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Mon, May 14, 2012
The Business Times
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Match your nails - with everything
by Debbie Yong

Bored with blank walls while waiting for your nails to dry? Check out three new salons where you can relax, shop and dine while getting your beauty fix.

41 Beach Road 6333-9096
Open: (Mon - Sat) 11am-9pm; (Sun) 11am - 4pm

If you've ever been frustrated over finding the perfect nail varnish or nail art to match your latest dimpled ostrich skin or glycine-toned "It" bag, Manicurious should come as a welcome salve for your sartorial woes.

At the newly minted nail parlour/cafe/boutique, skilled manicurists can craft, on the spot, customised designs after just a quick peep at your bags, clothes or shoes.

Or you can even pick up a new watch to match your freshly done nails if you prefer.

The 1,600 sq ft space opened last September as a nail salon, took on a cafe section two months ago and will officially double as the first Singapore concept store for American cult watch brand Nooka from next week.

The multi-concept lifestyle store will pivot on tie-ups between beauty and fashion labels.

For the month of May, for example, Manicurious is collaborating with home-grown label Actually to offer a 10 per cent discount on nail services for customers who patronise either of Actually's boutiques just around the corner on Purvis Street and Seah Street.

Customers can also choose from nail art specially created to complement the label's latest collection.

The retail section takes up the store's front half, where an entire side wall showcases the full range of Nooka products ranging from a $50 silicon cardholder to a $480 Zizm Zenh watch.

The centre shelves and opposite wall carry jewellery, bags and other trinkets from local designers like L'ile aux Ashby, Mrkt, Byinviteonly and Beavertansy, as well as overseas cult labels like Waiting for the Sun and Ksubi.

Prices range from $10 for a handmade notebook from Beavertansy to $300 for a pair of Waiting for the Sun sunglasses.

Adhering to the store's pledge to present "many curious things in many curious ways", retail items are curated according to three philosophies: they have to be unique, relevant and thoughtful, says co-owner Shawn Tan, who also runs a design agency, Dffrnt.

The 28-year-old set up Manicurious with two of his former schoolmates from the Singapore Management University.

And lest you think it odd for three straight men in their late-20s to be passionate about beauty and fashion, co-owner Wong Yi Jin, it turns out, is far from a newbie to the beauty industry.

He runs a three-year-old company that imports and distributes beauty products like German skincare label Biodroga, South African nailcare line Bio Sculpture Gel, and French fragrance brand Acantha across Singapore and Malaysia - all of which are stocked at Manicurious on top of the usual suspects like OPI and Spa Organics.

"As suppliers, we have no say over how products are presented and used by the salons or spas we work with.

Since we are carrying brands that we think are worth investing our time and effort in, we thought why not have a retail front that we can have full control over, and that will also give customers a place to associate our brands with," he says of Manicurious's nail section, which is outfitted with quirky tables and cheerily coloured sofas from local vintage furniture store Lorgan's.

There's also a hidden agenda: "Since we're single, what better way is there to meet women than to get them to come to us, and as a captive audience," Mr Tan adds with a laugh.

"It's the perfect chance for us to talk to the women - while they're waiting for their nails to dry."

This article was first published in The Business Times.


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