Community//

The Little-Known Tale of OPI’s Unlikely Origins

OPI’s origin story is probably one of the most unique business stories in the history of the beauty industry.

OPI’s origin story is probably one of the most unique business stories in the history of the beauty industry.

I was in my 20s, working with my brother-in-law at a small dental supply company in L.A., and we noticed that nail technicians kept coming in to buy our products. Realizing that dentures and artificial nail extensions share similar chemistry, we saw an opening in the market and seized it.

We knew we could make a safer, higher quality product than what was already being used, and after two years of formulation, I began dropping off the “rubber band special” at every salon on Ventura Blvd. in Los Angeles. A jar of powder, liquid, and primer—rubber-banded together—became the OPI Traditional Acrylic System and was a huge hit, giving OPI its start in the professional nail industry.

Later, it was my interest in fashion and design that prompted me to take OPI into the world of color in 1989. Our unconventional beginnings convinced me that listening to your instincts is key in business—especially the beauty business, where trends are constantly changing.

When I first started exploring the nail polish beauty category, I concluded that the category was missing the mark with women. It wasn’t personal and it wasn’t relevant to their needs, desires, and beauty aspirations.

It needed to be developed by a woman who was just like them—me! A working mom with a busy family and professional life, I was looking for the same things other women were: quick beauty solutions, a spark of color that could lift my spirits, and nails I could be proud to show off, whether sophisticated, sexy or just plain fun.

For more OPI history, and how I managed to juggle it all, 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. 

    The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    How OPI Changed My Life’s Story

    by Suzi Weiss-Fischmann
    Community//

    My Inspiration Behind OPI’s Bestselling Nail Colors

    by Suzi Weiss-Fischmann
    Community//

    How I Went from Biting My Nails to Being the Co-Founder of the World’s Top Nail Beauty Company

    by Suzi Weiss-Fischmann

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.