Gemma Stewart, Studio 131, Forres

Gemma fulfills her dream to open a high street nail bar despite lockdown setback

A young woman who fulfilled her dream of having her own nail bar has finally re-opened on the high street after being abruptly shut down by the Covid-19 lockdown.

After months of planning, Gemma Stewart opened Studio 131 in Forres in March, but within days, had to close along with many others as the Government ordered all non-essential shops to shut.

And after getting the go-ahead to open at the end of July, she decided to wait until her children, Jackson (6) and Aidan (4), went back to school this week.

Gemma, who mostly does nail enhancements, is accompanied by Aimee Wilson who rents space in the salon to offer additional treatments such as waxing, massage and spray tans.

Salon dream

Gemma said: “I made the decision to become self-employed about a year and a half ago. I began by renting a chair in LJ’s Beauty on Tolbooth Street. It had always been a dream of mine to have my own salon and when this place became available I couldn’t miss the opportunity. I had a lot of support from my family and my partner who really made it happen!”

Gemma said that initially, she wasn’t too worried about the lockdown. “I thought it would only be three weeks, maybe six. But as time went on and on it was really hard to see myself ever getting back to work. We had worked so hard to get the salon ready and it was really sad to see it closed so quickly. But thankfully I am one of the lucky ones that will reopen. 

“Aimee was due to start working in the salon in April but had been delayed until 22 July. She is offering lots of beauty treatments and has been very busy since she started!”

Gemma will begin on Wednesday this week (12 August), and has has put a lot of new measures in place for the re-opening.

“I’ve had screens put in and we have to leave time between each appointment for cleaning. We also can’t allow any walk-ins until told otherwise. I’m confident we are doing our best to keep the salon a clean and safe environment for our clients, but we look forward to the day we can all go back to normal!

“I’m trying to enjoy the end of the holidays before my youngest starts primary one. I have been booking all my clients back in and my diary is pretty full.

“I can’t wait to catch up with them.”

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