Janey Meets: Nail Artist Tracey Ede – ‘They Call Me the Glitter Queen’

Lots of us love having our nails done, and nail art is one of the most popular choices for women in their forties and beyond who want to change careers.

We spoke to Hertfordshire based salon owner Tracey Ede of Nails of Eden to get the lowdown on why so many of us pick this as a job, what’s really involved and how to make the switch successfully.

Tracey Ede

When did you decide to go into nail art?

I was made redundant twelve years ago from a role in the travel industry.  My mum had owned a salon when I was younger and I’d qualified then, but even when I was working in travel I stayed up-to-date with current trends.

Nail art was really taking off at that point, and becoming something lots of women considered ‘essential’ rather than an occasional treat, so I decided to give it a go on my own.

How did you get started?

I did a refresher course, then started by letting everyone I had done nails for previously that I was available.  It was a lot of challenging work, at that point I was mobile, so I’d travel to people’s houses all over the county for work.

Over time the business grew and we had some extra space, so I decided to convert it into my own little salon – and the rest as they say is history!

What does a ‘day in your life’ look like?

I start quite early.  I can often be at the salon from early morning until 9pm and beyond so I’m conscious about my health.

I’ll usually have a smoothie, supplemented with spirulina, a banana and loads of water (as well as coffee).  I’m exposed to tons of bugs and germs in the salon so I also have a Menopause supplement, vitamin c and a raspberry ketone supplement to help with my diet!

I head to the salon and from there it’s go-go-go all day.

My clients are so varied – some are young girls bought in by mum for their first ever manicures, some are busy professional women, or young mums needing a lift.  I even have women in their eighties who value looking glamorous.

Everyone is very different so it’s usually a completely distinctive look for each.

The job can be very tiring – you must be ‘on’ all day and like people – there’s nothing a nail artist doesn’t get to find out about and I find people need to ‘offload’ so it’s important to be great listener, but also to be able to let that go at the end of the day.

I’ll usually walk the dog between clients – it’s so key to get out and about and keep moving when you sit down for extended periods, then I usually finish between 7 and 9pm.   That’s when I must sit and make sure I’m staying up to date with trends though (although I don’t do this every day) and there’s always paperwork to do so every day tends to be very busy.

I head to the salon and from there it’s go-go-go all day.

tracey two

What’s your favourite bit of the job?

I love the talking.  It’s such a social job and you really get to learn about people – and see them through all their changes. It’s a privilege really.  It’s also fun doing the newer stuff – there are some amazing formulas and trends out there now and I’ve got some experimental clients who tell me what they want to try – it’s never boring!

They call me the ‘glitter queen’ because I do love a bit of sparkle, so getting to play with lovely shimmery colours is a bonus as well (laughs).

What are the current trends you’re loving?

I’m LOVING the mermaid and unicorn trends.  The dusts we use to burnish nails are almost holographic and so pretty.  It’s summer so loads of my clients are picking neon-bright colours, which makes everyone leave with a great big smile on their face.

We’re about to head towards new season styles though and there are some gorgeous bronzes coming through which I think everyone will love!

I’m LOVING the mermaid and unicorn trends

How do you keep up to date?

Instagram has been amazing – there is so much inspiration and creativity shared out there so I love a good ‘gram.

The brands I use do some great trend updates seasonally and my customers are fab at telling me what’s coming through that they want to try! It’s all about listening to people and staying aware of what’s out there!

tracey 5

What are the challenges?

Finding new customers in the early days is always a big challenge – I attended every wedding fair, school fete and charity event going and no job was ever too big or small.  You must be prepared to go anywhere and see anyone to make your reputation.

Now it’s tiredness.  Long days and lots of things to remember take their toll. I’m conscious of making sure I get enough rest, eat healthily and move my body where possible to combat it.

What’s next for you?

I’m going to keep going forever!  I do think I’d like to move into teaching at some point which would be a fantastic opportunity to share my skills.

What are your top tips for women looking to make a start in the industry?

  • Choose a great course to learn from and be prepared to work hard.  This job is great but it takes a long time to build a customer base.
  • Understand your costs versus what you’re making.  Don’t buy everything going, unless you really need it.
  • Follow everyone you can on Instagram and try and promote your own work wherever possible
  • Learn as much as you can, wherever you can
  • Get great at networking – be friendly and open to all opportunities.
  • Try and build up your client base while you’re still at another job to take the financial pressure off

nails by tracey


Nails include Bio sculpture in shade no 208 – turn up the volume and Magpie Dust which is burnished into tacky nails (Magpie ‘don’t be tacky’ is ideal).

You can follow Tracey here >


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