Tamsin Koslowski, 23, from Stirling is the owner of the ever growing DIY Nails which has shot into popularity over the recent months. We caught her in between designing and nail painting to get the low-down on what it’s like living out your creative dreams.
Hi Tammy! What were you doing before you set up DIY nails?
I studied Clothing Design and Technology at Cardonald College in Glasgow for 3 years and finished my degree (with First Class Honours) at Manchester Metropolitain University.
When did you first discover your talent for nail design?
When I was studying away from home I had a spare time thanks to my massive work load and lack of social life so I started painting my nails and documenting my first attempts at nail art and nail inspiration on a blog. Over a couple of months, my blog grew and when I moved back to Scotland I set up a stall at a vintage fair doing nail art.
And the idea just grew from there?
Yes! I would never have thought about doing false nails until a friend from uni was going to Ibiza and asked if I could paint her 5 sets because she always loved mine, and that’s where my false nail service began! I met some amazing people through the fairs and through my blog and decided to set myself up as a sole trader and try and make a go of doing and selling nail art!
How did you go about setting it up as a business?
I set up my business by going to Business Gateway for advice and PSYBT () for a bookkeeping class. I was quite lucky in the sense that I had already set up a blog on Tumblr (www.diynails.tumblr.com), a Facebook and a Twitter and had a following, as well as customers and demand for my nails. Setting myself up as a business was really just to make things official.
So did you rely a lot on the internet for getting the word out?
The internet and social media really are a valuable marketing tool, you feel a bit silly promoting yourself but when you see results in your sales then you don’t feel so bad. Although, you don’t want to post too much and annoy people, and it always helps to be nice, polite, and answer everyone’s questions enthusiastically no matter how many times you’ve heard them.
How else did you promote yourself?
I also promoted myself by making sure I always did a good job and gave business cards to everyone. I kept them in my pockets in work so when I was on the tills people would see my nails and I’d whip them out upon every compliment, I once even gave my card to a girl in front of me in a queue like a total creep because she had polkadots on her nails. I guess my biggest hurdle is trying to keep up with demand, I have a lovely assistant called Becki, but we still can’t keep up with all the ideas I have!
What has been your favourite moment of DIY Nails to date?
I don’t think I have a favourite moment! I love doing photo shoots, especially when it involves two of my favourites, Lou from Hair for Heroes and Sam from Isolated Heroes! I like surrounding myself with creative people because they fuel my fire and make me feel like I can do anything.
What do you see for yourself in the future? Do you see running your own business as a viable career option?
I have no idea what’s in store for the future! At the moment I’m not sure if I could take the plunge and leave my other job and fully commit myself to being my own boss. Mainly for financial reasons and I’m also a bit scatty and all over the place, but I surprise myself every day and if someone told me this time last year that I’d have my own business by now I wouldn’t believe them. I definitely think running your own business is a viable career option though, as long as you have confidence in yourself and your product/brand.
Would you recommend others going down this route if they too have an original idea?
If you have an idea and think it could work as a business then I say just go for it. Especially while you’re young. You’ve got nothing to lose, most creative businesses don’t need much investment. It does take a lot of hard work but if you’re passionate about something then it doesn’t feel like work.
Any last words of wisdom?
I guess my best advice is use all the help you can get, there are so many places you can go to for advice and inspiration. I’d also say listen to people, it’s so easy to be protective about your vision but sometimes you need a fresh perspective. And lastly, be nice to people, but don’t let them walk all over you (something I’m still learning too).
We loved talking to Tammy! Have a look at DIY Nails amazing designs here! What are your creative ambitions? Tell us below!