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Liverpool nail artist takes Aberdeen by storm

Alexandra Holden took the plunge and became self employed.
Alexandra Holden took the plunge and became self employed.

You can’t help but smile when speaking to Alexandra Holden, with her bubbly personality and Liverpool accent.

She may not originally hail from the ‘Deen, but Alexandra is now at the heart of Chez Dean – one of The Granite City’s glitziest boutique salons.

As her Instagram handle, @beautyandnailsbyalexandra would suggest, she covers all manner of treatments for loyal clients, ranging from nails to intimate waxing.

Having met her Aberdonian partner as a result of a holiday romance in Cyprus, it would be easy to think that Alexandra’s move to the north-east was reminiscent of a fairy-tale.

Alexandra started working at Chez Dean at the start of this month

But although she may now boast a legion of fans with appointments booked months in advance, it has been anything but easy.

Society caught up with Alexandra after a busy day of pampering others, and found out why she’s finally where she needs to be.

“Me and my other half were both on holiday in Cyprus when we met,” said Alexandra.

“You could say it was a holiday romance, but of course it continued when we returned to the UK.

“He moved to Liverpool first, but I was working crazy hours over two jobs.

“Liverpool can be a bit wild.

Alexandra is self taught, and branched into nail art during lockdown.

“I’ve been in the beauty industry for 10 years now, but I actually started out by studying law for two years.

“It just wasn’t for me, I needed to do something hands on and I always loved art at school.

“After I came out of beauty college, it took me a while to break into the industry.

“Not many people are willing to give you a chance when you are straight out of college.”

After making the move to Aberdeen, Alexandra started working in the holistic side of beauty, and was the spa manager for Malmaison Hotel.

“I had to build a new life when I moved to Aberdeen,” said Alexandra.

Alexandra was previously a spa manager before going self-employed.

“I cried the whole journey because I just thought to myself, what have I done?

“I left my flat behind, my family. I only really took my clothes with me, so it was daunting.

“I was really lucky to get a job straight away and I loved working in a spa. ”

Following the pandemic during which Alexandra had been furloughed, she felt it was time to try something new as the world opened up again.

“I wasn’t sure about going self-employed, but when is the right time to do anything,” she said.

“I built up a client base, some of my clients have been with me since day one, so I feel very lucky that way.”

After applying for The Hair and Beauty Awards UK last year, Alexandra made it all the way to the final for best gel nails and best beautician.

“When I applied, I just wanted to do something for me,” she said.

Alexandra dreams of owning her own salon one day

“I didn’t think I’d actually get anywhere. I was so chuffed, I surprise myself sometimes.”

Alexandra has recently started working at Chez Dean which is owned by Dean Morrice, and can be found in Aberdeen’s West End.

“I was headhunted which felt like quite a compliment, because it has always been a salon I’ve loved,” says Alexandra.

“It’s a very supportive industry. I think with everything going on due to Covid, we’ve had no choice but to support one another.

“I don’t think it needs to be competitive, there is enough space for everyone.”

Alexandra’s Instagram feed is filled with images of beautiful nails, from classic Hollywood red to hot pink and even leopard print.

Nail art is her passion, and she is also keen to launch her own range of cuticle oil.

From nail art to intimate waxing, Alexandra offers all things beauty

“I used to do normal gel polish, but I taught myself nail art,” she said.

“I also love doing intimate waxing, people normally get comfortable with that one person and will become a repeat client.

“There’s the odd swear word thrown out, but it becomes a catch up. It’s quick, it’s easy and it makes you feel better.

“You get to know your clients and that’s what I love about the industry. It’s the diversity because you meet so many different people.

“I’ve always thought of beauty as a job for life, because people are always needing something done.

You’ll have to be quick if you fancy glam talons, as Alexandra is booked months in advance.

“Of course it’s a never ending game of learning new things, new trends. It can be hard to keep up sometimes.”

Although Alexandra loves being self employed, she never takes her eye off the ball when it comes to getting her name out there.

“I think social media makes up about 80% of everyone’s business now,” she said.

“There’s word of mouth, but promoting yourself is a big thing.

“You’ve got to schedule post and then you’ve got to keep up with Tik Tok as well.

“There’s so many people out there who do what I do, so you’ve got to make yourself stand out.

“My ultimate dream is to have my own salon, that’s the vision.”

To find out more, head to Alexandra’s instgram @beautyandnailsbyalexandra. 

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