From macro-economics to manicures: how I started my business at uni

Entering the world of entrepreneurship straight from university might seem like a daunting leap, but for me, it was an exciting adventure waiting to unfold.

Mad about manis

My journey began with a deep passion for nails that started when I was just 16. I found myself spending all my pocket money on nail care and treating myself to manicures. This love for nails stuck with me throughout university, where I decided to take things to the next level by becoming a certified nail technician. Balancing my newfound skill with my studies, I graduated with a first-class degree in Economics.

Stepping into the professional world, I kick-started my career as a Project Lead in the payments industry. The fast-paced corporate environment and high-stakes projects were my everyday playground. However, that didn’t stop my entrepreneurial ambitions. I realized there was a gap in the beauty industry, particularly for nail technicians who faced challenges like dealing with no-shows and spending excessive time on client communication.

Nailing it

This realization led to the birth of Polishpad. I envisioned a platform that would empower nail technicians, simplify their daily tasks, and elevate their businesses. Polishpad isn’t just a booking system; it’s a holistic tool designed with a deep understanding of the beauty industry’s needs.

One of the key problems we set out to solve with Polishpad was the lack of flexibility and customization in existing booking systems. Many generic platforms cater to a wide range of industries, but they often overlook the specific needs of niche markets like the nail industry. In essence, while other booking systems may be likened to aspirin, providing a generalized solution, Polishpad acts more like antibiotics, specifically targeting and tackling the precise issues faced by nail technicians.

From the outset, our focus has been on creating a user-friendly platform that streamlines the booking process and minimizes administrative tasks, allowing our users to focus on what they do best – delivering exceptional nail services.

Reflecting on the journey so far, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with Polishpad. Our platform has garnered positive feedback from users across the nail community, and we’ve seen first-hand the transformative impact it has had on the businesses of our clients. From solo nail technicians to individuals seeking a smarter, more efficient way to manage their appointments and grow their clientele, Polishpad has become the go-to solution. 

Helping hands

However, the road to success has not been without its challenges. As a non-technical founder, navigating the technical aspects of building and maintaining a digital platform has been particularly tough. I’ve encountered numerous obstacles along the way, from grappling with web development issues to learning the intricacies of software architecture. There were times when I felt overwhelmed and doubted whether I had what it takes to see my vision through.

Yet, if there’s one thing I’ve learned on this journey, it’s the importance of perseverance and seeking support from others. Finding your tribe of like-minded individuals who believe in your vision and are willing to lend a helping hand can make all the difference. Additionally, having a mentor to guide you through the ups and downs can provide invaluable insight and wisdom.

Final thoughts

Launching Polishpad was more than creating a booking system; it was about building a community, fostering creativity, and contributing to the growth of an industry that I hold dear. The journey has been inspiring, and the possibilities for Polishpad’s future are limitless. It’s more than a career path; it’s a commitment to empowering individuals in the beauty industry and making a lasting impact on the way they operate and succeed.

Abi Bright – Founder and CEO of Polishpad

With a background in finance, Bright has worked for several high profile companies within the global financial sector since graduating with a First Class degree in Economics. She used this experience to establish Polishpad in 2019, an online booking platform for nail technicians across the UK.


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