Sharon Trickett is not your average nail tech. This London-based mobile nail artist known as Minnie Moons makes her living off of a single nail style, and in so doing has built a successful niche business that even boasts a celebrity clientele.
For Sharon Trickett, it has always been about a vintage look. “My wardrobe contains pieces from the ’30s to the late ’50s. I adore the cut and detailing in late ’30s dresses and I have a particular passion for ’40s Western wear. Vintage shopping is a complete addiction,” she admits. Her embodiment of vintage style stretches beyond her clothing, shoes, and even furniture, as the nail professional even possesses homeware, art, music, films, and an affection for dance from eras past. “But that attention to detail is what led me to thinking about nails. I enjoy helping my clients take that authenticity to the next level.”
By specializing in half-moon manicures, Trickett’s mobile nail business known as Minnie Moons, is a niche service with broad appeal. While many of Trickett’s clients share their nail tech’s style of pin curls and red lipstick, the resurgence of the half-moon mani’s popularity brings in all sorts of clients. “I think stylish nails appeal to anyone with an interest in style and fashion. I notice that when someone has their nails painted, they carry themselves in a different way,” says Trickett about her clientele. A look at social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram proves that the half-moon is as popular as ever and Trickett credits modern day vintage champions like Dita Von Teese and shoe designer Charlotte Olympia for bringing this look back to the forefront of fashion. “Charlotte Olympia is one of my favorite clients — not because of her status, but because she is a like-minded gal with a love of old-fashioned glamour. She appreciates that class never goes out of fashion,” says Trickett.
One of shoe designer Charlotte Olympia’s “moonicures.” Image via @charlotte_olympia on Instagram.
Another possible explanation for the half-moon’s burgeoning popularity is the endless ways in which this design can be customized. The traditional half-moon manicure, or what Trickett has branded the “moonicure,” is where a half-moon is left bare at the base of the nail (the lunula) while the rest of the nail is painted to the tip. The shape of this nail is classically almond, which Trickett prefers for a flattering and elegant look, but the modern day half-moon can take on any shape and color combo. “Red shades with either bare moons or silver glitter moons are my most requested combos, but I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with different colors and textures on clients who are game! I will often match their nails with their outfit for the evening,” says Trickett.
A Valentine’s Day moonicure. Image via @minnie_moons on Twitter.
Trickett’s obsession with all things vintage and nails have led to an impressive collection of manicure artifacts. “I have a large collection of old lacquer adverts from magazines, which has been a great source of information when it came to research. I also collect old polish bottles — the designs are like little works of art — something you’d really want on your dressing table compared to the bottle shapes of today. One of my favorite items is a pair of original cardboard stands advertising Duragloss, they are fabulous and cost me a lot of money, but it was worth it! They were found in an old chemist shop that had remained closed and untouched since the ’40s. I have a very cute collection of novelty travel manicure sets and am delighted with each new find. One is shaped like a little suitcase with tiny travel stickers on it, and another is made to look like a leather-bound book! The latter was sent to me by a friend who found it in a flea market in Germany,” says the nail tech-turned-collector who finds many items on eBay or at flea markets in London. Her growing collection of nail antiques further solidifies Minnie Moons as a unique nail experience and business.
Trickett’s ever-growing collection of manicure artifacts. Photo Credit: Hanson Leatherby
However, Trickett’s intent is not to house these items in a salon (she enjoys the freedom of being a mobile nail tech and believes visiting clients at home adds a personal touch), but rather to learn from them. Her biggest piece of advice to any nail tech looking to establish a niche business is, “Research, research, and more research! A venture needs to be as unique as possible to stand out. You need to make sure your business is grounded in real passion and expertise and not to appear as if you are jumping on any bandwagon.”
Even Trickett’s business cards have a vintage feel. She advertises her work as “Vintage-style moonicures for Deco dames.” Photo Credit: Tony Nylons
Plenty seem to be jumping onto Trickett’s bandwagon, as the nail tech brings her services to vintage stores and festivals in the U.K., Sweden, and Germany. A few festival organizers in the U.S. have contacted Trickett, who hopes to make her first stateside appearance soon. An upcoming book, “Style Me Vintage: Accessories” by Naomi Thompson and Liz Tregenza will also feature her. Trickett’s emerging popularity as an authority on vintage style will only help her business. With nail icons such as Carmen Miranda, Anna May Wong, Joan Crawford, and Renée Perle (“You’d be hard pushed to find a photo of them without their nails painted,” she says) Trickett is constantly reminded that doing something interesting with one’s nails can keep you ahead of the times.
Photo Credit: Hanson Leatherby
And right now doing something interesting could mean a return to that golden age of nail lacquer, half-moons, and dry time. “We are in so much of a hurry these days and want everything right now, but beauty is something to take time and pride in,” she says. Ultimately, it’s the marching to the beat of her own drum and returning to classic nail care that attracts clients and helps her keep them. “Everyone seems to be going crazy here in London for nail extensions or overlays, but I find a great deal more satisfaction in helping a client to grow her own nails with regular manicures and changing her habits to include simple additions to her beauty regimen such as cuticle oil and washing up gloves.” It is this commitment to individual style that ensures Minnie Moons will have major staying power.
An example of a modern day moonicure. Image via @minnie_moons on Twitter.
Creating the Perfect Moonicure
> Shape the nail into an almond silhouette because it gives the illusion of longer nails and slender fingers.
> Although she is trained in gel and acrylic, Trickett’s preferred medium is nail lacquer. “It’s kindest to the nails and though it may take longer to dry, I think there’s something about the ritual of waiting for it to dry — that forced relaxation time that can make every woman feel a little more like a movie star.”
> When it comes to color, red is a classic and most associated with a vintage look, but Trickett is careful to point out that her collection of old nail polish advertisements features a variety of colors. “I think because most of the photos we see of the Hollywood starlets at the time are in black and white we assume their nails were red. But if you want to keep it truly authentic stay away from any shimmer or glitter,” she advises.
> The most important tools in the moonicure arsenal are a steady hand and making sure each layer of lacquer isn’t too thick. “I paint the moon/tips first as opposed to adding them later. This is especially important with tips so as to minimize the thickness of the polish that is most exposed to chipping. The thinner the layers, the more durable the finish.”