From Humble Instagram Page To Household Name

A heart-warming Aussie success story, Chelsea Bagan turned her part-time hobby into a full-time dream when she launched her nail art business Trophy Wife in 2010. Starting out as a humble sideline and Instagram page, Chelsea soon realised that she had struck gold with an opportunity to fill a major gap in the market, as customer requests began flooding in.

Chelsea’s journey is just another testament to the power of social media, the ever-evolving nature of sharing, integration and technology, and how it can aid in the successful management of any brand. Starting your own business has never been easier, and there are countless systems and solutions to make every step that little bit easier for new entrepreneurs.

We spent some time with Chelsea to get the inside scoop on how her business went from Instagram page to household name, and systems she has in place to ensure a seamless client experience from beginning to end.

What prompted the career change?
I was working a full time corporate job, and was doing nail art on the side as a hobby. I had grand dreams of it becoming a full time gig, but didn’t really see it happening as there were no nail art salons in Australia at the time. I started using nail art as a kind of meditative creative outlet on my own nails and started posting them on Instagram. A few months in and people were getting in touch to ask me to do their nails. I threw everything in to it because it made me happy, and I have loved watching the business grow. I have always wanted to work for myself. At the time there was nothing quite like it in Australia, and I was a customer looking for it, so I had to create it myself.

What was your vision for Trophy Wife?
I wanted to create a relaxed environment, more like a living room than a salon, where people felt comfortable to come to, rather than it feeling like a stuffy sterile atmosphere. I was coming at nail technology with more of an art/design mind rather than a beauty therapy angle. I wanted people to be a part of the design process and to be able to be as expressive and creative as they wanted.

What is it that makes Trophy Wife unique?
We are like a family, our clients are friends, and we like to keep it a creative environment for our clients to express themselves. We offer totally custom designs and hand painted nail art. Kim K’s face? Your dog’s portrait? You name it, we’ve painted it.

What has been your greatest challenge so far?
Managing time and money is always difficult, and knowing how to work through quiet periods. For me it really reduces the pressure knowing that I have all these systems in place. For example, I use Timely for my bookings, which has online booking, this frees me up from answering the phone all the time. Square does all my reporting and helps me keep track of how I am going. It’s great to have more time to focus on customers.

What made you choose Square?
I was looking for a lower cost solution to traditional eftpos machines. I was spending so much money on bank fees, and found their systems to be quite outdated. Square streamlines my processes thanks to its additional POS system and reporting. Also LOVE the square stand, it’s minimal and easy to use and the clients are always intrigued by it.

How important is it for business owners to incorporate new technologies and systems?
VERY! If there’s one thing business owners need more of, its time. I think it’s important to take on new technologies to allow yourself more time to focus on growing your business. I also think it’s important to keep your eyes and mind open to new systems as there is always something that can help you and your business progress and evolve.

Do you feel as though new technologies have made it easier for entrepreneurs to start their journeys?
Definitely. The whole world is accessible now. Especially with social media, it has made it easier to research and learn.

How do you stay ahead of the competition?
I think it’s important to not try and outdo the competition all the time. Be authentic and walk your own path, don’t get distracted by someone else’s.

Any tips for others wanting to start their own beauty business? 
– Take your time, it’s ok to ease into it.
– Don’t be afraid to learn and try new things, and ask questions!


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