One Quarter Journal


I want to be a Trophy Wife


Chelsea Bagan


Transforming the humble finger nail into a tiny work of art

Trophy Wife sees your nails as an untouched canvas for gloriously and unusual self- expression. Want a breakfast theme with eggs, avocados and toast, far away galaxies, mixed tropical fruit, animals and space ships, rubix cubes, axtec patterns, or one single majestic pretzel? Trophy wife can do it, and more. On your nails. Your actual nails. Tiny paintings. Or a regular manicure if you prefer. But…seriously?

Chelsea started painting her own nails for fun, then painting her friends nails as a favor. After slowly building a following via the Trophy Wife Instagram and word of mouth, she recently opened her studio on Bridge Road and is now running a burgeoning business painting nails like you’ve never seen before. I asked Chelsea some questions whilst she painted my nails (I got pineapples).

Vinisha Mulani

Vinisha Mulani

Vinisha Mulani

Where did the idea of Trophy Wife nail art come from?

The concept originally came up as a bit of a poke at the "Trophy Wife" stereotype. I thought it was really funny and really fitting. Nail art is fun and light hearted and I felt the humour of the name reflected that- though Trophy Wives are not really my regular clientele!

When did nail art change for you from being a hobby to being a business?

It progressed quite naturally. I was doing nails for myself and friends and putting pictures on Instagram. Three Thousand picked it up, and that night I quickly put together a Facebook page. It was off as a business when the story appeared on Three Thousand. It was slow to start with, but I took the leap into getting a studio space about two months after.

Vinisha Mulani

What were some of the challenges of starting Trophy Wife?

It was hard in the beginning to manage working a real job and trying to make my dream come to life, it was hard to focus on two jobs at once. However I couldn't have managed to get it up and running without a paying job. Start-up costs can be quite draining, and still are to this day, but it’s so worth it.

Did you receive any great advice? Did you have any mentors?

My parents are really great, as they have always run their own small businesses, so I constantly find myself running to them for advice. I found that talking through ideas and problems to anyone who would listen was very worthwhile. I think it’s very important to listen to other people. I think the best advice, as cliche as it sounds was to just go for it and run with it as far as you can.

Vinisha Mulani

Vinisha Mulani

Vinisha Mulani

What is a Trophy Wife highlight so far for you?

A highlight was the release of my book "The Hand Book: A Guide to Nail Art" I spent so many hours slaving over that, but MOST exciting is that I have two nail polish colours coming out in collaboration with Kester Black at the end of September. It was so exciting to see Trophy Wife on the bottle!

What inspires you?

Anything and everything. I get a lot of inspiration from blogs like Patternity.

Where do you see Trophy Wife in the future? What's next?

I have a lot of top secret exciting things coming, watch this space!

Which of your designs is your favourite for yourself?

Sharks, I love sharks!

Vinisha Mulani

Interviewed by
Ebe Cassidy

Photography by
Vinisha Mulani

Trophy Wife Nail Art
Trophy Wife Nail Art on Facebook
Trophy Wife Nail Art on Instagram