Meet Akshina Kalkura: Redefining Beauty and Hospitality with House of Nails Bengaluru

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Bengaluru: In the recent years, nail art has surged in popularity, transforming from a niche beauty practice into a mainstream lifestyle trend. With intricate designs and vibrant colors, it has become an expressive form of art that resonates with people across the globe. Leading this wave of creativity and innovation is Akshina Kalkura, a former marketing communications professional in the hospitality industry who has ventured into the world of beauty by establishing her own nail and lash studio House of Nails Bengaluru, Akshina’s journey is one of passion and dedication, and in this interview, she shares her insights into the ever-evolving landscape of nail art and beauty.

Can you tell us about your background in marketing communications within the hospitality industry and what inspired you to transition to opening a nail and lash studio?

I had been spearheading Marketing and Public Relations in hospitality Industry for over 6 years with esteemed brands like Hyatt  Hotels & Leela Palaces Hotels Resorts across different cities. I have successfully established multiple effective Marketing and PR campaigns that brought in significant revolutions at ground level with every brand and every project that I took control of, over the years in my MARCOM tenure in the hospitality Industry. It was a journey that instilled in me intriguing customer insights, behaviours and client relationships that actually work like magic for actual and quantitative results. I had always had a passion for an entrepreneurial journey for self and always shared core memories with nail care as I have been a passionate nail client for over 12 years. My first memory of getting nails done dates back to meeting my now best friend at her first owned nail studio where I decided and manifested to launch a nail and lash brand of my own someday!

How has your experience in the hospitality industry influenced your approach to running your studio?

Hospitality industry instilled in me the insights that revolve around clients, their expectations, soft touch points with customer relationships, PR analysis, importance of visual and impactful marketing campaigns and much more. The list evolves every day. Working for esteemed brands helped me gain knowledge and skilled my soft skills to an extend wherein today I apply the same and ever evolving hospitality concepts that are the need of the hour in a service industry while we maintain a qualitative and quantitative analysis every single day. 

What sets your nail and lash studio apart from others in the industry, and what range of services do you offer?

House of Nails Bengaluru is the most Instgram-able Nail & Lash Studio in Bengaluru. We just don’t offer services, we offer an experience – an experience of getting nails done or having a relaxing manicure or a chic lash as per the latest trends around the globe. Right from the time a client walks in and gets mesmerised by the European ambience to meeting warm studio colleagues who care and pamper while a client Indulges in self love.  House of Nails Bengaluru claims to bring Pinterest dreams to reality where luxury and exclusivity is made affordable, because we want people to indulge in nail care and self-care as a ritual and not an occasion. The studio offers a select range of effective manicures & pedicures, nail extensions and nail design services, as well as eyelash extension services that vary in different looks to choose from for the girl next door to a girl who wants extravagance.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when starting your own business, and how did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges we faced while planning the studio was to look for the exact match of employees that just don’t put work to work but put heart to work. We interviewed multiple people and selected the ones that resonate with my vision of the studio and my personal ethics of Hospitality. While my technicians ace at their work, you will never see them lack genuine care for any client walking through our doors and that is the win for me today while I took long time for selections. The nail Industry is ever growing , many students are great nail techs but not every great tech can be empathetic and a go getter for the welfare of the client and the studio parallel.

How did your background in marketing communications help you in branding and promoting your studio, and what marketing strategies have been most effective?

The one principle and strategy we work on while we brand and promote the studio is to curate relevant content for a viewer that is much more interested in just nail designs and nail pictures. Our social media and visuals scream trend, witty , vibrance, fun and aesthetics. A learning that I carry from my career journey is that promotions and communications don’t have to be outrightly about the product and offers but about content that solves a problem and attends to trends that a viewer relates to. 

How do you ensure a unique and memorable experience for your clients, and what feedback have you received from them?

Client relationships, empathy, a hot cup of coffee and conversations go a long way. No other form of marketing solves and attends to problems than actual personal relationships with clients where they feel welcomed and they are open to giving feedback and discuss their challenges without feeling that they might be judged upon. Not every client is known to nail and lash do’s and dont’s but every client is somewhere very shy. We break ice with clients with a warm smile and a conversation, the moment they walk in so that their experience is effective to their ideas and expectations.

What are some of the current trends in the nail and lash industry that you find exciting, and how do you stay updated with the latest trends and techniques?

I feel the Nail & Lash Industry is an ever growing Industry and India is acing up to multi fold growth as far as techs and trends are concerned. But there is so much to learn from freelancing nail techs in overseas using the most minimal products to create the most trendy designs while worrying about environment and hygiene concerns for a client. Some of my personal current trends are varied simplistic French nails from a plethora of French designs than a basic one. I am also currently adorning and swooning over chrome rubs over nails that are simplistic and out there in the perfect match. I try to stay updated every hour with the help of Instagram while I follow some informative nail trends and mentors across the globe. We also train and conduct brainstorming sessions with trainers every month over designs and processes.

Akshina Kalkura, Founder, House of Nails Bengaluru.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of owning your own studio, and how do you balance the creative and business aspects of running it?

As much as it sounds very fancy and glamourous, owning a nail & lash studio is not as easy as it sounds. We deal with clients and service people to their expectations while wanting to maintain a balance for business goals. It is a big creative VS ROI equilibrium that is hard to maintain if you don’t micromanage to the T. Service Industry demands creativity while catering to a every new individual with different expectations. Amidst all the chaos, the most rewarding aspect I gain is when my sweet clients honestly thank us for guidance and genuine advice investment that we believe in while catering to each individual that walk in with their own ideals and expectations. I guess a genuine pat on the back from an actual client goes a long way for me and my techs to stir up business the following day!

What are your future goals and aspirations for your studio, and are there any new services or expansions you are planning to introduce?

While deciding on a name for my studio, I was very clear to focus only on nails and lashes as I personally believe in service and beauty Industry , you cannot be a jack of all trades. I vision House of Nails Bengaluru to be a boutique nail & lash studio for clients who aim for an experience and demand exclusivity while attaining perfection and the perfect touch of Hospitality. We aim at expanding within Bengaluru while maintaining same service standards to cater to my clients who come from distant corners of the city. The next big step is going to be a secret for a little while!

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