Welcome to Indie Insight, the weekly series where I interview an awesome indie nail polish maker! You guys have asked for a segment like this for awhile and I’m happy to do it! I had always loved reading Crumpet Chats To… and have used a few of her questions here with permission.
I am also taking into consideration your other requests from the last giveaway- I will be starting a dupe/comparison series soon and I am definitely entertaining the idea of doing more bath/body product reviews when my budget allows. I will definitely be continuing my top ten series (and will probably expand it from colors into favorites in a single finish type or favorites from a particular brand) which was probably the thing I heard the most positive feedback on. I have a ton of fun doing those so I’m glad that you guys are enjoying them as well!
I also got quite a few requests to do a series on the basics of application, nail art tools, etc…and although it’s definitely something I’ll think about, I feel like I am so far from being pro at nail art or application that I may not have much to say, ha! A couple things were also requested that I’d already done, so in case you missed it, check out my nail care routine and my polish organization/storage/room tour!
This week we are chatting with Michelle of Reverie Nail Lacquer, a brand I have really come to love over the past year. She creates polish in a variety of finishes but is especially known for her wonderfully squishy glitter jellies and her amazing cuticle balm. Let’s get started!
How did you get into nail polish in the first place?
I have always had your average girly-girl interest in nail polish, but it wasn’t until I randomly came across a few nail art tutorial videos that I jumped in! I bought a bottle of Essie Turquoise & Caicos and so began the madness.
When and why did you decide to start your own brand?
I became interested in making my own polishes because there wasn’t really anything on the market that matched the kind of polishes that I personally wanted to wear. I had been interested in polish for a long time and I owned several indies, but no one was releasing the ideas that I had in my head. I bought a small amount of supplies just to play around with for myself and had so much fun doing it, so I invested more into it, started doing testing, and came up with my first prototypes! It has definitely become a good creative/artistic outlet for me and coming up with new ideas is a great stress reliever too!
Tell me how and why you chose your brand name.
I started out under the name Two Gypsies, but after a while, it didn’t feel like the “right” name for my brand. In summer 2014, I decided to rebrand to Reverie Nail Lacquer! I spent a long time searching for what I thought would be the perfect name. I wanted something that was a little whimsical, but gave the notion of happy bliss, since making polish is a nice stress reliever for me! I waited on it for a long time, but the name Reverie really stuck in my head, so I went for it! I’m very happy with the change and where my brand has gone since.
What is your favorite collection you’ve released so far?
I think my Spring 2014 collection will always have a special place in my heart! That is the collection that really helped me start to get noticed – so many people loved Secret Garden from that collection! My other favorite would probably be my Fall 2014 collection. I felt like Bonfire was a really unique and cool polish, plus it was my first venture with flower-shaped glitter in creating Lagoon (which also was a huge hit!) Nightfall also came out of that collection, that has become an unexpected favorite too.
What is your favorite individual polish you’ve released so far?
It seems like I always come back to Tide Pools from the Spring 2014 collection as my favorite polish I’ve ever released. I love that polish so much! It was also the first polish that I ever used star glitter in which is kind of my glitter obsession nowadays as evidenced by no collection going without a star glitter polish since. 😉
What’s your favorite polish ‘season’?
FALL! Vampy colors are my absolute favorite, but I totally don’t need the fall season to tell me what I wear on my own nails!
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your polishes?
I don’t really draw inspiration from anywhere specific – I tend to have a random assortment of ideas come into my head, and then I create them. I almost never come up with names for any polishes until after they’re completely done. But sometimes I’ll see a picture with an interesting combination of colors, and I’ll make a mental note in my head to try to play around with it later!
Do you tend to keep your collections seasonal, or do you make what you want, when you want to make it?
I typically release polishes seasonally, but they aren’t always necessarily seasonally appropriate for that time of year! Nail polish knows no season, as far as I’m concerned. 😉 I am always making new prototypes though, and if I end up with several at a time that I really like, I might release a mini collection whenever I want.
Are there any types of polish that you don’t make yourself but buy a lot of from others?
Funnily enough, I mostly make jelly glitterbomb polishes, but you’ll almost always find me with a basic crème polish on my nails.
How many bottles do you own in your personal collection?
It’s been a long time since I’ve counted, but I’m at least somewhere in the 500 to 600 bottle range. I’m thinking a destash will be required in the VERY near future!
Other than your own brand, which brand do you have the most of in your collection?
HARE Polish, which is one of my favorite indie brands! I have been on an endless mission to collect the entire Last Queen of France collection from HARE, and I’m SO close! I also can’t resist her adorable rabbit labels, they are so cute!
Do you do polish work full-time or do you also have a day job?
I have a full-time day job doing transcription work, and I’m also a full-time graduate student working on my Master’s degree in speech-language pathology. So I am kind of busy, bahaha.
What has been your biggest struggle in polish making?
Just because I am so busy in my life outside of making polish, I would say my biggest struggle is with turnaround time and getting things shipped out quickly. I try to keep my customers informed and shipping policies updated, and I am very fortunate to have had mostly extremely understanding customers, but I still wish that I could find a way to have a faster turnaround! I know it’s annoying to customers when they have to wait for their orders even if they do know ahead of time, and it’s just as frustrating for me knowing I have those responsibilities looming over my head but not enough time in the day to get everything done! I hope that becoming more organized will help me solve this struggle!
What is your favorite thing about making or selling polish?
