Celebrity Nail Artist with a Flair for Business

Celebrity Nail Artist with a Flair for Business

Businesswoman, empowerment advocate, master educator, nail artist to the stars – Mel Viljoen is the whole package and the real deal. 

Melany Viljoen
Melany Viljoen / Supplied.

Working her way up from owning a single salon in Pretoria a mere decade ago, Mel is now the President and Founder of Tammy Taylor Nails South Africa, one of the most successful franchises in the South African luxury beauty industry.

Mel's story starts as a teenager, with her passion for beautiful nails. "Even back then, I knew what I wanted, and it was a combination of owning my own business and offering women a quality service that made them feel beautiful," she says. "This is the mainstay of my business today – as a franchisor, I pride myself on offering my clients only the best in products, service and support, and our franchisees extend that quality service to their customers. Every woman who enters one of our salons feels like a queen, and that is the realisation of a lifelong goal for me." 

Mel keeps her hand in the business, so to speak, often using her extensive talent and experience to create innovative nail art and designs for top celebrities. The list of star clients visiting either Mel or one of the salons in the franchise network is extensive, including Somizi, Pearl Thusi, DJ Zinhle, DJ Lamiez Holsworthy, Rapper Moozlie, Judie Kama, Roseanne Hall, Khanya Mkangisa, Lerato Kganyago, Vivian Reddy, Holly Rey, Lebo Jojo Gunguluza and Lebo Molax, amongst others. Mel also has strong relationships with other celebrities such as Cindy Nell, and international celebrity nail artist Chaun Legend.

"Our brand is synonymous with style, and it's why celebrities are drawn to us," she says. "In the USA where the brand began, Billie Eilish is renowned for her long signature nails done by Tammy herself, even commenting on them at the Oscars. Having trained in the USA myself, I know what it takes to ensure that those who are in the limelight everyday are confident with their nails – it's after all one of the first things people notice about you, and one's hands are always on display, especially if you are a public figure."

Mel not only ensure that franchisees within her network are offered a stellar service, and that their customers receive and experience second to none, but she is also passionate about empowering women and creating jobs. "I have started two nail schools – one in Pretoria and the other in Cape Town," she says. "These nail schools provide highly qualified and expertly trained nail technicians to our franchisees, and give young women the opportunity to start a career in the beauty industry with a top qualification behind their name. Every young woman – and some men – who successfully graduates from our training programme, is guaranteed of a placement at one of the salons in our franchise network, ensuring job creation and helping create a sustainable economy."


So, who is the woman behind this successful brand with its newsworthy initiatives – what makes her tick? "My primary driver is quality," says Mel. "This comes through in both my personal and professional life – I appreciate quality in other products, people and services, and I want to bring the same quality to those I serve."


Mel also firmly believes in playing an active role in her business, alongside her capable team. "I make sure that I stay on top of trends in the nail and beauty industry, especially via social media," she says. "I run our company social media accounts, and I always make sure every query is answered – engagement is key. I believe in staying close to your customer – many business leaders lose touch with their market after a while, and can find it difficult to understand what their customer really wants. I know that by staying at the forefront of new developments, brand communication and customer engagement, we'll continue to remain relevant as a brand, and grow from strength to strength."


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