Today is the last of my Q&A specials this month with male manicurist. And last but my no means least is Mike Pocock.
After trying his hand at singing back in the 80”s, then running a pub, Mike started doing manicures by helping out his now ex-wife Zoe, when she opened up a nail salon. One thing lead to another ( see his answers for the full story) and eventually Mike started working on his own shoots as a manicurist in his own right, quickly progressing onto working for all the Vogue’s, advertising campaigns and various celebrities.
Always the entrepreneur, in 2010 I remember having a conversation with Mike on a shoot, about an idea he and 2 business partners had had, and suddenly within months Nail Rock was born. Again I will let his answers tell you the story but besides Nail Rock becoming a huge, worldwide success, one of Mikes other big achievements is his work with singer megastar, Adele. Having worked with her a few times already, she flew him out to create her nails for the 2012 Grammy Awards, and not just any old nail did Mike do… he based the nail design on the Christiaan Louboutin shoes she was wearing to the awards. Inspired by Louboutin’s trademark of always having a red sole on all his shoes designs, Mike created a beautiful textured glittering silver nail with a red inside of the nail. The design caused a huge stir amongst the beauty press. (See the pictures below)
So without further ado, I’ll let you have a read of this lovely, very succesful man’s extremely interesting career and an insight into how he juggles work, home and children.
Take it away Mike ………
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?
A rock star but I ended up crooning a duet on Opportunity Knocks with my dad wearing matching searsucker suits and 80’s blow dry hair.
HOW DID YOU END UP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW?
8 years ago I was working as a publican and my wife opened a nail salon. I somehow stumbled into helping her in the salon, later I accidentally wound up assisting the wonderful Marian Newman and because of her, working in fashion. It’s funny because even though it’s so far from anything I ever imagined I would do, I absolutely love my job and feel a great affinity with the people I work with.
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE IF YOU WEREN’T YOU?
Kirsty Young: I love Desert Island Discs and I’m very excited because they’ve just made every episode from 1942 available to download. The Vidal Sassoon one is brilliant.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING IN YOUR CITY WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would have marksmen posted at junctions and when drivers stop over the cyclists’ zone, I would have them shot in the face.
WHAT ARE YOU INTO RIGHT NOW? ( MUSIC, FASHION , ART, FOOD)
Cooking right now, trying to perfect the best chocolate cake with super shiny, but chewy and slightly crispy on the top chocolate icing. Got a bit of a thing for sweet potato recipes too.
YOU ARE CO-FOUNDER OF NAIL ROCKS. TELL US ABOUT IT AND HOW YOU STARTED IT..
Nail Rock started in 2010 with just one product, Nail Rock nail wraps. My 2 business partners and I were working from the sitting room of a flat in Bromley. It was the office, warehouse (it was full to the ceiling with boxes), factory (we used to pack nail wraps into thousands of packaging wallets and boxes for dispatch), we even used it as a studio for photoshoots, I would sometimes sleep on the sofa and get up at 5am to take a delivery to ASOS in Milton Keynes in the boot of my car.
We are now Rock Beauty with a range of products including Nail Rock, Lip Rock, Eye Rock, and Body Rock. We have 22 employees in our office near Tower Bridge, sell in 15 countries worldwide including Japan and the USA, and I don’t do the deliveries in my car anymore.
SOME OF ROCK BEAUTY’S PORTFOLIO
LIST YOUR TOP 5 NAIL/MANICURE PRODUCTS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
Revlon Grey Suede (best all purpose nude)
YSL no.1 (Classic red)
Ciate Love Me Oil (they need to send me some)
Nail Rock (of course)
Briggs and Riley suitcase (with the spare wheels that they gave me for free) for my kit. Not strictly a nail product but absolutely vital.
LIST YOUR 10 FAVOURITE SONGS OF ALL TIME- (AND EXPLAIN – IF YOU WANT TO- WHY YOU CHOSE THEM )
This is my very own Desert Island Discs moment so I’m only going to do 8.
On top of the world – The Carpenters. The first song I can ever remember hearing, played from a vinyl LP on one of those terrible “Top of the Pops” albums (not original artist so horrible cover versions), reminds me of my mum doing the ironing and me helping her fold the sheets and getting a kiss every time we met in the middle.
Smoke gets in your eyes – The Platters. Takes me back to listening to my dad singing accompanied by my maternal grandfather on piano in the Whitehawk pub in Brighton, sitting in the hallway with a bottle of coke and a packet of crisps before kids were allowed in pubs.
Tainted Love – Gloria Jones. Le Beat Route, Greek street early 80’s, a girl, a first date. The second date with her was about 25 years later.
Klubbhopping – Klubbheads. The Escape, Brighton, 1996, a different girl, reader I married her – 12 weeks later.
The Rose – Bette Midler. Was sung at my wedding, reminds me of the good times which lasted just about til the end of the song.
My Lady Story – Anthony and the Johnsons. Live at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, 2006, yet another girl. It was a first date and this song made me weep, fortunately the crying thing didn’t put her off too much.
99 Problems – Jay-Z. Used to make my kids laugh when I would sing along with it in the car, they had no idea how I knew the words or who Ice T was.
Someone Like You – Adele. Live at the Brits 2011, it was a spine tingling to be there. I started working with Adele in 2010 and I’ve been lucky enough to be at some amazing things including the music video shoot for this song, both Brits, countless photoshoots, the Royal Albert Hall performance and that amazing night at the Grammies in LA when she swept the board but the stand out moment was that first time at the Brits with just Adele and a piano in a spotlight.
For my book, I’d take Scoop by Evelyn Waugh and for my luxury, my sofa, it’s my favourite place in the world, I’m on it now.
Thanks Kirsty Young of Desert Island Discs
Adele’s Louboutin Inspired Nails For The 2012 Grammy Awards by Mike
IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE BESIDES WHERE YOU ARE, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
Bermondsey, where I am now but by the river although I could do with an apartment in New York and a weekend place in Brighton.
WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNER THAT YOU WOULD WEAR?
I can’t think of a single answer to this that won’t make anyone who knows me think I’m being a cock so I’m going to talk about shoes. I’m happy to dressed head to ankle in Primark so long as I’ve got decent shoes. I’m loving my Church’s suede brogues and Belstaff boots right now. And they’ve just opened a Belstaff outlet store at Bicester village so even better.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO NEXT?
Hoping not to go anywhere before I go on holiday after Christmas. (NB: this interview was done in Dec 2012) I just got back from Brussels which was a really nice trip but I’d already been to LA, New York, Delhi, Mumbai, Paris and Dublin this year for work. I have the utmost admiration for the people who I work with who are travelling all the time, it would drive me nuts.
To see and buy Nail Rock products click HERE
To follow Mike on Twitter click HERE
To follow NAIL ROCK on Twitter click HERE