I just got back from a great trip up north to Redmond, Oregon, where associate publisher Michelle Mullen and I visited Light Elegance Nail Products. It just so happened to be the company’s one-year anniversary in their new (awesome) building in Redmond. They were formerly located in Eugene, Oregon where owners Lezlie and Jim McConnell launched the company back in 1999.
They have a great story. He, a chemist, and she, a salon owner, talked to the nail techs in her salon about what they’d like to see in a gel line. Light Elegance was born in the salon and all of the products are manufactured right there at McConnell Labs in Redmond. They even have the only UV gel lamp that is made entirely in the United States. (And they’ll repair any lamp…yes, any brand…with a one-day turnaround.)
The new building has a great open front meeting area with big windows and a loft-like second floor that houses the company’s classroom and training facility. In the back warehouse area, they have three mixing rooms (one of my favorite things is seeing how products are made) and Jim’s R&D lab. We even got to peek into the “glitter room” where they keep all of the glitters and pigments for mixing their color and glitter gel polishes.
There are 11 employees, who each specialize in certain job functions, but as a small, family-run company, everyone pitches in to help wherever needed. The newest member of the team is Jim and Lezlie’s daughter Lexy North, who just graduated with a graphic arts degree. And of course, I can’t forget their adorable dog Riley, who comes to work with them every day.
Jim and Lezlie McConnell (and their sweet dog Riley) proudly showed us their new building in Redmond, Oregon.
One of my favorite things when I go see manufacturers is seeing how products are made. Here, Lezlie shows us a batch of Peacock glitter gel being mixed. (One of the three mixing rooms is dedicated solely to glitter so that glitter doesn’t get into any other products.)
Lezlie’s original salon was called Lexy's, after her daughter. The original sign hangs in the warehouse to remind the company where they got started.
The training area upstairs is a place where the company can hold classes or nail techs can come in to try out products.
Jim and Lezlie's daughter, Lexy North, is the newest member of the Light Elegance team.
When it’s quitting time, there’s a keg of locally brewed beer on tap out back in the warehouse.
Jim and Lezlie took us to hike Smith Rock close to their offices. I was quite happy to make it all the way to the top. That was a steep hike in 80-degree temps.