It was hard to imagine someone replacing George Schaeffer when it was announced he would retire from OPI back in November. After a lunch meeting with new General Manager, Mary Van Praag, she revealed that she couldn’t imagine it either. “I love the brand. I love color. I could never fill George’s shoes, but I have my own heels on,” said Van Praag at a press luncheon held at Bistro Garden in Los Angeles.
Left to right: OPI's COO Eric Schwartz, GM Mary Van Praag, artistic director Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, VP of marketing Mary Freeth, founder George Schaffer, and NAILS group publisher Cyndy Drummey
Schwartz and Freeth show off their OPI phone cases.
New GM Van Praag speaking to the press.
Van Praag has a strong background with OPI’s parent company, Coty, where she worked with nail brand Sally Hansen in addition to OPI. The new GM officially started her job January 1, but has been a nail fanatic for quite some time. “I’m the woman who brings my bottle of OPI polish into the salon,” she told the crowd. In between courses of salad, salmon, and soufflé, OPI’s other leaders praised Van Praag for her experience and showed excitement for the brand’s future. Artistic director Suzi Weiss-Fischmann expressed her enthusiasm for welcoming another woman into the leadership ranks and shared her hope that Van Praag will help her on her mission to “make color relevant.” Public relations director Harris Shepard looked back at the brand’s 30 year history, dubbing it “magic in a bottle.” Van Praag, who formally oversaw Coty’s properties in Canada, is getting straight to work at keeping that magic alive. With the goal of doing more with education, she, along with the support of Schaeffer (who will stay on as strategic board advisor) and Weiss-Fischmann, is looking forward to expanding OPI’s presence worldwide.
Guests walked away with goodie bags containing the Brazil and Gwen Stefani collections.