Interview with Joanne Tan: Serving the Night Gang

Pedicure by Highness Palace


Name: Joanne Tan

Salon: Home-based

Experience: 10 years

Speciality: Nails

Vanitee Profile:

Joanne Tan (@highnesspalace) found her calling very early in life, aged 13. During a school break, she enrolled as a trainee in a beauty school and was promptly hooked by nail art. “I love challenges”, she says, ten years later. A part-time manicurist with a great eye for detail, she lives up to her creed and has no problem tending to the different needs of each customer: from the ‘night gang’ that only shows up after 10pm to ladies passionate about vampire and Sanrio characters.

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How did you start working as a nail artist?
I went to learn from a shop at age 13 as a trainee in December 2005. During the school holidays, my mum wanted me to work and be independent. So I choose to work as a manicurist. The school did bring me and my classmates to learn and try hairstyling and facial professionally. But it didn’t catch my interest. I feel that being a manicurist is much more challenging.

What did you do as a trainee?
Being a trainee, I learned all the basic steps. To be able to work in the shop and part time, I was tested after 3 days of training and, from there on, I practiced on myself and my sister and went to work. I learned new stuff by using my own nails and upon customer request.

What is your daily routine?
I have a full time job in the day, so I’m only able to pick up appointments after 7pm and on weekends. I do have a certain profile of client, ones who get their nails dressed up monthly without fail. I grew my business with them over the years.


You also allow appointments after 10pm. Are you a night owl?
Since I can only do nails after 7pm, my appointments were like: ‘If you requested midnight, and if I’m able to take it, I will accept’. I have a group of customers who are only able to come after 10.30pm. I named them my ‘night gang’. They need to look after kids before they are able to come for my services.


Do you have a favorite style?
I don’t really. Maybe my style is ‘try the new style’ and being more creative and playful with designs. A customer will let me know what kind of design they prefer and what’s the mood for this month’s design, then we’ll discuss and make a decision about what design she could have.

Do you remember weird requests you had?
The briefing: ‘Joanne, I want vampire nail art only’. I need to think of many different nail arts linked to vampires and it’s on-going. Haha!

Why do you think nails are so important in Singapore?
Personally, I think: ‘We work so hard to earn our income, we need to enjoy ourselves too.’ Doing nails is makes beauty stand out and it can be changed every month. When you have nice nails, you will feel great too.

Why are you so passionate about nails?
I love challenges. I love to my customer’s smile after service. It’s satisfaction.

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