As part of the upcoming Viva Youth Festival at Princes Park in Prahran, one of the country’s best nail art companies I Scream Nails will be hosting a free pop-up nail art salon. We sat down with the founder of I Scream Nails to chat about starting a business, nail art and Viva Youth Festival. Celia Cecchi is an entrepreneur from Melbourne, and the brains behind I Scream Nails. She started I Scream Nails as a labour of love in 2012, and it quickly grew into a multi-faceted business with a dedicated following. “It’s been a long five years,” she told us. Celia speaks in a bubbly and friendly manner, constantly laughing and sounding as though she can’t take the smile off her face, even with all of the pressures of successfully managing a sprawling business like I Scream Nails.

I Scream Nails‘ first incarnation was as a pop up salon in a vacant space behind a fashion store in Northcote. The four week pop up stall set the the tone for the coming years, and I Scream Nails soon grew to become Australia’s most in demand team of nail artists. In September 2013, the first I Scream Nails salon opened in Collingwood, and the growth of the passion project quickly became insurmountable. “It got to a point quite quickly where we had to scale it down, because there were just too many moving parts to the business.” Celia is not alone at I Scream Nails and her partner Ben, an illustrator, has been instrumental in the growth of the brand, and in seeing the Instagram following of I Scream Nails rise to over 150,000. “After about a year, Ben quit his job and joined me full time, so we were both working on I Scream Nails all the time. We didn’t expect it at all, especially with the social media success. When we first started, Instagram was fairly new so we didn’t know what the potential was. We just knew that it felt like it was taking off, so we just went with it.” But Celia doesn’t feel as though herself and Ben pushed I Scream Nails to the point it is currently at; “the growth was very organic – it just kind of happened.” 

Throughout its relatively short existence, I Scream Nails has become a something of a sprawling empire, with nail wraps, nail salons, nail polishes, pop up stalls, collaborations with such brands as David Jones and Myer, and even a book of DIY nail art published in 2015. Celia didn’t exactly see this success coming, but when she began operating she was aware that she was sitting on something with appeal. “I saw some great nail art coming from overseas, and I realised that it wasn’t as easily available over here. People were already doing it, just not on a large scale. The difference with us was that we offered it to the broader public, and made it more accessible to people that wouldn’t normally get it done.” 

Celia first discovered the joys of nail art as a remedy to a bad habit she had; “I started doing my own nails because I used to bite my nails so much. It helped me in that sense – all of a sudden I wasn’t biting my nails, and they looked really nice.” She also maintains that nail polish can offer people a certain joy – “It’s about self expression. You might not like doing full face make up, but you just like doing that little something special on your nails. I don’t know if it helps with self-esteem, but if it can be something to make you feel a little bit more fun, and lighthearted about life, then that’s great.”  I Scream Nails already has dozens of dazzling colours available on their website, but apparently that doesn’t even scratch the tip of the iceberg – “we’re working on about 50 colours at the moment, and we’ll keep perfecting them until they’re right. It’s a big process, but it’s getting easier the more that we do it.” 

While nobody could have predicted the success of an enterprise like I Scream Nails, it still managed to take off and become a viable and rewarding career for Celia. She has a little bit of advice up her sleeve for young people considering taking an entrepreneurial route in their life. “First of all, you have to love it. I loved nail art, it was my passion. I knew other people loved it to, so it was definitely an idea that could take off, even though the actual business model hadn’t been done here. I just knew it was cool and that other people thought it was cool, because people would ask me about my nails all the time. You have to have drive, and that willingness to pick yourself up and keep going day to day, even when things don’t go so great.” 

On April the 8th at Princes Gardens in Prahran, Viva Youth Festival will be taking place and I Scream Nails will be hosting an exciting aspect of the event – “we’re doing a pop-up nail art salon. We’ll be there doing a feature nail with nail art on each hand, and the rest will be plain polish, and it’ll be free for the whole day.” There are a lot of terrific events taking place as part of Viva Youth Festival, but this surely has to be one of the most exciting. Celia told us that she can’t wait to share her nail art with everyone at the festival. “We love showcasing what we do to the youth. They’re our main audience, and they know what’s cool and what’s hot right now. We love hearing what they’ve got to say about our latest colours. We draw a lot of inspiration from our audience.” 

Visit I Scream Nails website for more about them, and make sure you check out all of the great stuff happening as part of Viva Youth Festival alongside the pop-up salon this April.