The United Nations couldn’t have asked for a better turnout than the 250 OPI educators, distributors, field management, and corporate staff who came from all over the world to attend OPI Products Inc.’s first-ever Educational Symposium in January. The event, held at the Universal Sheraton in Universal City, Calif., marked the 15-year anniversary of OPI.

“We had educators from Israel, Argentina, Panama, Great Britain ... literally the four corners of the world,” says George Schaeffer, president of OPI. In an emotional opening speech, Schaeffer credited much of the company’s success to the educators and distributors who use, sell, and promote OPI’s products.

A Shared Vision

Centered around the theme “OPI Is Universal,” the three-day event was designed to create a sense of unity among the company’s far-flung representatives. Schaeffer and vice-president/artistic director Suzi Weiss-Fischmann took turns welcoming everyone and stressing OPI’s commitment to being “Partners in Professionalism.” Schaeffer says, “We think this event emphasized the fact that we are a major force and plan to be around a long time.”

Many announcements and unveilings took place at the .symposium. The first was OPI’s new corporate logo and colors. The new look — copper letters against a black background — will appear consistently in OPI’s printed materials, advertising campaigns, and product packaging. OPI’s new advertising director Lori Justice showed some examples of the 1996 ad campaign, including OPI’s “signature photo” of a woman’s face partially obscured by a brimmed hat. Only her red lips and long red nails stand out. Justice explained that the goal of the company’s new look is to convey a unified, professional, and very fashion-forward image.

The second important announcement occurred during the day of classes, as educators went to rotating workshops. A new product, expected to be launched in late spring, was described as “a technological breakthrough for the nail salon industry.” That night, at an elegant banquet in the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, OPI gave out awards to representatives in each region. On a more personal note, George and Miriam Schaeffer celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary during the event, and Weiss-Fischmann announced that she is expecting a baby in September.

At the end, everyone flew home with gifts, a better understanding of OPI’s products and future direction, and the image of Schaeffer leading a conga line through the Universal Sheraton hotel. None will be soon forgotten.

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