From Dental to Nail Care: How OPI Became the #1 Beauty Brand Worldwide

After seeing an opportunity in the market, we transformed our business.

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Without a doubt, the launch of Nail Lacquer and nail color was the turning point of OPI. We had transitioned Ondontorium Products, Incorporated to OPI after realizing that the same components used to produce dentures were being bought up to be used for acrylic nails.

After seeing an opportunity in the market, we transformed the business into a nail care company, creating products for salons that were doing acrylic nails. Our next big step was deciding to move into color.

I’ve always been acutely aware of beauty, and especially the role played by color, whether it’s viewed in fashion, nature or art. Moving into color felt like the next best move, and I was excited to use my instinctual eye.

When we began creating Nail Lacquer, we saw that there was a very limited color palette available to women. For the limited colors that were available, the names were formulaic and unmemorable like Red #2.

We decided it was time to rebrand the category in a big way. We wanted women everywhere to find nail color approachable, to have choices in a color that reflected their mood and style, and to feel more connected to the process. That’s when we launched our first 30 colors. With catchy and playful names like Coney Island Cotton Candy, Malaga Wine, and Kyoto Pearl, we started to get women’s attention and connect with them. It brought on two important things for the brand: consumer awareness and consumer loyalty — on a global scale.

We brought women color that was exciting and memorable. They could choose from not only reds and pinks, but also a rainbow of other hues and finishes, offering shade for everyone and to match any look or outlook. Women began going to their salons asking for their favorite OPI shades by name and before long OPI took off. We wanted to make women feel good while also empowering them.

We changed the whole nail care category for the better. We continued to add new, beautiful shades every season inspired by everything from travel to celebrities and film/TV, and with this, we were able to continue to excite the consumer and solidify OPI’s position as the #1 professional nail brand worldwide.

To read more about color as the one true universal language, check out my new book I’m Not Really a Waitress: How One Woman Took Over the Beauty Industry One Color at a Time.

Originally published on Quora.

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