Why are most of the innovations in polish coming from retail companies instead of professional companies? Why are nail fashion trends being set by retail companies and consumer beauty editors instead of professional manufacturers and nail technicians?

The professional nail industry has benefited from the polish rage. which many in our industry acknowledge was started when. Chanel launched Vamp nearly five years ago (despite the fact that that color had been available from professional manufacturers before Chanel released it). But since then, with the introduction of blues and greens and all the other nontraditional nail colors, the trends in nail color have all been launched by retail companies, even small companies. The Hard Candy phenomenon wasn’t started by a nail technician or a professional manufacturer; who you would think had a finger on the pulse of what consumers would wear and nail technicians would sell.

Tony & Tina, Nars, Smashbox, Stila, et al, have found favor with the consumer beauty editors and have been able to sell polish for upwards of $20 a bottle. How is that possible, we should ask, when everyone in the professional nail industry constantly laments that nail salons don’t, can’t or won’t retail? If professional quality polish is superior to retail brands, why can’t nail salons sell it to their customers then? If professional companies are most in touch with what nail techs want, why is it that Tony & Tina has come up with an ergonomically designed polish bottle that was so innovative it made its way into the Museum of Modern Art? The packaging innovations, from Hardware’s mini paint cans, to Townley’s groovy Fab Fingers, to scented polishes have not come from our favorite professional manufacturers.

Granted the professional nail industry has launched many of its own trends and is responsible for the boom in nail care, and some manufacturers have managed to drive more clients into the salon for services and for retail by doing consumer advertising and promotions, but I think we need to start leading the way in actually setting the trends. Maybe NAILS hasn’t done as good a job as it should in predicting trends and setting them as much as reporting on them. You have my promise that we’re going to do a much better job at it now.

The challenge for us all—the magazines, the manufacturers, and the salons themselves—is to take the lead in setting nail fashion trends.


For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.