Affectionately known as the Madame CJ Walker of nails, beauty educator pioneer London Ward is one technician that is changing the beauty industry one nail at a time. As the owner of Snob Nails, a very successful salon and nail supply brand, Ward has made history by being the only nail technology school accredited by her state and the only black-owned nail tech school in her region. The licensed instructor in nail techniques also managed to found her own 3-in-1 acrylic nail system and a new 250 clock hours Maryland Higher Education Commission approved licensed manicurist program. Her star power in the beauty industry is undeniable.
HelloBeautiful had the opportunity to speak with game changer London Ward about her Snob Nails brand, the competitiveness of the nail industry and her journey into the nail industry.
As a young girl, London Ward didn’t get her nails done too often. In fact, though she frequently went to the salon with her mother, she rarely got her own nails done – a basic pedicure always did the trick. “I didn’t get my nails done often. I honestly would get bored while waiting for my mom to finish up her nail appointments. I was a true tomboy until about 17,” Ward told HelloBeautiful about her natural nail style growing up. Now as an adult and full-blown salon owner, she loves everything about nails from the colors and patterns to artwork and bling.
She told HelloBeautiful, “I love to set new nail trends and try new things. Staying ahead of the game is key. I love being able to create nail looks that trend on Instagram and have people use my art as nail inspiration. My current favorite nail shape is long stiletto.”
When asked what sparked her initial interest in entrepreneurship, Ward admitted she gravitated towards scheduling flexibility in the realm of salon ownership. After enrolling in cosmetology school to obtain her licensure to legally operate her salon, her love for nails began to blossom. “About 3 months into my career, I realized I actually really did enjoy the art and relaxation that completing a full set brought. A year later while teaching advanced classes, I fell in love with the skills and really wanted to start educating and sharing my knowledge of the nail field,” she said to HelloBeautiful about the moment she began to fall in love with the beauty industry.
After her daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Ward immediately knew she needed a more flexible schedule to support her rather than an unpredictable demanding schedule as a nurse. “I knew that entrepreneurship would give me the flexibility to care for my family the way I wanted to. From there I made a long list of possible business ventures,” she told HelloBeautiful. “I picked the 22nd thing on the list because 22 is my favorite number. Owning a nail salon was 22 on the list, so I ran with it!”
It’s no secret that the nail industry is its own separate beast within the beauty industry that not just anyone can tackle. “Nails require you to pay attention to detail. Shaping and application are your money makers. If those two things are off, then you may lose clientele or have negative reviews,” Ward shares on the difference in the beauty industry from its counterparts such as hair and skin. Patience is her virtue inside and out of the salon, penning it as one of her greatest lessons as an entrepreneur. “Patience not only with the process but also with myself as a business owner. Business, especially in the beginning, can be like a roller coaster but everything that doesn’t work out leaves room for bigger and better things,” she shared.
On her next steps for Snob Nails, Ward is still riding on the high of opening her accredited nail technician school in Maryland. “I’m looking forward to expanding and having more schools, more products, and creating generational wealth within our community,” she said excitedly about more ventures to come. Her current product offerings include acrylics, liquids, nail kits, box subscriptions and merchandise and additionally offers wholesale distribution to salons. Consumers can purchase monthly Mystery Boxes, Ambassador Boxes or Survival Kits. To get your nail game back together, London Ward offers nail tutorials through IGTV for your viewing pleasure.