INTRODUCING: Sharmadean Reid
Entrepreneur Sharmadean Reid is an industry disruptor and all round inspirational Boss Bitch. The former stylist and brand consultant has spent the last ten years changing the landscape of the beauty industry, first with her iconic nail bar WAH nails, launched in 2009 and now with her latest venture Beautystack - the app that connects users with beauty professionals, providing a ‘see-it, like-it, book-it’ end to end service.
Oh, and she’s also found the time to write two books, launched www.futuregirlcorp.com and received an MBE from HRH the Queen. Feel like an underachiever yet - we do!
We visited Sharmadean at her London Beautystack HQ and chatted beauty, business, fashion and tech…
You use technology to empower women. What’s the coolest thing technology-wise you’ve seen lately that you think will add real value to women’s lives?
I'm very much into bio hacking and tracking your data to make better informed decisions about your life. Womens hormones are constantly in motion and its important we listen to what our body is telling us. My fave app to do this is Moody Month. I can log my moods and it corroborates them with my period and the weather to remind me how to look after myself.
You started a magazine; WAH a hip hop magazine for girls while you were at uni. What did you study at uni? And how important to you think it is for women to get university educations?
I studied Fashion Communication and Promotion at Central St Martins and I think University is extremely important for critical thinking. It creates a space where you are allowed to focus deeply on a task and put yourself and your work up for feedback and review. You have to learn to listen to multiple opinions, arguments and theories and i think these diplomacy skills are super essential for life.
Your bio says Nike headhunted you out of uni! That’s amazing… and the dream really. What did you do to stand out to Nike?
I think I was just one of the few women at the time who loves streetwear and sportswear. Also, my fashion degree set my apart in that I straddled both worlds. Streetwear wasn't as mainstream as it is now. I loved hanging out in Soho around the skate and sneaker shops in 2003. I was just eager and interested and had a unique mesh of styles at the time.
"My version of success is feeling secure enough to be able to think freely."
WAH Nails started as a side project. At what point did you know you had a viable business and make the decision to devote yourself full-time to it?
When the customers demanded it! We had so many booking and press that I just had to make a decision to focus on it and I didnt want to let the clients of the team down.
You’ve been awarded an MBE from HRH the Queen for your contribution to the beauty industry. Can you talk about your version of success? What does it look like to you? And has it changed from your 20’s to 30’s?
My version of success is feeling secure enough to be able to think freely. So its a success of the mind and not feeling oppressed there. But also the financial security to be able autonomy in managing my time and choices.
You’ve got a lot on your plate – Beautystack and you started Future Girl Corp to share your journey and mentor young female entrepreneurs and a young son. Truthfully, how much time do you spend own personal beauty regime?
I spend little time getting ready in the morning. I can be up and out in 15 mins or so. But of course I love getting treatments on Beautystack. Even then I have little time I so ytry and make Saturday mornings my sacred me time!
What do like about House of Holland? Can you describe who you think the House of Holland customer is?
I think the House of Holland customer is global, fun and has a self security that makes her walk with her head high. I love it because it's cool and the cuts just work. The jackets work for me big time!
You’re wearing pieces from our pre-fall collection, why did you chose this pieces, what do you love about them?
I love how EXTRA they are! I spend a lot of time in my office so I like to stand out when I can. The dresses are sexy while being cool for work and the suit.... ah i love a suit!!!
What do you love doing when you’re not working? What does your downtime look like?
Ummmm... getting beauty treatments, reading, doing BIG walks around London parks and seeing an exhibition. I'm in love with London so I like exploring hidden spots.
We love you at HOH! We see you being the first black, female PM. Seriously, you’d be great! Would you do it???
I'm definitely focussed on seeing Beautystack all the way to be a global company that powers millions of female beauty entrepreneurs. But after that? Who knows...
All images taken by photographer @mattlainphoto