How I Founded An Award Winning Nail Polish Brand


Sonia Hully, the founder of Nailberry started her career in finance at the age of 21. She’s had her hand in lots of different areas, from films to real estate before she got a spark of inspiration and realized she had a business idea worth pursuing.

Nailberry products are amazing, especially for those of us obsessed with gel manicures. The products aim to detox damaged nails and are chemical-free. We had to know how Sonia balances her personal life with her business, her advice for career girls and her favorite workwear items.

How I started Nailberry…
In 2012, I opened the Nailberry nail salon in Chelsea. I noticed that many of our clients were getting weak and dry nails with the growing popularity of gel nail polishes. With the increased popularity of the semi-permanent gel nail polish, many of our clients’ nails were becoming dry and weak. This inspired me to develop my own line of healthy nail polishes.

I launched our first 4 free collection in 2014, however, I wanted to create an even healthier polish. In conjunction with our lab in France we launched L’Oxygéné; an oxygen and moisture permeable formula, which doesn’t dry out your nails. These polishes are also made without Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, Camphor, and Formaldehyde resin.

The L’Oxygéné range was launched at the start of 2015, and we are now stocked in lovely stores all over the UK, Europe and the Middle East including Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Anthropologie, and Le Bon Marche.

A typical day for me…
After waking up I check emails, feed my cats and have a lemon juice. In a small growing business, no two days are the same, and I love working in this dynamic environment.

How I maintain balance…
A lot of the time, the life of an entrepreneur means your work is your life. If you love what you do it’s not usually a problem. However it is definitely important to strike a balance and every so often I try to make sure I switch off and take time for myself to socialize with friends, or practice yoga.

My workwear style in three words…
Chic, Smart, Glamorous – my working style can really range from boho, to rock chic, to glamorous for meetings, and smart casual whilst in the office. Key pieces would definitely include my Valentino shoes, a little black dress, and a tailored jacket.

My favorite beauty products…
I would say a good moisturizer or facial oil is a must, along with mascara and lipstick. And of course, my nails are always impeccably maintained so either a red or nude nail polish like Nailberry Le Temps des Cerises or Mystere.

“Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, but cash is reality”

Three things I love doing…
As a creative person, I thrive in the exciting process of product development for our upcoming ranges. Checking up on the sales figures, as I love seeing how the business is progressing and expanding. When I have a spare moment I also enjoy keeping up with our loyal followers on social media and in the press.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever had…

“Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, but cash is reality”

How I stay organized…

To do lists, keep track on notepads. Establishing a system to improve efficiency and dedicating the right tasks to the right people

Finally, the advice I’d give to girls looking to launch a business…

It’s imperative that you are passionate about what you do, starting a business is not a project for only a few months, sometimes it takes years to become established. You need to be prepared to take on a huge task. It’s a fascinating and exciting journey but by no means an easy ride.

  • Prerna Bhatt

    Great interview!

  • Gloria Ruto

    Excellent advice. I am new to this journey call being my own boss. I agree with you that passion is what drives motivation and success.
    As a working mother of 2 young children, having a system and balance is key.
    I now work to help others thrive during time of uncertainty!

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