Profiles

Old School, Take 2: A Look Back at the Origins of Top Manufacturers

Last month we talked to three manufacturers who have been around for the last two decades. This month, three more manufacturers give us their take on how the industry has change and where it is headed.

So now know that Jan Arnold’s father started Creative Nail Design in their garage, Essie Weingarten of Essie Cosmetics was a self-proclaimed “nails freak” at the early age of eight, and Larry Gaynor’s first incarnation of the Nail group was an endcap display full of nail products.

But did you also know that OPI Products president George Schaeffer used to drive a New York City cab? That Tony Cuccio started Star Nail International on Venice Beach’s famed boardwalk? Or that Orly, led by Jeff Pink, launched the French manicure craze?

Now it’s time to see what these three company heads think about the state of the industry today and how they have contributed to it. Like the three we profiled last month, George, Jeff, and Tony all have an extremely positive outlook for the nail industry. According to tem, our industry will continue to blossom with new product innovations paving the way for further growth for nail techs and salons owner alike.  

George Schaeffer, President, OPI Products

Way back then....

George Schaeffer, president of OPI, worked as a New York City cab driver before purchasing a dental supply company that he then turned into a nail company.

NAILS: How did you get started?

George Schaeffer: I purchased a dental supply company and discovered that nail technicians were using the dental porcelains to make artificial nails I hired a chemist to make an acrylic that was safe for use on nails, and the rest is history.

NAILS: What’s the most significant change you’ve seen in the industry over the last 20 years?

Schaeffer: The growth of the nail business 20 years ago the nail industry consisted of small, mom-and-pop companies involved. The business has matured into a healthy profitable and always-growing business opportunity. Great strides have been in technology product development, and education.

NAILS: How have you changed the industry? What is your most significant product contribution?

Schaeffer: We change the industry by giving salons another service and retail revenue opportunity. We branded the industry twenty years ago there were no nail brands. Back then who have thought that a nail company would have 24 patents? The research and development we have done has brought new innovative products to the market that allows salons to be move profitable. Our most significant product contribution include the development of safe acrylics and Bondex (the first non-methacrylic acid primer) No more etching the nail plate and no more natural nail damage.

NAILS: How has your company changed over the last 20 years?

Schaeffer: When we started our company, we had three people working in a 1,200 square foot rented office. Today we have an infrastructure made up of R&D, advertising, marketing, education, sales, and customer service on our growing campus in North Hollywood. We will open another new office building this year.

NAILS: What will your company be like when NAILS turn 40?

Schaeffer: The nail industry will continue to grow it is a recession-proof industry and represents a business opportunity for the people of all walk of life.

NAILS: What are the moments you’d like to forget?

Schaeffer: I have a taught time answering that question because even the tough times were worth it.

NAILS: What other companies do you think have contributed significant to the growth of the industry?

Schaeffer: Creative Nail Design

NAILS: What is the biggest industry issue facing you today?

Schaeffer: Diversion.

NAILS: What would you say to techs coming out of school today?

Schaeffer: Congratulations, you are beginning a career in an industry that is growing, that is stable and a family if she chooses, while making a good living!

NAILS: Tell us one thing about you or your company that we might not already know.

Schaeffer:We are number-one professional nail company in the world.

 

Jeff Pink, President and CEO, Orly International

Way back then...

Under the direction of Jeff pink (here with a beauty queen,) Orly launched the French manicure craze

NAILS: How did you get started?

Jeff Pink: I started in the beauty industry as a professional beauty distributor selling to manicurist in Southern California. As a distributor, I saw the poor selection and great potential for the nail care category.

NAILS: What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the industry over the last 20 years?

Pink: I have seen many changes have been the growing professionalism and sophistication of nail technician, from manicurist to truly full-service nail technicians. The expansion of the ethic market is another major change to the industry.

NAILS: How have you changed the industry? What is your most significant product contribution?

