Soho Speaks - an Evening with Sharmadean Reid at Wah London

Soho Speaks is a series of free in-store talks by the people behind independent brands established in Soho. The Series started on 14 September 2017 and a total of 5 talks are taking place.

Out of the 5 talks, I really wanted to hear Sharmadean Reid talk; she is the founder of Wah Nails. While the tickets are free, they were allocated via ballot and I was lucky enough to get tickets.

Despite leaving in relatively good time from work, the Central Line decided to screw me over, so taking an alternative route to Soho meant I was 20 minutes late. I arrived flustered and ended up having to stand for the entire talk as there was no space to sit: Wah London is quite compact. However it was worth it.

Sharmadean talked about how Wah Nails came to be, from its roots in Dalston where it had contributed to the gentrification of the area, to having a concession stand at Topshop, motherhood and taking a break, to re-investing in Wah and ultimately finding a new home for Wah Nails (Wah London) in Soho. After the main talk was a Q & A, which I felt allowed the audience to really get an insight in Sharmadean, her attitude to work and her thoughts on being a business woman. She had a lot to say and I took away the following:

On Business, Parenthood and Social Media

  • She attributes her business acumen in part to her being taught Business Studies from the beginning of her secondary schooling as opposed to starting to study such at GCSE level.
  • She has strong family values; she has a strong network of family and friends in both Wolverhampton (where she is from) and London to assist childcare. It is hard work, but she embraced motherhood; Sharmadean told a story about how she actually had to bring her son to a photoshoot because there was no one to watch over him; she did the models’ nails and looked after her son. Where there is will, there is a way! 
  • Sharmadean stated that while we live in an era where women can be successful working mothers, we do have to make a lifestyle choice to make sure that motherhood and working life is balanced as much as possible. She is more Mum than Party Girl these days.
  • She was also very vocal on the importance of fathers being present in their child’s/children’s lives; after all women don’t make babies by themselves. Even if you have split from your partner, where possible, share the childcare as equally as possible.
  • On social media, Sharmadean shared that not all social media is suitable; she had tried YouTube and found that it did not work for her or her business. Be selective about what social media platforms can be used to enhance the business or your career.


 On Personal Growth and Development

  • There is no longevity in just using your looks alone; your mind will last longer so spend time developing and nurturing it
  • Sharmadean said that she spends a lot of time reflecting; she explained that sometimes people don’t allow themselves to think about what they want as opposed to what they need. It has to work both ways, and it is good to question yourself from time to time.
  • She also said that she spends time reading and learning; recommended book mentioned during the talk included Start Up CEO, The Hard Thing and Hard Things  and Managing Humans, especially as Wah Nails has become successful enough for her to start managing a team of people.


Sharmadean stated that she actually wasn’t a fan of the term (I agree with her) as it seems like strategic friendship. Connecting with people should natural and if it happens to yield results for your business/career then that is a bonus. That being said, she also advised:

  • Be interested in People; take genuine interest in them and not just what they can do for you/your career or business. A genuine interest begets genuine connections that last a lot longer that a 5 minute chat and exchange of business cards or LinkedIn profiles
  • If you are in your 20s, try to go out as often as you can; to meet as many people as possible
  • If you are shy, try to talk to at least 3 people at any social event, and keep it casual
  • While you should be attracted to like-minded people, beware of social climbers.

Sharmadean’s Mantras:

  • “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it”
  • “I’m not everyone, I’m Someone”. 

Other brands based in Soho will be giving talks every Thursday until 19 October 2017. If you are interested in attending then you can sign up to the ballot on This is Soho; hopefully you will get tickets and get to be part of an amazing!


  1. wow this looks like an informative conference!

  2. Wow this sounded like such a cool talk and I love how you documented it here. I've heard a bit about WAH Nails and the woman behind it before but this was so interesting to read. She sounds really cool and I love her mantras, they are definitely great ones to live by!



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