DESPITE launching and running two hugely successful nail businesses, Tammy Koslowski admits it was only recently that she began to view herself as an entrepreneur.

“People often underestimate young women in the beauty industry,” says the Glasgow-based 31-year-old. “It took a while to become confident as a businesswoman, but now I can stand shoulder to shoulder with blokes in suits.”

Indeed she can. The NAF! brand already employs 25 people across the city-centre salon and online cuticle oil businesses, and is about to launch a third arm in the form of a nail academy.

Currently, the salon is closed due to the coronavirus. But Ms Koslowski is using the time constructively to press ahead with ambitious preparations for the opening of her bespoke education centre in the city’s south side.

She says: “We’ve been working hard to keep the team motivated and prepare to re-open the salon, hopefully in summer. Lockdown has also given me time to hone the plans for the academy - it’s actually a really exciting time for the business.”

Originally from Stirling, Ms Koslowski studied fashion and started creating nail designs for her friends as a hobby. When her designs went viral on social media, she began creating products commercially, before opening the NAF! nail bar four and a half years ago. Since then it has gone from strength to strength.

Never one to rest on her laurels, Ms Koslowski spotted an opportunity to share her skills and experience with others, while giving her own workers a more defined career path.

“I always thought there was gap in market for a nail academy focused on the design-conscious approach that we take. There’s a whole new generation of nail techs that learned on You Tube and Instagram. It’s a very creative art form, but it also has commercial potential - nail bars were the seventh most popular start-up in the UK last year.

“There is definitely room for a new way of teaching nail art. As products and techniques advance, education needs to as well. And that’s where our academy comes in.

“This is a female-dominated industry and I wanted to find new ways to help women, not least my own staff, progress. Many work with me but want to strike out on their own, especially when they need flexibility due to family responsibilities. The school is all about giving women the skills, both in nail design and business management, that will help them build successful careers.”

Ms Koslowski credits the RBS accelerator hub in Glasgow with helping equip her with the entrepreneurial skills needed to run three businesses.

She says: “The help I’ve got from the hub has been absolutely vital. I didn’t grow up around entrepreneurs so I’ve had to learn everything from scratch and grow from the ground up.

“Learning to pitch was particularly invaluable. The team of mentors you get access to is just incredible. The help and advice I got from them was key to winning our £100,000 Scottish Edge Award funding.

“With the hub you really have to put in the work, attend all the meeting and events. But if you do, the rewards for your business are immense.”

The ambitious entrepreneur says every day in business brings new challenges and opportunities to learn.

“It takes time, but I’m finally learning to delegate, to let other people make mistakes,” she explains. “I’m realising that I can’t fix everything for everybody. I need to provide the people around me the skill set to do the task - that will make me a better boss and a better businesswoman.”