Just like me, Sharmadean Reid studied a degree in Fashion Communication and so we both share a passion for the fashion industry. As a strong advocate of gender equality and female empowerment, she is a role model within the beauty industry and an ideal representative to help tackle many struggles it has been facing since the covid-19 pandemic.
Reid’s fashion journey began at Central Saint Martin’s where she studied a degree in Fashion Communication and Promotion. After graduating, she worked at Arena Homme Plus as Sportswear Editor, and later on as a stylist for Nike. By 2015, Reid had been awarded an MBE in 2015 for her services to Beauty and Women and soon after decided to create her very own beauty empire, to continue her mission to empower the beauty sector.
Reid’s empire began with the opening of a nail salon in East London, which she called ‘WAH nails’. The idea was to give women a place to "hang out, make friends and build a community" whilst being able to "have whatever they wanted on their nails". It opened in August 2009, and has now been attended by celebrities such as Serena Williams and Margot Robbie. When asked about her vision for the business, she initially said she had no vision and that it was merely an interesting side project which she was pursuing. However, as time went on, she began to realise through running the salon, the key factors which can hold women back in life.
Reid also said she enjoyed creating a space for women to come together and truly share their experiences, stating she believed there was ‘no other place like it.’ Therefore, the beauty industry has enabled her to connect with women with similar aspirations and goals to her.
In 2017, Reid created a beauty platform which she coined ‘The Beauty Stack’. This creative space aimed to support clients and professionals within the beauty industry. When asked what inspired her to start it, she responded with:
“I was really inspired by the nail artists in my salon who really wanted to learn how to grow their careers, but didn’t quite know how”.
Therefore, she created the Beauty Stack as a solution to help them do this.
Everything was going well and Reid was making progress and managing to gradually fulfil her goals she had to set out to achieve. However… then December 2020 arrived and the pandemic hit…
Unfortunately, the beauty industry suffered considerably from this due to the complete loss of customers and therefore stable income caused by lockdown. Consequently, Reid came up with a solution to try and help in some way.
Using Beauty Stack as a foundation, she decided to create ‘The Stack World’. This was an online platform which aimed “to help women find economic power through giving them knowledge, a network, and tools to grow”. Built on five key pillars of beauty, wellness, business, culture and society, Stack World aims to connect like-minded women, creating a space for them to inspire one another and share their ideas.
As Reid puts it, “business has always been my vehicle for social change, but I think without Society we will just continue to build businesses that don't consider the whole world and I think Wellness is key for Founders to maintain high performance”.
Although it´s still early to accurately judge the extent of the platform’s success, Reid is optimistic, stating “women are telling me that our content has helped them raise funding, or meet a new hire, or get new clients, so I'm grateful”.
To wrap up our inspiring conversation with Reid, we of course had to bring it back to the bees. We first asked her who her Queen Bee was, to which she exclaimed “Oprah!” Finally, we asked “Would your tipple be a honey whisky or honey Vodka?”, to which she replied without any hesitation “Whisky every time!”
Written by Beatriz