Victoria Houllis aka Mannequin Hands

Victoria Houllis’ nail art become so well known by Sydney-siders that she’s frequently referred to simply by her business moniker “Mannequin Hands.” Running her salon as a sole operator from a small studio in the heart of Newtown, Houllis has navigated countless lockdowns in the past two years. She’s managed by continuing to pivot, innovate and stay creative. From creating and retailed press on kits of her most popular bespoke creations to launching nail decals and cuticle oils via her website she’s stayed busy during lockdowns.

Now, as continuing her expansion beyond services Victoria has collaborated with international professional nail brand GellyFit on a collection she describes as her “dream starter kit.” We chatted to Victoria about the product development and the work behind creating a collection as well as what’s next for the Mannequin Hand’s business and brand.

Victoria Houllis GellyFit collection
Bright, bold and playful Victoria Houllis wanted a “grab and go” collection for the time and space poor nail tech.

The process:

Victoria: “I had the pleasure of being asked to create a collection with GellyFit just before lockdown. I was asked to basically mix colours, and fill whatever I felt was missing from their existing collections – what I really wanted as an artist. I made three collections and sent them over a deck, they were happy with all of them so they asked me to pick my favourites!”

Curating the kit:

“When I approached creating an edit, I thought about the kind of kit I would want if I were starting out again. My kit when I started was a mess! I moved between five different brands trying to find what works best for me before I landed on Gellyfit.”

Linework by Mannequin Hands (modelled by yours truly) using the GellyFit Rainbow Collection.

“I thought what would I want if I were buying into GellyFit for the first time or had just finished studying and wanted to invest in my kit. I created the collection with that in mind. I wanted a beigey base, that was sheer so it would work with a lot of skin tones. And a shimmer topcoat – those sets where a client is like “oooh can we add anything?” and you know they just want a little sparkle on top!

“For the rest of the collection, I created a rainbow that I felt sat perfectly between brights and neons because I felt like that was something that I hadn’t seen a lot of – the red is quite classic but the yellow I wanted to sit between a neon and classic sunshine yellow, the green I wanted it to be not quite a muted jade or moss, but also not too forest. Right in the middle! So I used that ethos with all of them and mixed the colours together using some of my other favourites to get the tones to something that filled the gap for me.”

Mannequin Hands Gelly Fit
The 3D acrylic work Houllis has become famous for. Image courtesy @mannequinhands Instagram.

“The ideal collection for me is something where if I also wanted it to be a collection that if I were to go on set or a friend asked me to come around and do their nails, I could grab that kit and know all my bases were covered. Being busy, time-poor and space poor I wanted a collection that ticked all those boxes, was versatile and I knew I could grab and be ready to go on set or an event and not mess around too much.”

“GellyFit also gave me the option to choose consistency. I chose their Studio Collection – it’s super pigmented which makes it easy to paint line work, I can paint in one go, keeping the line really neat and clean rather than needing to layer over it several times! That was super important to me!”

Mannequin Hands GellyFit Collection 2
The Mannequin Hands X GellyFit Rainbow Collection

Plans for 2022:

“In 2022 I’m hoping to launch more decals, I’m working on a few skin products that align with stuff that I’ve done previously. Multipurpose products are something I really connect with and I feel they really enhance my lifestyle and hopefully, I can share that too. Other than that, I’m always keeping at it with my regulars and always working on establishing my personal style!”

Want to learn more about GellyFit? Contact admin@gellyfitaus.com.au and check out their Instagram here.

You can also read our July-August Style File featuring Victoria Houllis here or check out her Instagram and website.

For advice about getting into retail and e-commerce as a salon owner check out our interview with e-commerce expert Olivia Jenkins here. She provided stellar, salon-specific advice for business owners either wanting to get started from scratch, or refine their e-commerce offering.

Read the current issue of our digital magazine here:

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