Founded by Rachel James back in 2012, Pear Nova is a vegan, cruelty-free, 10-free luxury polish line is aimed at celebrating all skin tones. Pear Nova offers self-care products as well, and in 2019, launched a physical salon called Pear Nova Studio in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. The salon was created as a safe space for women, to provide not only a luxurious experience, but to inspire, too.

We asked James about her company and what’s next. Here’s what she had to say.


What are your best-selling products?

BRWNGRLMGC Classic Collection. This is a set of 4 nude nail shades named after women we’re inspired by like Michelle Obama and Frida Kahlo. Our supporters love the range of nudes this collection offers since nude is not just one color. 

Who names your polishes, and what’s the process? 

Myself, my sister-in-law and Pear Nova’s newest team member and copywriter, KeAndrea. We discuss the inspiration behind the shades, the feel of the color palette and which direction the names need to go in. There’s always a long list of names to start and I narrow them down to my favorites. 

The beauty industry is still so segregated. Companies like yours are changing the conversation so eventually, it won’t have to be a conversation. How do you hope Pear Nova can make the industry move forward? 

I hope Pear Nova is a destination where more women see themselves and an inspiration to push other brands into not thinking of black and brown as an afterthought. 

Talk about your experience as a salon owner…how has it been bringing Pear Nova “to life” in a physical location? 

That process was extremely enjoyable for me. I felt like I was being stretched past my limit but also able to explore other areas of creativity that I didn’t know I would love so much. 

What’s trending at the salon level with clients? 

Nail art overall. Clients are experimenting on another level of self-expression since we’ve been out of quarantine. Our no.1 service booked is still a classic pedi and gel mani. Nudes, brights and white (for those toes) are being used the most. 

What’s been the most challenging thing and the most inspiring thing about your journey in the nail industry thus far? 

I see each step to the next level as a challenge. I love finding other black female founders across all industries to connect with and study. Watching them win helps me push forward on my journey. 

What’s next for Pear Nova? 

We’re finishing out 2021 with our biggest partnership to date (a collaboration collection with the TV series CLAWS!) that includes new classic nail shades. Next year is all about getting into major retail, more partnerships, new shades and new products. 

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