Introduction by The Forest Editor Aiden:

"When we were laying the roots for The Forest our vision was to help nurture a co-operative economy by championing community and shining a spotlight on Newham-based businesses and entrepreneurs like Manor Park's beauty specialist Mary Simmons. When we featured her word-of-mouth, home-based business 'High Brows By Mary' last year, as a result of the coverage this helped her expand her business and now open a salon in Forest Gate! We love local success stories like this and hopefully our collaborative platform will contribute to many more..."

Jes Salter catches up with Mary on how her salon will be bringing West End glamour that's accessible and affordable to the East End.

Mary Simmons was something of an insider’s beauty secret. Known as “High Brows by Mary”, her number has been passed around countless Forest Gate and Manor Park clients looking for her West End salon experience, but in the convenience of her own home.

What everyone loves about Mary is her relaxed, chatty manner, coupled with her incredible talent. “I’m so passionate about eye brows because I love that small tweaks can make such a huge difference and completely change how someone looks, if done right,” she says. “Everyone’s face is different, so the shape has to be totally tailored to them.”

Now, however, demand has increased so much (appointments on her WhatsApp group went in seconds) that she is about to open her own salon, Wild Beauty, on Romford Road, February 6th, with two other members of staff.

The salon encompasses Mary’s ethos of using natural products, but in a slick, high end style. All her products are vegan, cruelty-free and non-toxic, from gel to 90% natural nail polishes (which are breathable, meaning Muslim clients can wear them and still pray) to the luxurious foot scrubs, whipped butters and cuticle oils that Mary makes herself at home.

“I also knew something was missing in the area for an affordable, relaxed yet luxury experience that offered waxing, brow treatments, nails and lash lifts,” Mary says. “I love the fact when somebody gets their brows or lash lift done, they feel instantly beautiful but we’re just enhancing their natural beauty.”

One of her really unique treatments, alongside gel and regular manicures, is the Japanese manicure, an ancient Japanese technique which focusses on buffing nutrients deep into your nail bed to make nails healthy. “It’s perfect for now, when your nails might need a bit more love,” Mary says.

She will also be launching an award winning brow range, Beauty Edit Mayfair, as seen in Vogue, Elle, Style and Harpers Bazaar. “It's not only vegan, cruelty free and sustainably packaged, but it consists of pure highly pigmented brow colours that cater to every skin and hair tone. I've never found a product like it,” she says.

What clients love about Mary is her natural warmth and New Zealand charm – and her love of her adopted neighbourhood.

After working in West End salons for many years, she wanted to set up her own business in her local area. “I know that lots of my clients don’t have time to pop into central London for an appointment, so it makes me very happy to be able to do that in my local area. I wanted to bring a little bit of West End flair to the area, whilst being affordable and relaxed, too,” she says.

As a mum of a two-year-old son herself, Mary knows that clients with little babies might have to bring little ones along – so for waxing appointments, it is possible to bring your under eight month old (but must be booked in advance with Mary).

Lucy, a Forest Gate local, is multitalented and is training in all treatments but is especially passionate about lash lifts and facials (which they will soon be providing); Clara, a fellow New Zealander, who specialises in brow treatments, brow lamination, lash lifting and waxing will be working at Wild Beauty “I’ve built up a really amazing team of very talented ladies,” Mary says.

After a sell-out soft launch for existing clients throughout December, Mary is getting ready to open her doors officially – by appointment only – in February. “I’m so excited to officially open my salon, it’s a real dream come true,” Mary says. “I’ve just been overwhelmed by the amount of local support. It’s amazing to be part of such an incredible community.”

Mary will be offering 10% off to all new clients so book your treatment now here or via the website. If you are unable to find an appointment online please email as Wild Beauty has a WhatsApp group for cancellations which you can join. For more information, including details of the launch party on the 18th Feb follow @wildbeautygroups