Monday, January 2, 2012

A Conversation with Amanda from NerdLacquer

We have all seen the recent nail polish craze sweeping through the hearts of women all over the world, which caused the birth of several new niche nail polish companies to be born.   I have always been a huge supporter of small businesses, especially those run by young female entrepreneurs, but of all the new companies that have been making it's mark, NERDLACQUER caught my eye.

Like many others, I went to her Etsy page and drooled over the glittertastic custom blended nail polishes that she had for sale.  Her collection is extensive as there is something for everyone there, and can be purchased individually, in trios, or in awesome collections of minis or full sizes.

Don't Blink & ADORABLE packaging!

Warrior Ethos
What girl doesn't love a little sparkle in her life right? I say this as I'm the girl who proclaims proudly to love "ugly" colours and as my husband calls them "muddy/murky" colours.  Yes, Nerdlacquer has arrived and have been winning people over with her amazing glitter bomb nail polishes, but I'll be honest, it was the conceptual approach to a nail polish collection that won MY heart, and her quirky and adorable packaging that led me to contact the owner, Amanda to grace me and my readers with an interview.

T&O: Tell me about your brand and the woman behind nerdlacquer

NL: NerdLacquer was born because after getting frustrated with a few lame collections from brands I love, and also seeing things that "would be so perfect if only..." -- I thought hey, I can make that. I'm a graphic designer by day, so I have to be good with color. I've also got extensive experience with all types of paint -- everything from interior latex enamels to artist's acrylics, and I like sparkly things. A lot. Since nail polish is paint, and it's sparkly, and you can wear it... this was bound to happen eventually.

My day job is in L.A., via telecommuting right now -- I was in Los Angeles for ten years, but moved to Alabama last fall. My mom was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer a couple of years ago, and though she's essentially stable at the moment, I wanted to spend some time with her doing fun stuff. We've lived across the country from one another for most of my adult life, so it's good to be able to see her every day and goof off and do crafty stuff (she's like me in that regard -- yarn, glitter, fabric, wood, power tools, paint, BRING IT. WE CAN TOTALLY MAKE THAT).

T&O: So tell me when and how your nail polish journey began and When and why did you decide to start making your own polishes

NL: I've "adjusted" polishes forever, but I didn't build any from scratch until... this past August, maybe? My collection included quite a few that I wasn't crazy about (as all collections do), and also lacked some shades that I could envision but not find for sale anywhere. So I used stuff I had on hand, knocked together two or three bottles, sent to friends, friends were all "omg you should totally sell these," and then the whole thing came together in literally about two weeks. Concept and design for three trios, mix prototypes, design labels, photograph and swatch, upload to Etsy, boom.

Of course, Etsy is like the Amazon of crafty stuff. There is SO MUCH on there, and I figured it'd be weeks before anyone even noticed NerdLacquer's existence. But that's fine! Just a hobby! Maybe it'd eventually get to the point where I'm selling 50 or so bottles a month - that'd be great, and it'd give me an excuse to buy more glitter, right? I was so, so wrong. My first sale -- of all nine shades -- came about an hour after the store went live. To date, I've sold just under 2,000 bottles (IN THREE MONTHS, HOLY CRAP), and NerdLacquer is carried by SGNails in Singapore, Harlow&Co in Canada, and starting mid-January, by

Antisocial media
T&O: I love your packaging so much, that is why I felt your polishes stood out from others, but tell me what you think makes your polishes different

Packaging is important! (Says the graphic designer...). My two sort of guiding concepts for NerdLacquer are :

A) Glitter, but not SOLID glitter. I love stuff with multiple sizes and shapes and contrasting colors of glitter, in a base that's also got plenty going on. Enough pigment and/or shimmer that you can get it opaque (or nearly) in two coats, but sheer enough that you can layer with it. I have a ton of great glitters in my own collection, but often they're only suitable for use as an accent, or they're so sparkle-packed that they're really rough and eat top coat, and the lack of sufficient lacquer binding makes them come off in big flakes the next day. Boooo.

And B), why does every single nail polish have to be named for glamour-princess-foofy-pants stuff? If it's not Hollywood / sexy / beauty queen, it's fairy rainbow cartoon kiddie stuff! COME ON. I know for a fact there are plenty of chicks who like sparkly girly stuff AND enjoy watching movies that feature shit blowing up in space, because I AM ONE OF THEM. I would rather eat broken glass than watch a romantic comedy, but I can (and have) spend entire weekends in bed re-watching BSG on my laptop. I've got a tattoo of the Imperial insignia on my right ankle, a Doctor Who ring tone, and a four-foot painting of a Stormtrooper helmet with viking horns (because why not?) hanging on my wall. Do not ever get me started on Lord of the Rings trivia or ask me how many times I've read all the DiscWorld novels or Naomi Novik's Temeraire series. I get trapped in a Wikipedia-reading infinite-feedback loop on an almost daily basis (last night it was Gen. Douglas MacArthur, super symmetry, the Lockheed-Martin F-35, and half the links therein. I am a giant nerd.

T&O: What's your greatest achievement since starting nerdlacquer and what is your favourite creation so far

NL: Maintaining my sanity while [mostly] keeping up with demand! It's been two solid months of 12- to 14-hour days, every single day. NerdLacquer is, again, only about three months old, so I have no idea what post-holiday demand will be like. But if this pace continues, there's going to have to be some hiring of part-time polish-mixing mercenaries. ..

My favorite so far? Oh geez. I'm personally all about blues, greens, and silver/greys. Don't Blink, Event Horizon, Antisocial Media, and Hyperspace Bypass are super faves. Also Entirely Unlike Tea, which I LOVE even though I rarely dig "nude" shades. And I personally never wear reds or pinks, but I think Nebula is just fantastically gorgeous.
Event Horizon

T&O: What do you have in store for us in 2012

NL: Well, Day 1 of 2012 marked the launch of the new Firefly trio (uh, add "Shiny" from that set to my list of faves above), so that's a start! In 2-3 weeks I'll have a super duper special-edition duo that will BLOW. YOUR. MIND. Seriously, I was thinking of calling them "OMFG WHAT" and "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING." I've got a new trio planned out for a Feb 1 launch as well, and about 6-8 other new trios that I've done concept and basic design for -- those will launch at a rate of probably 1 new trio every three weeks or so over the coming months, depending on how busy things are.

Mostly I hope to be able to continue doing what I've been doing! I love the whole process -- designing new shades, mixing, finding cool new ingredients, and talking to buyers and bloggers! Everyone has been so enthusiastic about NerdLacquer, and I'm so appreciative of all the orders and all the nice things everyone has to say about them. It's been a real kick to have so many people saying "omg I LOVE THIS" about something I made!


Amanda from Nerdlacquer has disappeared and there is no word from her.  Many people were left without fulfilled orders. 

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