Admit it: those silly names labeling the countless OPI nail polishes you've picked up at the salon have made you chuckle more often than not. What surprises you more — the fact that it takes up to eight hours to name one or that one woman is responsible for creating all of those gorgeous shades? In an interview with BirchBox, OPI's Executive VP and Creative Director (and brilliant shade-creator) Suzi Weiss-Fischmann divulged the secrets behind the successful nail polish empire.
Weiss-Fischmann started OPI with her brother-in-law in the early '80s. But it wasn't always about nail polish — OPI actually started out as a dental supply company. But they shifted to nail polish formulas after meeting a chemist who helped them create a formula for acrylic nail polishes. "We put together a liquid and a powder, and an adhesive agent, and we put a rubber band around it. That’s where the idea for acrylic nails came from — we called it the 'rubber band special.'"
When they launched, OPI started out with 30 shades. Some of them are still in the line, including Coney Island Cotton Candy and Cajun Shrimp. Since then, Weiss-Fischmann has created every shade by herself and continues to do so 25 years later.
But when it comes to naming them, Weiss-Fischmann has a team of six people who help her come up with the clever monikers, like "Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine!" and "Sparrow Me the Drama." It takes them up to eight hours to name 12 different shades.
So, how do other nail polish companies come up with their clever polish titles? Seattle-based Butter London told the LA Times they turn to British slang when coming up with names. After all, their creative director, Nonie Creme, is a British transplant. They even provide a dictionary of British terms for customers on their site.
Meanwhile, over at Essie, founder Essie Weingarten likes to keep the name game a solo act. "I have creative people help suggest names, and some of them are really good! But in the end, I decide," Weingarten told Fashionista in 2011. When asked if she could think of another nail polish company whose names are as clever as hers, she said, "To be perfectly honest? No, I can’t!"
We smell a naming battle! Do you have a favorite nail polish when it comes to names?