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12 Nail Polish Shades Turned Into 900

Posted by Andrea Welzien on Friday, January 4th, 2019


Essie Weingarten always knew she wanted to own her own company. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, starting a business was in her blood – she just didn’t know which direction she would go. As a little girl, Essie’s mother would reward her for good behavior by taking her to the nail salon. Essie looked forward to the visit every week after her ballet lessons. However, she found the color choices to be a bit boring. It was looking back on these memories that gave Essie the inspiration to start her own nail polish company.

Essie was born and raised in New York, and went to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She always had a love of fashion, and held numerous jobs in the field after she graduated. In 1981, she took her life savings of just $10,000 and decided to go for it. She had 12 colors made at a lab, and put together little kits with one of each. After much thought, Essie decided that Las Vegas was the perfect place to launch her brand. “What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, necessarily,” said Essie. She thought Vegas would be a place where women have a higher disposable income. She figured they also needed to look well-groomed with jobs like dancing, casino dealing, and cocktail waitressing where they were in front of the public constantly. “If I could get them to wear it and talk about it, it would spread like wildfire,” she said. And it did.

After she delivered her kits of 12 shades to 100 salons in Las Vegas, they were calling her within weeks with orders for more. Women who were on vacation in Vegas told their home manicurists about the polish, and Essie was getting orders from states all around the country. Within just one year, the Essie brand was in 10,000 salons across the country! The year after that it got picked up internationally. Business was booming. L’Oreal came to Essie in 2005 and wanted to buy the company, but she said no. However, in 2010 during the recession, she agreed. At that time, Essie was bringing in $28 million in sales!

Essie now has over 900 shades, each with creatives play-on-words names such as “Glow with the Flow” and “Just the Way You Artic”. Her Ballet Slippers shade was even requested by Queen Elizabeth II herself. From a little ballerina getting manicures with her mom, to now having her brand in more than 25,000 salons across the country, she is truly an inspiration to follow your dreams. “Not bad for a little girl from Queens,” said Essie.


This entry was posted on Friday, January 4th, 2019 at 4:50 pm and is filed under Cosmetic Leaders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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