In this part of our series, Kathryn Aedy (writer) and Alexandra Waespi (photographer) meet Huong at Nail Spa.
Huong’s salon has some customers coming in twice a week for touch ups or colour change. One regular visitor and lifelong Brixton resident, Theresa says: “Brixton is changing, but for the better, and this [Nail Spa] is the best place.” She credits the nice atmosphere that keeps people returning, while so many other businesses “come and go.” Having shopped around, Theresa has yet to find better quality for money – “Only 10 pounds for a proper manicure!”
Seven years after moving from Vietnam to London, having learned English by working as an
aesthetician as well as managing a busy coffee shop, Huong bought a hair salon from a friend and opened Nail Spa. Since then, it has been open every single day besides Christmas and New Years day. Each evening after leaving the salon, Huong checks in on her other business, Viet Rest restaurant on Deptford High Street before enjoying quality time with her husband and daughter.
Regardless of how many people are waiting their turn for a treatment, everyone and even prams manage to find room in the small, glowing, varnish-infused shop. As Theresa puts it, “they take their time but people wait, because it’s worth the wait.”
Huong and her co-worker and friend Lisa, reflect on how the neighbourhood they work in has become much friendlier and busier over the past 5 years. Huong says she is as grateful for the diversity of new tourists and residents as she is for people who have lived in the area for a long time, and is always happy to welcome walk-ins. Even as new high street shops begin to pop up all over Brixton, Huong is certain that Nail Spa will continue to stay open and provide a reliable service to its customers.
Nail Spa is at 417 Coldharbour Lane
Open Mon-Sat, 10am-7pm and Sunday, 11am-5pm