Featuring Guest Guru, Essie Weingarten, Founder of Essie Cosmetics
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February 2011 - Featuring Guest Guru, Essie Weingarten
 
 
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  Guest Guru
Essie Weingarten, Founder of Essie Cosmetics

Q: How did you get your start in the nail biz?
A: As a child I always loved getting my nails done with my mother. Every Sunday my father would take me to buy a new polish and it has truly been a life-long love affair with color ever since. But in truth, the colors were so boring! I always wished there were more to choose from and I always knew that I wanted to have my own business one day. I majored in fashion merchandising at FIT and one day I decided to go for it. I found an amazing chemist who really listened to me and we worked on a formula. Essie started with 12 colors and three treatments. The rest is history.

Q: When did you realize that what you had created was something special?
A: Every month my business grew. Word of mouth was just incredible and I knew within six months that we had something very special.
Q: What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
A: There have been so many challenges. The world was a different place when I started my company. All the technology that makes our jobs easier did not exist. And getting funding was difficult -- no one was giving out money when we started. Distribution issues were always a challenge. But we really learned from every roadblock and turned challenges into opportunities.

Q: What do you think sets Essie apart from other nail brands?
A: Essie offers the best nail polish formula hands down -- it goes on like silk and wears like iron -- that is why women all over the world love it. Our color names have always been important -- some people fall in love with a name before they fall in love with the shade! And the most important thing, of course, is color. Not only do we offer so many choices, but we have always been ahead of the trends.

Q: What shade was your most surprising best seller?
A: We’ve had so many, but I’d have to say that Ballet Slippers stands out. It has been worn by the Queen of England and just about every celebrity you can think of. It is just a simple, perfect pink. I think so many people love it because it is the most universally flattering color and it truly wears beautifully with every skin tone.

Q: Where do you go to get inspiration for new collections, shades, etc.?
A: Anywhere and everywhere. Walking down the street in New York, traveling the world, sitting at the dentist office. I am ALWAYS looking at the world and searching for that one little thing that can be the inspiration for my next collection. It is the most fun part of my job.

Q: What beauty products beyond Essie polishes and nail care do you love and why?
A: I have many, but I absolutely cannot live without my Giorgio Armani Foundation and my YSL Eye Cream.

Q: You had a pop up salon at NYFW this month, and you've been involved in the past as well, why is that important to you and your brand?
A: It’s important for us to be at Fashion Week, because Essie is about being on top of trends and there is so much creativity and color on display during the shows that it is very inspiring. But trends come from so many places -- not just fashion. They come from movie sets, album covers, salons, the red carpet and more. We pay attention to all of it and we cross all that inspiration with our gut instincts to anticipate the shades that drive many of the biggest trends season after season.

Q: Nails are really having a moment, what do you chalk that up to?
A: The truth is that women are not out buying new wardrobes every season. But, especially for professional women, a polished and updated look is necessary. People look at eyes, shoes and hands. It is such a small thing yet it makes such a statement. There is no easier way to ooze style and have fun with color. I always say, a pop of color can feel like a whole new outfit. And you can change it every day if you want. I get the same rush of excitement when I get a new nail color now as I did when I was a little girl in the salon with my mother and I know I am not the only one.
 
 
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