even booked onto another nail course next year – you can never stop learning!
Define your target market and research it. This will determine what type of products you use, services you offer and your various business and marketing strategies. Saying you want to do nails or be a nail artist is completely different to running an actual business.You also have to be prepared to invest money into your business and to do that you’ll need start-up capital (and a forecast of your costs!)
Define and develop your own nail art style and practice to improve your skills. There will always be the popular nail designs that everyone loves, for example a classic leopard print or a cute polka dot design but if you develop your own unique style you be a more attractive nail artist. If you are offering the same designs as other nail artists what will set you apart? I’m still developing as a nail artist and working on my style – it’s a continuous cycle!
Thank you Metta Francis for taking your time out to inspire others.
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