An Interview with the Nottingham-based nail art salon DORTA

Beth interviews Bethan, the founder of the first nail art salon in Notts.

If you are looking to get the nicest nails in Notts, it is well worth checking out DORTA, a nail art salon set up and run by Bethan in Hockley. This creative and inspiring young business owner spotted a gap in Nottingham’s nail industry last year and set up the first nail art salon in the city and is particularly popular amongst students for her more than reasonable prices and great discounts. Bethan had a chat with me all about her nail services.

How long have you been doing nails and nail art?

So I first trained as a manicurist just over 8 years ago now when I was 16, initially just to help my mum out as she had her own beauty business, so I was just an extra pair of hands when she needed it. And then I started to come across and copy nail art on Instagram, I think when I was around 17.

What made you want to set up your business in Nottingham?

I grew up in Nottingham and did’t initially intend to stay in Nottingham when I finished uni, but my mum was working on a new business herself and asked if I would be the manicurist. At that point I didn’t have any plans of setting up my own business as such, but it was a step to becoming self-employed which is something I have always wanted to do. Around July last year I was doing a lot of nail art for my friends which was leading to enquiries from other clients—and it was still difficult to find places offering nail art in Nottingham which I found really surprising!

Is there a meaning behind the name DORTA?

When I was developing my own brand, I wanted it to have some synergy with my mum’s company La Piel, not only because we were sharing the same space but because my brand was essentially born out of working with La Piel. I wanted my brand to be like the sister company to La Piel, or the ‘daughter’ company, and I thought ‘daughter’ sounds nice but the spelling is too fussy, so I tried simplifying it and that is how I came to Dorta.

How would you say your brand has developed over the years?

I’d say my style has definitely developed over the last year and a half and as I’ve grown as a person too (terribly cheesy I know!), but there are some designs which I’ve been doing for years and years such as the leopard print. And customer requests have definitely played a part that too! I love when clients bring their own ideas because it often opens my eyes to other areas and ideas I might not have seen before so it’s really great!

How would you say your designs are influenced? Would you say your work and your aesthetic is a reflection of your personality?

That is such a good question! I’d say my branding is a mixture of influences from brands which I admire and bits of my own tastes all mixed together. I’m very inspired by a bunch of New York Instagrammers and nail artists, and the idea of concept stores which a lot of brands are creating at the moment where they offer an experience rather than just a service. And then I deliberately chose a neutral tone as my main brand colour and simple font as I didn’t want to be overly branded, because I want people to feel as though they can put their own spin on things which is something I really encourage especially when choosing a design!

It sounds as though your business is as much of a passion to you as it is a career! So do you often recreate designs that influence you or would you say you’re more customer suggestion led?

I like to share my own design inspo a lot on Instagram stories and often clients will choose designs they’ve seen on there, or they’ll find their own ideas based on the sorts of things they’ve seen on my Instagram which is always lovely because it means they’ve been inspired themselves. More and more clients have been telling to do whatever I want recently which is always fun because we never know how it’s going to turn out!

Do you have any particular favourite designs to do?

Hmmm… I feel like I’m always changing which design is my fave! At the moment I do really love the geometric designs because they’re so versatile and every one looks different, but I also love painting the plants floral designs and the line drawings because they feel like such an achievement!

Is there a design that is most memorable to you? Maybe for being particularly challenging or out there?

So for a memorable design I would say this line drawing one is one I’m particularly proud of because it was the first time I’d ever even attempted a line drawing! It’s not an original design but that’s something I want to start doing with these styles. And then this tile design is probably one of the most challenging I’ve done but I loved it and definitely want to do more like it.

Wow, they’re both so beautiful! I can see why you’re so popular among locals and students! Finally, how do you hope to develop your business in coming years?

In terms of developing the business, I’d love to eventually open up my own space for nail treatments in Nottingham, as well as putting on events to really grow the message of taking care of yourself by doing something nice as that’s what’s at the very root of my business, so it would be amazing to have a space where people could come together and do something creative!

Bethan is located above Q Hairdressing in Hockley, Nottingham and offers a 10% discount to students!

Beth O’Neill

Featured Image courtesy of @_dorta_ via Instagram.

Main Images courtesy of @_dorta_ via Instagram.

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