I love seeing how happy my customers are when they get their packages in the mail, or when people get so excited seeing bottle shots for the first time when I unveil an upcoming collection! Knowing that many people love the polishes I release and think they look beautiful is so exciting to me!
We all know glitter can be really messy and stick to everything- how do you keep all of your glitter, pigments and mixing tools organized?
Right now, it’s a HOT MESS. As my brand has grown, my disorganization has increased exponentially. I’m currently in the process of reorganizing my office space from top to bottom, so I hope to have it all figured out soon! Right now, I keep all of my pigments stored in one large storage container, and my glitters are all in color-coded storage bins – but I hope to move them all to their own tiny individual containers in the near future! I have three Melmers that I keep other supplies in, and my mixing tools are currently just sitting in my desk drawer. I’m excited to finally get organized though – it helps me be more efficient! And I just love when everything is clean. 😉 And as for glitter sticking everywhere – yes. I’ve found glitter on my front porch step and my office is in the back of the house. There’s no avoiding it!
Tell me about your creating process- from first idea through to finished product.
I often find myself in a creating rut for a long period of time, and then a slew of ideas will hit me a once and I end up with five or six prototypes in testing. I do these as individual bottles. After I make a prototype, I tend to test it out pretty quickly on my own nails to see how I like it and make sure that I don’t experience any staining or other issues with the polish, and then they sit for a while to make sure all the ingredients play nicely together. I write everything down so I know exactly what measurements go in, do the math for what I need to make the first batch, and voila!
How many prototypes do you typically have for every polish that actually makes it into a collection?
I usually end up with at least two versions of each polish, and sometimes three. A lot of times, I’ll create a prototype, put it in a bottle, and then I think of something I wish I would’ve added to it, so I remake it with those changes.
The maker/blogger relationship is one that is pretty important in the indie world. How do you decide which bloggers to work with?
I have been fortunate enough to work with some really great bloggers! I find myself wanting to work with people who are very personable and frequently interact with their readers. Number of followers isn’t hugely important to me, but I do look for bloggers who take quality photos that really represent the product. I also gravitate towards bloggers who give honest reviews! Now, honesty and being catty are two different things – you don’t have to be mean to tell the truth, but I always appreciate constructive criticism so I can try to improve and do things differently next time! As far as I’m concerned, not every polish can be perfect happy smiley faces and rainbow unicorns in a bottle – I know when I first started making polish, my formula was a LOT different than it was now, and I owe the positive changes I’ve made in that regard to bloggers who gave me honest feedback.
What was the moment that your brand really started to take off and be noticed? When you first started, what did you do to get your name out there?
I think I really started to notice more and more people visiting my shop and buying my polishes after releasing my Spring 2014 collection. There was so much love for Secret Garden, and I think it really helped bring in new customers to my brand who decided to stick around for the subsequent jelly glitter bomb goodness! 😉 It definitely was a struggle to get my name out there when I first started. I tried to contact bloggers who I felt had a good viewership and were interactive with their readers. I think I owe a lot of the credit to them for helping me get on the map!
What’s your favorite polish not made by you?
It’s hard for me to pick just one favorite – I have a few! My absolute favorite polish is Essie Skirting the Issue. It is the most perfect squishy oxblood jelly in the world! I’m also a huge fan of Sally Hansen Pacific Blue (or any bright cobalt blue!) and Zoya Sookie – it is such a fun, bright red! Those three are my typical go-to polishes if I can’t make up my mind about what to wear. As for indies, I LOVE Wingdust Sleepless Summer Nights, and I have a soft spot in my heart for a-England Tristam too!
With so many indies on the market now, what do you think sets your brand apart?
I try to create polishes that I think are unique compared to what’s already out there on the market, especially when I’m throwing glitters together and trying to come up with fun new color combinations! I try to stay away from a lot of the trends that tend to appear in the indie market, or if I do decide to jump on the bandwagon, I try to put my own twist on it so it’s a little different than the norm. I also don’t release any polishes that I personally wouldn’t wear myself – maybe it’s a little selfish, but I want to love what I’m releasing just as much as my customers do!
Let’s talk a little about the person behind the brand- what hobbies do you have outside of nail polish?
I’m so busy juggling polish, my job, and school that I don’t have much time for hobbies, but some of my favorite things to do are go shopping (I have a serious Target addiction), crafting, and baking. Cupcakes are my specialty!
Do you have any pets? Tell me about them!
I do have pets! I have a Pomeranian named Moose (who happens to be a mini Mugen!), a Shiba Inu mix named Layla, and three tabby cats named Phillip, Buddha, and Walter. I am a huge animal lover – I don’t think there could be anything better than laying in a bed full of Pomeranian puppies, I think I would die! But anyways, my pets are so important to me. I love them and spoil the heck out of them (I’m pretty sure my dogs have more toys than most children have in their lifetimes…)!
Is there anything about you that would surprise people to know?
A lot of my internet friends are surprised when they learn that I am pretty tall – just shy of six feet! I love giraffes and I got to feed a carrot to one through the moon roof of a car one time and it was life-changing. AND I LOVE KANYE WEST.
What’s your favorite kind of food?
I am currently on a serious Chipotle kick, so my mind is currently clouded by that. I also love pizza in the worst way.
Thanks again for chatting with us, Michelle! Talk to me in the comments and let me know what you think of this brand- have you tried them out before? What other brands would you like to see interviewed in the future? Let me know!
If you liked this interview, make sure to check out the other ones in the indie insight tag!