Some nail professionals dream of someday creating their own polish line. If that is something you aspire to, here are the owners and creators of Profiles Backstage, Traci Dungan and Ami McClure, as guest bloggers to give you a bit of an inside look at some of the things involved.
Creating our own polish line was tough! We created gel-polish and regular nail polish.
For our bottles, we tried to not look like any other brand, which is hard — there are only so many shapes/sizes of .5 oz (most desirable size) bottles. We wanted an edgy look, but still girly. Then there was the choice between labeling or screen printing. Labels were cheaper, but that doesn’t look nearly as professional and clean as screen printing. The problem with screen printing is that there are serious minimums, like 5,000-10,000 bottles. Then you need to make sure you have the SDS sheets on hand, and the right information on the bottles. Super important! Air-dry nail polish is quite volatile and flammable.
Now that you have invested in the bottles, you either have to have an OSHA certified room to pour the polish or you can pay certain polish distributors to package them for you, at a cost. Finding a gel-polish company manufacturer wasn’t hard; there are only a few in the US. Then there’s the importance of selection — you need a lot of colors! Nobody wants a gel-polish line with only 10 colors in it. Now you have to invest in 50 or 60 colors, again with minimums on all of these. We started with 30 or 40 colors and have added a few colors at a time every six months or so, and that has worked great!
A few more tips if you are thinking of creating your own polish line.
Yes, the fun part, the brand name, the names of the individual colors, the choice of bottles and artwork, these are definitely the fun stuff, but to play devil’s advocate — one thing I have learned along the way is all the not so fun stuff to consider.
Do your research on these topics as they will drastically affect your bottom line. Knowing where your time is best spent is probably the best advice out there. For example, if you fill, package, and ship your products instead of having a company do some of this just to save $1 a bottle, maybe your time is better spent on promotion on social media or education about your line. I am totally guilty of this! I think I can do everything myself and looking back our time is much more profitable when we focus on the parts of the business that we are best at and hire a killer team to help.
Another consideration that we sometimes ignore: There is so much competition out there for polish lines. What will make you stand out? Have a plan and stick to it! The good thing is nail techs (and women in general) will always be in search of the latest colors, trending products, cute packaging… the list goes on. But be clever with your products. I’m a sucker for shark tank, I love that show. One of my favorite and most reflected on statements on the show is how they preach about introducing a product into an already overloaded market. Does your product solve a problem or is your product better? If so, what is it or why is it? Answering these questions has really helped me make better decisions.
Traci mentioned creating new colors for the seasons — I agree! This is so important to stay relevant in this ever-changing industry. If your budget only allows for 50 colors to start with, plan on 30 so you have funds to allocate to your “seasonal collections.” To get inspiration for new colors, I always recommend checking out the Pantone colors of the upcoming season. Some other great inspiration comes from Swarovski and top designers like Louis Vuitton. Always keep an eye on makeup color trends too.
Thank you, Traci and Ami, for taking time to give us a sneak peek at a tiny part of the start to polish ownership dreams! If you want to follow the girls or check out their great polish, you can find them online at the following links: