OPI and its founder Suzi Weiss-Fischmann shared with the beauty editors how she made her way into a new business – cosmetics – what her principles are and what inspires her. This woman has a story to tell that is absolutely fascinating and one of a kind! Starting the company in 1989 as a dental supplier, she discovered that the acrylic bases could be useful for an improvement of the nail polish quality. She named the brand after the initials of her company, O(donthorium) P(roduct) I(nc), and with her passion for colors and perseverance, she built the prestige brand and worldwide No. 1 for nail lacquer for professional use.
Gabriele Fuchs, beautypress CEO & Founder, wanted to know more about that very successful businesswoman, who at the same time, is a down to earth mother of 2 kids.
How did you start your company?
Suzi: With my brother-in-law we started a dental supply company: in the early 80s we saw all these artificial nail extensions based on acrylics which is a very similar chemistry to dentures. After meeting a young chemist who was working in the movie industry for special effects, we decided to work on a formula and came up with the liquid, the powder and the primer – that was our first product. Salon professionals loved the product from the start because it was easy to use and they had enough time to shape the nails. In 1989 we wanted OPI to be a household name and to have products that you could take home.
What advice would you give start-ups that want to enter the cosmetic business?
Suzi: The world is completely different to when we started. Today you can start a company through social media! If you have a good product and you gain enough followers, e.g. by a successful YouTube video, you can sell it online. That is how indie brands start their business these days. Our basis was our good quality, fashion forward shades and iconic names – but it also took a great idea and the right people to make it happen!
So what do you think is your personal secret for success?
Suzi: Passion – because I am really passionate about what I do – and discipline. You have to know what you want and you also need to stay up to date about what your competitors are up to. But nevertheless you always need to follow your instincts. And you also should have the courage to make decisions. Sometimes you might be wrong of course, but you move on and you learn.
Is there a predominant color when you think about success?
Suzi: In the beginning, OPI was always known for beautiful REDS from dark to light. If you would have asked me 10 years ago if I would do greens or blues, I would have said no. So as trends evolved, I evolved. And so to say I have kind of grown up in this business and now I think about all the colors and nothing is taboo.
If you look into the future, let’s say the next 5 years, what do you predict for the nail cosmetic market?
Suzi: A big trend will be treatments to improve the nails. It will be all about wellness, like in skincare. As innovations in the formulas are very difficult to achieve, I think there will be an evolution towards hybrid products. These are products between lacquer and gel where we can extend the wear and the shine of our basic nail polish. I am talking about nitrocellulose based nail polishes. If someone wants to achieve maximum shine and wear you will always go for gel. But the durability of whatever formula will always depend on the quality of the nail itself and what you do with your nails. Serena Williams, who is by the way a licensed nail technician and fan of OPI, has her nails done with gel before a tournament. She wants to avoid chippings and damage and always makes sure they stay perfect.
Will the market for classic formulas shrink and gels take over?
Suzi: No, I don’t think so. They will stay the biggest part in quantity because they are affordable but see more competition and become more price-sensitive. And of course they are done easier and quicker than the hybrid or the gel systems that need more steps and are time-consuming. Hybrids will be for home use while gel systems are for professional use only. Our goal is to offer the best possible product for the consumer at home and for the professional in the salons. We know that the first buy is mostly about the color and an impulse buy, but the second buy is about quality, so that is what we always have in mind.
Courtesy of BeautyPress.com