Pink: Developing the first nail strengthener with fiber - Romeo and the original Ridgefiller and Hand Spa. They’ll made significant changes to the industry. The French manicure. However, was probably the most significant product contribution that I made to the industry back in 1976 - it became and is still today the most popular nail style. The introduction of the Gripper cap is our latest contribution to the nail care industry.

NAILS: How has your company changed over the last 20 years?

Pink: Orly initially was only a nail care company. We now offer a full line of nail, hand, foot, and body care products to the beauty industry.

NAILS: What will your company be like when NAILS turn 40?

Pink: We will continue to grow and offer an even wider range of products in the industry, we will see even more salons becoming day spas, offering a full menu of services.

NAILS: What is the moment you would like to forget?

Pink: I forgot them already

NAILS: What other companies do you think have contributed significantly to the growth of the industry?

Pink: OPI and Creative Nail Design

NAILS: What is the biggest industry issue facing you today?

Pink: Continuing to develop innovative products that meet the highest standards and at the same time address environmental concern and improve product presentation.

NAILS: What would you say to techs coming out of school today?

Pink: This industry is exciting and constantly changing and provides great opportunity for a fun and challenging career.

Tony Cuccio, President, Star Nail International

NAILS: How did you get started?

Tony Cuccio: In 1981, my wife Roby and I came to California and lived in Venice Beach. I was looking at the boardwalk and thought “Look at all this walking traffic. What an opportunity!” so we decided to sell nail polish and cosmetics. Because of my background in respiratory therapy, I became interested in the professional side of the nail industry and wanted to see what I could do to help nail technicians at that time.

NAILS: What’s the most significant change you’ve seen over the last 20 years?

The growth of the industry itself worldwide and the trend of more natural nail, hand, and foot care and the increased number of natural nail salon, day spas, and spas.

NAILS: How have you change the industry? What is your most significant product contribution?

Cuccio:I have continued to provide nail technicians quality, value, an innovative products and services that have helped them financially, professionally, and have bettered the industry.

We brought Natural Nail Kapping gel to the forefront. With the addition of calcium in our gel we were able to provide a way for clients to be able to grow their nails to a desired length while keeping them healthy. We then invented Cuccio Naturale and started a whole industry - natural nail, hand, and foot care.

NAILS: How has your company change over the last 20 years?

Cuccio:We have gone from a small company and are now worldwide with manufacturing facilities in Canada, England, Asia, Venezuela Star Nail International sells to more than 120 countries worldwide.

NAILS: What will your company be like when NAILS turn 40?

Cuccio:I am confident that we will have more facilities worldwide and continue to help nail technicians Star Nail International will be the best-known nail product line available in all continents.

I see nail, hand, and foot care becoming more of a focal point for people. They are realizing that taking care of themselves is not a luxury but part of their daily routine I think product distribution will change as well I believe there will be more only distributors like there were in the 80’s. The beauty business always comes full circle.

NAILS: What are the moments you’d like to forget?

Cuccio:Inventing the nail polish revitalizer, which you would use on half-full bottles of polish to make them last longer It was like a little mixer unfortunately the polish would fly all over their clothes after replacing 10 outfits. I recalled the product.

NAILS: What other companies do you think have contributed significantly to the growth of the industry?

Cuccio:OPI and Creative Nail have also contributed in growing the industry and helping to keep it on a professional level.

NAILS: What is the best industry issue facing you today?

Cuccio:Salons and spas have a great opportunity to retail products related to their professional service Clients count on their professional recommendations. Education can equal sales at salons and spas.

NAILS: What would you say to techs coming out of school today?

Cuccio:To always seek education and keep progressing in their careers. That’s the way to continue to grow and make money, Switch over to spa service keep an open mind and raise the perceived value of your service.

NAILS: Tell us one thing about you or your company that we might not already know.

Cuccio: We are still family company after two years with many dedicated employees I start my day at 5 a.m. Every day and there is no place I would rather be. The beauty business is my life.

Keywords:   George Schaeffer     history of nail care     Jeff Pink     OPI products     Orly     Star Nail Products     Tony Cuccio  

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