Strictly Business #25: Eily Thams

Eily Thams // Visual artist and nail artist

THAMS DOES CLAWS is a creative wellness collective focused on body art and self-care services for the Q+BIPOC community here in Berlin, through organizing regular workshops and events in order to provide services and social spaces that are essential to members of our community. We were formed in direct response to the pandemic lockdown conditions and pride ourselves in now being the only queer beauty and nail art studio in Berlin.  

THAMS DOES CLAWS was formed in early 2020 as a nail art studio by Eily Thams and with help of Rhiannon Thayer, two transgender artists living in Berlin. Everytime you are in the club or at a catwalk and captivated by the dancers and performers whose nails, makeup and movements catch your eye, these looks are part of an artform cultivated by the artists in the queer community.

We quickly realized that as the world shut down around us that drag queens, sexworkers, musicians and models still required the services that our nail art studio provided at the time. Doing nails and any kind of body care is a sensitive interaction for queer people and people of color who often experience dysphoria or discrimination at these salons, and as we had conversations with clients in our studio we quickly realized that just as these services were no longer accessible because of lockdown neither were the safe-spaces such as clubs and bars that are so valuable to the social life and queer community of Berlin.

In response to this absence we as queer people focused on fostering a business model to that was foremost driven by our values and those of our community. Our desire was to reflect the needs of these missing venues and to solve existing problems in the wellness industry; in order to do this we created a safe-space where everyone’s gender and identity was celebrated, we offer sliding scale prices for marginalized communities, and opened up space in our studio for other Q+POC practitioners to offer their services.

Over the past 18 months we have grown to serve hundreds of people in the community while remaining flexible enough to adapt and respond to the changing rules and regulations of lockdown. We have run a variety of public events and workshops that have provided low or no cost services to Q+BIPOC people at our studio and in conjunction with other institutions in Berlin.

Want to know more about Thams (they/them) and their work? Find them on Instagram

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