Bellisa X Spotlights: Venom Creatives

Bellisa X Spotlights: Venom Creatives

When was the last time you walked into a room and left feeling 10x better about yourself? Imagine this. Your greeted with tooth-gemmed smiles, deep plum thrones perched in front of a vibrant mural, plant-dressed corners, and snake print tables; all under the glowing neon ‘VENOM’ sign. A sanctuary of friendly gossip, feel-good tunes and the cleansing aroma of Palo Santo. You can shut the world out for a couple hours, boost your energy and leave ready to attack the day with a fresh set of… nails.

 We’re talking luxury meets bad-ass energy beaming out of an unsuspecting corner of Bristol city. Fortunately for you, you don’t need to imagine anymore because this place does exist!

We sit with salon-owner, DJ, pocast and radio host Anna-Pixie Holmes to learn more about the journey of her start-up business in Bristol, Venom Creatives.

 B: Hey Anna! What a vibey space you’ve created here. As a entrepreneur, one of the hardest things to do is turn an idea into a functioning reality. Let’s brush back to the start, can you paint the picture of how you started your business?

 A: The whole process took around a year from an idea, to opening as a salon. We were coming out of covid-lockdown 3, and I found myself crying down the phone to the universal credit guy because I didn’t know what I wanted to do, other than I knew I didn’t want to go back to work at my old salon. I told him I wanted my own chill space and remove the pressure of being on the high-street. He was like, ‘you can do this.’ 

From there he put me in touch with the business charity OUTSET, where I completed 6 months of online learning, received 6 months of 1-2-1 support and wrote a 21 page business plan. I submitted this to the Bank of England for a loan, and somehow fate was on my side and they gave it to me.


B: As a first time business owner, was it daunting taking out a loan?

A: I’ve never had that much money in my bank before- it was scary! Although, I wish I asked for more money because £10k wasn’t enough. But I made it work and we transformed our beautiful unit.


B: How did you manage the budget, if you didn’t know how much things would cost?

 A: Cash flow forecast. This helped me calculate and manage where the funds would be spent in setting up the salon from decoration to stock. With budgeting, always allow more for the things you’ve forgotten about and only realise once the journey has started.


B: Money is a form of energy; as long as you’re putting it into the right time and places, it will come back to you. What challenges have you faced?

DJ and nail artist APH, painting a clients nails in her Bristol pink salon, VENOM Creatives

DJ and nail artist APH, painting a clients nails in her Bristol salon, VENOM Creatives

 A: Drafting a business plan was easy, it was finding the premises that was really hard. Being one step closer to your dream, to then be met with male estate agents showing you around and not really giving a sh*t it or understanding what your plan was, was a struggle. 

It felt like I had to prove to people, I am a serious business women and I can actually afford this space.


B: I guess once you break through all these thresholds, everything eventually starts falling into place.

A: Yeah and then once your past that, there’s the challenge of running a business with staff and keeping it alive. You’re steering the ship- if I go wrong, then the whole place goes wrong!


B: Feel that. You can’t imagine the responsibilities that come from running a business, until you feel it for yourself. But challenges fuel the fire, right?

A: Yeah! I’d like to say it’s been a really beautiful experience so far and nothing has gone majorly wrong. It’s been a period of massive personal growth, learning to communicate with people and knowing that it’s okay to talk about how you feel. 

A close friend of mine, Jamie from Rumble In the Jungle gave me the best bit of advice; “you can’t always be the good guy, you have to be the boss otherwise people will walk all over you. You’re doing the best for the business- which will be the best for everyone.’


B: Love that! It is hard when you worry about what people think of you. Is this how you overcome challenges, by talking to people?

 A: Surrounding yourself with good people and knowing who to talk to about what, is so important. You’ll be thrown obstacles everyday, so having the right coping mechanisms in place really helps.


B: Okay so we’ve glossed over the becoming of your Salon, but how did you discover your love of nail art in the first place?

iridescent magical butterglies nail art extensions by DJ and nail artist APH at venom salon in Bristol

A fresh set of nails: iridescent butterfly gel extensions by Bristol nail artist APH

A:  I feel like I’ve lived 100 lifetimes before getting to this point- I used to be a bob-sleigh athlete! But as every good story goes, I was having a menty B while working at Topshop because I didn’t know what I wanted to do and where my life was going. Then while I was on a photoshoot one day, I was offered the opportunity to be a nail artist at another salon in Bristol. I had no previous history or major art pathway into it, but I just went for it and now here I am 5/6 years later..


B: Love that energy. You’ve always gotta be up for trying new things as you never know where it may take you, and even if it doesn’t work out its always a learning lesson too. Why is it important to follow your creative passion?

 A: As someone who has really suffered with mental health throughout my entire life, it’s so important to do things that fulfil you every day. When I’m in the salon I’m at my happiest; giving the best service I can that helps other people feel confident too.

Follow your creative endeavours because that’s what makes you feel good and elevates you as a person. Not everyone is made for the co-operate 9-5 world, and that’s ok. Create a career for yourself that works around you, that will help you through life.


B: You’ve really nailed it there. Freedom is being able to be the person you want to be and building a life around that, rather than moulding yourself into a situation that doesn’t make you happy. What does self-expression mean to you?

Nail artist and DJ APH, wearing Bellisa X Holly Mingo fishnet 2-piece rave leggings + crop top

"This outfit has got that Bristol flavour which is something I carry out within my DJ sets and nail salon. I love it because it's casual streetwear, but also a look I can dress up"-

 A: Putting out into the universe as who you want to be perceived as. It’s your personality, fashion, creativity and energy. So for me, I always have one hand done (peep the talon extensions) and that’s how I express my bad-ass side along with jewellery and tattoos. Then the other hand I keep plain, because that’s for getting on with things like DIY and sorting my life out.


B: That’s how you do style and practicality! To top-coat this conversation, could you share with us one bit of advice for anyone reading this wanting to pursue their creative career?

A: Just do it! No idea is silly. If you’ve got something you’re really passionate about, then you can do it. And if anyone tell you, you can’t?  Tell them to go. Keep it to yourself, don’t tell anyone you’re next move and just do it! Promise I’m not sponsored by Nike!

Throwback to the Learn to do nail art and learn to sew a scrunchie workshop Bellisa X hosted with Venom Creatives in 2022. Bristol workshops

Throwback to the Learn to do nail art and learn to sew a scrunchie workshop Bellisa X hosted with Venom Creatives in 2022.


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