In January 1990, Faina Ritz and David Dubrow launched Duri Cosmetics with a single hair removal wax formulation. The formulation was a success and the business expanded to nail lacquers and treatments.
Co-founders of Duri Cosmetics and mother/son duo Faina Ritz and David Dubrow moved to the United States from the former Soviet Union in 1979. In January 1990, Ritz and Dubrow launched Duri Cosmetics with a single hair removal wax formulation. The formulation was a success and the business expanded to nail lacquers and treatments. Since then, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company has firmly established itself as both a leading professional nail care company and sought-after consumer brand. Duri introduces five new color collections each year.
In recognition of their 25 years in business, NAILS asked Ritz to share some of what has made the company such a success.
I read that the company was started as the result of a bet having to do with hair removal wax. What’s the whole story?
Ritz: In 1989, my husband Victor and I were at a party speaking with another guest who owned a local salon specializing in beauty services including hair removal. During light cocktail conversation, I was explaining my career as a research chemist. My husband got carried away and boasted that I could develop and improve upon just about any formulation, which of course was far from the truth. As the conversation circled back to this woman’s salon and the lack of high-quality professional wax in the marketplace, my husband boldly made a bet with me that I had the skills to develop a superior wax for hair removal. Not one to shy away from a challenge, I took this to task, did my research, and came up with a gentler wax formulation that could safely remove fine and short hair with a single application. My husband bet on me and that support laid the foundation of an idea for a new business venture I would undertake with my son David.
Faina Ritz mans the booth at one of Duri’s first trade show appearances in 1991.
I understand you are head chemist in addition to being the founder. What is your scientific background?
Ritz: I was born and raised in Russia. It was there that I received my master’s degree in chemical engineering and research chemistry and began my career in a research lab. When I moved to the United States in 1979, I began my work as a research chemist for a large corporation working in the field of polymers.
What is your best-selling product? What can you tell us about its history?
Ritz: Without a doubt our top-selling product is our nail treatment, Rejuvacote. It is first and foremost a nail strengthener, yet it also acts as an all-in-one base and top coat. I have poured a lot of sweat and tears into the formulation since we first introduced it in 1995. In 1997, I went back into the lab and added even more beneficial ingredients to the formulation to provide extended staying power and a stronger shield to assist with nail growth. In 2012, I tweaked the formula again to address a growing need for a similar product for people with allergies and more sensitive skin and nails — so we developed Rejuvacote 2. In addition, we revamped and repackaged the entire treatment line — from bottle, cap, and brush components to secondary packaging design.
What makes your nail enamels stand out in the marketplace? How do you select what colors to include?
Ritz: What is underneath the actual color hue sets the stage and separates a good nail polish from a truly great one. We introduced the very first 45 hues of Duri Nail Polish in 1990 and since then it’s been my passion to always be a color innovator. Color choice is of the utmost importance. It has to speak to the wearer, evoke an emotional response, set a mood. It must also be in season and on-trend. We look beyond just fashion shows for our influence — we look to home decor, lifestyle, and world trends. Beyond that, the nail polish has to be a good value (read: long-lasting and not too expensive) and look on a client’s nails the same way it looks in the bottle. Plus, as women we are always looking for ways to slice time off our beauty routines, so we also want nail polish that glides on smoothly and dries super fast.
David Dubrow attends the launch of the Insidious Collection in partnership with the movie franchise in Hollywood.
Where is the company heading? What are your goals for the next decade?
Ritz: After 25 years, David and I still see lots of room for growth and improvement. We are not looking as much to widen our product assortment as we are to continuing to improve upon what we are already providing. We are constantly looking at our formulations and on the lookout for breakthrough ingredients and advancements in applications. We are currently developing a line of UV-curing nail polishes — stay tuned! Our biggest growth opportunity, though, lies in a deeper distribution of our product. Getting into more and more nail salons, specialty stores, and retail environments where customers can purchase the full range — worldwide.
For more information, go to www.duri.com.