When I’m on a color-mixing binge, my studio looks like a hot mess. There are jars, micas, and glitters everywhere. I’ll even find glitter hiding in my sweater when the brilliant sunshine spotlights and busts those tiny intruders.
The birthing of a collection involves many stages. It starts from an idea, a story, a word. We then research the visuals, come up with names, and that’s when I start mixing—this is the part I cherish the most. After all, isn’t it all about the colors at the end of the day?
I lock myself up for weeks, blasting an inspirational and mood-appropriate playlist while I’m pinching in a dash of mica and pouring in a spoonful of pigments. Whenever a recipe fails, I sink into despair, but I pick it all up again the next day and analyze what went wrong.
During mixing weeks, the girls at my studio try to resurrect the colors on my reject and maybe piles—I must admit these girls can put up some fantastic and beautiful arguments, but once a recipe is rejected, I always try to mix a better version.
In the final stage, we test all the colors and edit. The office becomes loud and rambunctious during the editing process; after all, we all have colors we simply can’t live without.
We pack the samples gingerly with love and send them to the lab for a color match. As you well know, this process can take months, and at times, over a year.
Can you imagine if any part of this process were to be deleted from the making of any collection? I wouldn’t even know where to start or how to continue if I only had stock colors to work with. Do you remember my cryptic post awhile back? ( Click here to read) At the tail end of last year, I received earth-shattering news. The lab I’ve been working with since the year 2000 announced that they would no longer match custom colors. I’m not going to lie, we all know that the nail polish industry has changed; everyone wants to jump on the trend bandwagon—this market is simply saturated. To be honest, if I owned the lab, I would do the same thing. The beauty giants ask them to make more than 150 new colors all at once, ordering barrels and barrels of lacquers, how could they make room for me? That’s business, right?
Did I scream, cry, freak out, and dig myself into a black hole of sorrow and anger? Of course I did, thank goodness I had been working on the Emoting Me Collection. On a gray, winter afternoon a few weeks after the bad news hit, I was in a daze just staring at the board when I came to a realization. I needed to turn this situation around.
Perhaps something good could come out of this atrocity. I repeated all the names of Emoting Me like a mantra for hours, trusting the universe. I picked up my phone to get a new lab.
There are only a handful of nail polish labs in this country. I’ve always kept in touch with many of them, some are great and others are shady, like any business. Since living part-time in Paris was already in the works, I even contacted European labs—this turned out to be a disaster. But we relentlessly tested every solution out there. After asking for samples, tweaking formulas, and many conversations with our liaison company (who serves as a go-between the lab and myself), I demanded and dug even further. I wanted our formula to be 6-free—this time without “Camphor,” which I’ve tried to work on for many years, but the result had always failed to meet my standards.
The Fan Collection 2.0 was our first collection with this new lab, and they have triumphed with a long-lasting 6-free formula. They impressed me with the color matches. In fact, I was really moved because not only did they understand colors, they also cared. My older lab would sometimes send me colors that were not even close. In more than a decade, I had never approved an entire collection after one color match until now—yes, there were many faint-inducing emails sent all around.
Although I’ve managed to turn this challenge around, like with anything in life, there are trade-offs. It is my wish to make all of our future collections using the new 6-free formula. This new lab requires that I commit to larger orders, which I embrace; it’s not our intention to ever have colors that sell out in lightening speed.
Therefore, there will be several new changes:
1.We won’t be able to offer BiBs (Bring It Back) for a while. (I never say never, but not in the near future at this point).
2. We will no longer maintain a supply of our beloved core colors: Plie, Grunge, Chinoise, Coral and Cerise Noire, but rest assured that our staples—Base Coat Prep, Base Coat and Top Coat—will faithfully remain in stock.
3. Expect a surprise email next week that will rock your world! If you haven’t joined our mailing list, now’s the time!
You’ve been *winked*