Lowdown: Q&A with WAH Nails’ founder, Sharmadean Reid

Sharmadean Reid is founder of WAH, once a hip-hop zine and now a futuristic London nail salon, and co-founder of Future Girl Corp, a business network for women.

9 Jun 2017

Sum up what you do.

I have loads of ideas and find the best people to execute them.

Why did you decide to get into nail art?

I set up WAH because I thought it would be a fun thing to do with my mates – I didn’t realise it would be a game-changing trend and a cool business.

When were you last surprised by something?

I’m always surprised that people keep coming to the salon and that nail art hasn’t become a dead fad.

What’s the best ever invention?

Google Maps API.

Does modern capitalism work?

Yes, as long as it’s 50/50 with creativity.

What would you go big on if you became PM?

Childcare. It’s such a massive barrier for economic progress in this country. If women could go and do what they want, the whole country would benefit. And it’s not just a female problem. I share [my son] Roman 50/50 with his dad. He also has to go to work and has exactly the same problem.

What would you outlaw?

Advertising. It’s basically the biggest cause of anxiety in society today.

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

Elon Musk; Beyoncé; Richard Rumelt, author of Good Strategy/Bad Strategy.

What’re your bucket list destinations?

Santiago, Chile; Cambodia; Big Sur, California.

One thing you read or did recently that you’d recommend?

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. I bloody love this book!

It’s about how to market high technology products to mass consumers. Plus, a facial by
Pfeffer Sal.

Where would you like to go in our time machine?

1970s LA, where for the first time it was pretty cool to be black.

If we hit ‘most listened to’ on your music, what would come up?

Lil’ Kim – Big Momma Thang.

Favourite app?


Best person you follow on social media?

I don’t really look at other people’s accounts – I just look at my own, like a diary.

Who’s your hero?

I don’t have one – they always disappoint. Every hero is human and fallible.

What superpower do you wish you had?

To be able to naturally respond to how everyone’s feeling in the most appropriate way possible.

What’s your death row meal?

Jerk chicken, rice and peas with coleslaw and plantain.

Do you have any regrets?

None whatsoever. Every single thing I’ve done has led me to where I am right now. If I’d worked harder in my 20s, I wouldn’t be as cultured and connected as I am now. If I hadn’t been through hard times, I wouldn’t be as resilient.