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Talent Emerging: The Lacquer Lab

Over the recent years, the ‘look-at-me’ mani (a term coined by yours truly) has only grown in popularity – even your favourite minimalist can’t say no to a bit of nail art, be it an all-white look with a subtle black dot or a flat out Andy Warhol piece on the nail. Let’s face it, nail art has become a common thread amongst us ladies who pride ourselves on hand image; it is also the easiest and often cheapest way to instantly upgrade an outfit when you have the time. Introducing The Lacquer Lab, a London-based nail brand that has recently entered the scene with a range of exciting new nail-friendly collections, encouraging you to get your talons well and truly out there. We have all had those devastating moments when removing that 99p nail polish you picked up to reveal only a sad and discoloured nail, well thanks to TLL, no more! I caught up with brand founder Emily Valentine to talk the peak and pits of the nail scene and why TLL is the new nail brand to get your claws in.

Planet Notion: How did The Lacquer Lab come about?
Emily Valentine: I have worked in beauty advertising for sometime; although I studied fashion at uni nothing gives me more pleasure than finding the perfect product that works for you. Whether it’s a skin cream, mascara or the perfect nail polish shade…
I’m a fairly creative person and was getting little job satisfaction with not enough opportunity to be creative in my everyday role so I though fuck it! Chucked it all in and threw myself headfirst into mixing nail lacquers. I’ve never been busier in my life but I wouldn’t trade it for anything because I get 100% job satisfaction everyday, and that’s priceless.

PN: When you started experimenting with lacquers, what did you feel the UK nail scene was missing?
EV: Indie nail polishes are making waves on the nail scene. We are pioneering ethical, 5free nail polishes which are free of five nasty and unnecessary chemicals that go into many leading brands (formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DPB, Camphor and toluene). As a small brand with fashion at its heart we have the ability to react quickly to trends in fashion and channel them into our lacquers without having to deal with outside suppliers and red tape. It’s fast, fun and reactive!

PN: Who is The Lacquer Lab for?
EV: All those die-hard nail addicts as well as the girls that want fashion on their fingers. We pride ourselves on the luxury nature and ethical background of our brand. But most of all we want to have fun and provide people with products that are good.

PN: What’s your secret to a long-lasting manicure?
EV: Any good nail artist will tell you that it is all in the preparation. Buff and file, add a good base coat, at least two coats of colour and a solid topcoat. And the most important bit is the most boring, DON’T DO ANYTHING until your mani is dry otherwise you will have done all that hard work for nothing.

PN: What nail trends are you seeing right now?
EV: Nudes aren’t going anywhere. We just dropped our Naked Ladies Collection; 4 x luxe-creme and 2 x pearl silk lacquers all created with an iconic naked lady in mind. That’s what makes our brand so fun, humour is at the centre of everything!

PN: Any nail pet peeves?
EV: Sloppy nail art.

PN: What have been the highlights for you guys so far?
EV: I recently met Sharmadean Reid, founder of WAH nails at her monthly WAH Power Lunches. I got to show her what we were doing and she loved it. She is also a massive advocate of young beauty start-ups. We now have our polishes in the WAH salon at Topshop Oxford Circus so all you girls can have a mani done with one of our lacquers. That was a big deal.

PN: How do you come up with a range of collections/what inspires these?
EV: Anything and everything can inspire me. A can of soda pop, the colour of somebody’s sock – I am always walking up to objects and wrapping them around my finger to see whether it would make a sick nail lacquer.

PN: Do you see yourself branching out into a salon?
EV: That would be an amazing thing to do. At The Lacquer Lab we pride ourselves on customer service so to be able to offer people our services as well as products would be a dream. It is certainly something we are thinking about.

PN: Who do you always feel has amazing nails? Could be anyone in the limelight…
EV: Rita Ora is very brave with her nail choices, I like that. It tends to be musicians who rock an adventurous mani but there is something to be said for all the girls rocking the understated nail as well.

PN: What can we expect from you guys in the future?
EV: We started with nail lacquer but that’s just the beginning.  As a beauty blogger as well, I have a lipstick addiction and would love to work on a line of lipsticks. Needless to say we have a few ideas up our sleeve.

- Hardeep Gill



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