Doncaster nail studio reaches finals of The Official UK Hair and Beauty Awards

Kiki Yorkshire in Doncaster has been shortlisted in the UK Hair and Beauty Awards in the Best Gel Nails category.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Owner Khristie Marie Lawton spoke to the Free Press about the prestigious achievement.

So what is the story behind your brand?

“I trained in nails when I was studying for my degree. I also had four part time jobs to help me get through University.

Khristie Marie Lawton, finalist at The Official UK Hair and Beauty Awards.Khristie Marie Lawton, finalist at The Official UK Hair and Beauty Awards.
Khristie Marie Lawton, finalist at The Official UK Hair and Beauty Awards.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"One of my jobs was working at Costa and whilst I worked there I got told off for having my gel nails done. I was told ‘If you can find time and money to have your nails done, you can find time and money to have your nails off’.

“Which in my case wasn’t true because I would be back at work the day after my holiday. So I thought hmm, why don’t I train in gel nails and it will pay for itself just me having them done?

"My mum then asked why don’t I add another string to my bow and earn some extra pennies? It literally went from there… I finished my degree in 2018 and by November 2019 I quit all my jobs and became a full time Nail Tech/Brow Tech.”

Tell us about your profession.

Owner Khristie Marie Lawton.Owner Khristie Marie Lawton.
Owner Khristie Marie Lawton.

“Wow. My career has not been an early ride, nor as a lot of newly self employed techs. However, I went full self employed in 2019 and by March 2020 we hit lockdown.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Because I had other jobs in the previous tax years I was not entitled to any of the self employed grants, so by April 2020 I got myself a full time job within the Civil Service to help pay for my bills at home but also the bills at the salon to keep it going until we could reopen. I came back part time after the first lockdown, I believe it was October/November we went into another lockdown?

"I worked 60 hours at the Civil Service and would work at the salon alongside when we reopened every time. My shifts would be 6am-12am with both jobs, it was exhausting and I could’ve easily given up, but I missed my freedom to create and be my own boss. Then we shut down again for four months…

"During this we had a flood in the shop from the tenant who lived above us. This cost over £14,000 in repairs and I lost a lot of my stock, it was heartbreaking and crippling. My Civil Service wage not only paid for my mortgage, the salon rent and bills but my parents as they are both also self employed.

"How I have ever managed to make any of it work is beyond me, I can’t pin point how or why anything worked out in my favour but it did. I never gave up. I then quit the Civil Service in May 2021 and came back full time… then came the Electricity Crisis followed by a recession. “Financially the last four years have been HARD, but I am forever grateful because no matter how little I’ve had I am always better off than someone else and that is a blessing to cherish every day.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I would have to say my greatest achievement is just not giving up. Believing in my dreams and pushing through has formed me into the woman I am today. I do question whether it will pay off or if I am just ‘wasting my life’, but I look back to the times I used to cry because I couldn’t get people in for free, now I have a waitlist and a full time income?

“In October 2023 I welcomed another member of staff onto my ‘team’ because I wanted to offer more availability to my existing clients and potential clients as I am lucky to say I am fully booked.”

What sets you apart from others in the industry?

“I find this question hard to answer because I am my biggest critic. I believe my strongest quality is my mindset, I never settle or do things by halves. I strive for perfection at my own ability.

"I always believe if I don’t like a set of nails I have done then neither would my client and why should they pay? So if a design goes wrong, I wipe off and start again, there’s never a moment I think ‘Chuff it, be rate’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I have retrained many times throughout my career and I am a strong advocate for intense training and proper education in regards to the industry. I always help nail techs in my area, there’s no competition and I believe we will win together.”

What do you/your salon do to ensure your clients leave happy and satisfied with your overall service?

“I believe we are a very acquired taste. We are a family run salon that want nothing more than a friendly homely vibe. Our clients are our friends, we’ve shared life experiences, they care about us and we do them. We do not do full glam everyday, we don’t put on any persona, what you see is what you get and our clients love this.

"They know they can come and there’s no bitchiness, just straight talking advice and great treatments. I want my work to be exceptional, I want to know the ins and outs of every part of the industry, I want people to trust my knowledge and skills.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Does it make me a bad nail tech for wearing sports leggings and not being Instagram perfect? In my opinion no, because I know my stuff and that’s what truly matters.

"We have men who feel comfortable enough to come for gel nails, manicures, brows and facials. I am a massive football fan so this entices them in for an argument… or two!

"I love that we have created a vibe that makes anyone and everyone comfortable enough to treat themselves as they rightfully should.”

What are your plans for the future?

“I want to expand our salon not only in Doncaster but within Yorkshire. I want that same vibe in each salon where work is exceptional but the vibe is down to earth. I have clients who have never stepped foot in salons because of their anxiety, the fact they feel comfortable to come to me means the world.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I want to open a salon in West Yorkshire first, then making our way to North Yorkshire.

"After that… the world is our oyster. I want to change the misconceptions of the beauty industry and show that there are salons out there who cater and welcome a diverse range of consumers. I want to open a salon that is fully accessible in regards to mobility and to be trained in British Sign Language.”

The UK Hair and Beauty Awards community come together each year to celebrate the hair and beauty industry in style. The annual VIP Red Carpet event entails of a once-in-a-lifetime experience with celebrity guests, hosts and entertainment, and can only be attended by invitation only.

The awards’ mission is to support businesses of all sizes, and expose all candidates to new opportunities via social media and in the hair and beauty world, no matter their financial or social status. HBA are breaking down barriers to support smaller industry businesses, helping contestants build followings and recognition – even if they don’t win. That's why they're celebrating the entire process of the competition and all the amazing talent that has entered.

To learn more about the UK Hair and Beauty Awards, visit

Connect with Kiki Yorkshire via or on Facebook or Instagram.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.