A fully funded nail industry initiative has been launched by Bristol-based nail pro, Nathan Taylor, to support marginalised nail enthusiasts.

After exploring a number of vocations, admitting that the nail industry ‘was the only industry to keep me interested’, Nathan Taylor moved to Bristol and was offered the opportunity to enrol on a fully funded nail course, before launching successful home nail studio, Buff Bar Bristol.

While chronic illnesses have meant that Nathan has not been able to take on new clients, they have adjusted their focus to develop In Your Hands (IYH). This scholarship programme aims to provide marginalised people in the UK with resources such as workshops, mentoring and networking opportunities to start their own nail business.

In Your Hands Project seeks to remove financial barriers and support with setup costs, equipment, training, and mentoring.

“I was contacted by several marginalised people on social media, who asked if there was support to help them start their career in the nail industry,” Nathan reveals. “I was keen to use my experience to help others and ignite conversations surrounding industry inclusion, so launched IYH – an initiative which has been, and always will be, led by the people that need it.”

“Marginalised people are often underrepresented, not heard, seen or referenced, yet can make an incredible contribution to an industry’s history, culture and value.”

About IYH

IYH is creating a pipeline of diverse talent by offering a one-year training course, with support from a number of industry brands and organisations.

“IYH provides connections to receive industry recognised qualifications, and offers its own education, resources, equipment, networking events and mentoring schemes so its mentees can start their own nail art business,” Nathan reveals. “On successful completion, the trainees will not only qualify as nail technicians, but leave with professional contacts, an education in financial management, business insight and more.”

IYH training

The programme aims to support up to five mentees annually, and Nathan hopes to grow IYH to mentor as many marginalised nail enthusiasts as possible. “This can only happen once the project is established and we have secured significant funding,” they reveal.

On conceiving the idea of IYH, Nathan created a list of friends and brands to support with the ideas, tools and energy to make to programme a reality.

“Although I am a queer, mixed heritage, disabled, working class person who can recognise social and economic limitations that can leave marginalised people in the nail industry frustrated, I cannot understand the full complexities and nuances of all marginalised people. I need to constantly learn and research to allow my work to be relevant and successful.”

Nails by an IYH mentee

“On a daily basis, I work on the programme structure, partnerships, mentee outreach, research and development, social media management and more.”

Mentees

The mentees for this initial pilot of the IYH programme are helping to shape the project’s future. For future enrolment, a group comprising two current mentees, a representative from one of the IYH industry partners and an inclusion producer will deliberate applications.

IYH mentees and founder, Nathan Taylor

IYH and its industry partners will cover subjects including brand development, marketing, conflict resolution, business plan support, creative content creation and financial matters. “I hope that IYH mentees can step into the industry with the notion of togetherness, solidarity, support and a great understanding of not just their individual worth – but their power as a community,” Nathan adds.

“IYH has been launched to encourage and support the industry to change. It aims to pave a new culture within the nail industry to remove barriers and lead with compassion, empathy and accountability.”

“The programme aims to continuously advocate for inclusion and diversity, to develop environments in which our mentees can build confidence, learn and develop skills, and become financially independent.

“We hope to connect marginalised people within the industry by creating an environment in which relationships can develop and go on to be extremely supportive outside of the project.”

In Your Hands partners include:

Meet the mentees

Enrolled on the IYH pilot programme are Nicola ‘Ginger’ and Marcia ‘Jiggz’. Friends for almost two decades, the duo met as colleagues, and share a dream of launching a business together; an inclusive space for nail services.

Nicola ‘Ginger’ and Marcia ‘Jiggz’

“We are both committed to welcoming people from all walks of life, and to accommodate them and their needs as much as possible,” explains Nicola, who is neurodivergent and wishes to work in a calm, mindful space that is judgement-free.

“We had an idea of what we wanted to achieve from our Jiggz&Ginger nail business, but were unsure how to make it happen, which is where IYH stepped in.”

Nicola and Marcia initially contacted Nathan via Instagram, who offered support and the opportunity to be part of the IYH pilot.

“I currently work for a large chain grocery store where I feel really underappreciated, unheard and that am just a number,” shares Marcia. “Through IYH, I am realising my potential, discovering things about myself and learning so much. I finally feel that I am valued, have a voice and the power to do so much.

“IYH supports me where I find obstacles, and has introduced me to new methods to overcome my difficulties,” adds Nicola. “The programme has made me feel worthy, included, and part of a tailor-made experience, as one size definitely does not fit all.”

The duo has been working on a studio space for Jiggz&Ginger; laying flooring, building their own nail desks and designing an aesthetic, which they both deem as ‘so rewarding’.

Jiggz&Ginger studio

“The programme has had such a positive effect, personally and professional,” shares Marcia. “I am learning new things about myself and what I want to achieve, and my family can see that I am happier than ever.

“Nathan throws me in at the deep end but guides me so well, which is a great way for me to learn.”

Nails by an IYH mentee

“Being part of the IYH project enabled me to believe I can achieve anything,” adds Nicola. “It has reduced my self-doubt and fears concerning lack of financial support, time management and decision making.

“IYH has made me feel worthy, included and part of a tailor-made experience.”

Mentee benefits include:

  • An IYH certificate of programme completion.
  • A fully accredited nail course.
  • A full nail kit (including nail art materials & tools).
  • Student insurance.
  • Subscriptions & memberships to online resources.
  • Networking events.
  • Profiling opportunities across media platforms including Scratch.
  • Workshops & masterclasses.
  • Drop-in sessions with nail pros & brands.

To find out more about IYH and how you can support, send a message to: emailinyourhandsproject@gmail.com

Follow IYH Project on Instagram.

By Editor