Shawntay Johnson — a nail tech of over 16 years with OPI, CND, and Ardell training — yearned to have her own enterprise. In 1999 she opened Shawntay’s Creative Nail Boutique in Columbia, Md., now complete with ample retail items and a big following. But one thing was always missing for her: a polish line.

After years of research, Johnson found a private label company that would produce the product of her dreams. She recently launched Shawntay’s Creative Nail Lacquer, which she sells both online and in her shop. Most of Johnson’s clientele are nail techs in the U.S. who buy her product for use or retail in their salons. However, through social media, she was able to reach an international market, creating contacts throughout Africa and the United Kingdom.

The line, a marriage of trending colors and sassy packaging, currently features 10 polishes plus a base and top coat. Colors include Hot Kinky Pink, Sex on the Beach, and Snowflake Scandal. The U.S.-made formula is long-lasting and free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP, and camphor. Johnson plans to launch new colors seasonally.

“My polish is a combination of who I am, what I do, and what I love,” says Johnson. “I advise nail techs who want to create their own brand to use their creativity to make sure their product is different from others. Moreover, find a private label company that really understands your vision.”