Welcome to Indie Insight, the weekly series where I interview an awesome indie nail polish maker! This week we are chatting with Adrienne of Virago Varnish! Virago Varnish is a fairly new brand but has been getting a lot of attention recently and personally caught my eye with a recent mermaid-themed glitter collection. Let’s get started!
How did you get into nail polish in the first place?
I think I was probably born with polished nails and toes. I really can’t recall how I got into nail polish, but I can remember polishing my doll’s nails as a little girl. I guess I’ve always loved nail polish.
When and why did you decide to start your own brand?
My 12-year-old daughter watched a YouTube tutorial on DIY nail polish and wanted to give it a try. Two days after we made the polish it became unusable. I wanted to figure out what when wrong so I began to research and soon discovered the world of indie polish.
Tell me how and why you chose your brand name.
My kids and I came up with the name. I wanted a name that represented a strong woman which led me to virago. At first I was leaning towards Virago Lacquer but my son said I should be different and go with Virago Varnish.
What is your favorite collection you’ve released so far?
The Boardwalk collection has been my most favorite.
What is your favorite individual polish you’ve released so far?
Show Stopper is by far my most favorite. It will always have a special place in my heart.
What’s your favorite polish ‘season’?
Fall since I tend to gravitate to darker colors.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your polishes?
Inspiration comes from everywhere and I mean everywhere. Show Stopper is the exact same color of my flat iron. Many polishes from my Christmas and winter collection were inspired by colors of Christmas ornaments.
Do you tend to keep your collections seasonal, or do you make what you want, when you want to make it?
All of my collections have been seasonal with the exception of the Enchanting Sirens. I released that collection during spring and not a single color was spring related.
Are there any types of polish that you don’t make yourself but buy a lot of from others?
How many bottles do you own in your personal collection?
I have no idea. Last time I counted them was early last year and at that time I had well over 600.
Other than your own brand, which brand do you have the most of in your collection?
Do you do polish work full-time or do you also have a day job?
Up until a week ago, I was working full-time. To dedicate more time towards Virago Varnish so I am now working part-time.
What has been your biggest struggle in polish making?
My biggest struggle has been finalizing collections. I have the hardest time determining what prototypes to add to collections.
What is your favorite thing about making or selling polish?
The best thing about making and selling polish are my customers. They keep me motivated and encourage me to keep making polish.
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?
Organized? What’s organized? My office aka “The Lab” is a mess. Everything is scattered across my desk. I keep my glitter and pigment inside the bags the supplier ships them in. My mixing tools are usually hidden under those bags of glitter and pigment. My lab be disorganized but, I can easily find what I’m looking for.
Tell me about your creating process- from first idea through to finished product.
I usually get hit with the creativity bug at night. I’ll get a certain color in my head and I instantly go into my lab and start mixing. If I can achieve the color I’m aiming for, the polish becomes a prototype in hopes of making it into a future collection.
How many prototypes do you typically have for every polish that actually makes it into a collection?
It varies. I’ve had 10-15 prototype polishes per collection.
The maker/blogger relationship is one that is pretty important in the indie world. How do you decide which bloggers to work with?
I tend to work with bloggers who have a large following and provide honest product reviews. I believe working with bloggers who have large followings offers more product exposure.
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 noticed I was taking off when they Single’s Awareness Day collection sold out. That’s when I started noticing people were becoming interested in Virago Varnish. In the beginning when I first started selling, I asked several bloggers and vloggers to review my polish. I felt that was the best way to get my name out there.
What’s your favorite polish not made by you?
My all-time favorite is “For Audrey” by China Glaze.
With so many indies on the market now, what do you think sets your brand apart?
I think my unique polish colors, consistent formula and interaction with followers on social media sets Virago Varnish apart from other indie brands.
Let’s talk a little about the person behind the brand- what hobbies do you have outside of nail polish?
Making nail polish is my hobby.
Do you have any pets? Tell me about them!
Yes, I a 17-month-old Siberian Husky name Riley. He’s a brat but, he’s my brat. He is quite a handful. At the end of the day I wouldn’t trade him for the world.
Is there anything about you that would surprise people to know?
I don’t like glitter nail polish. That may be hard to believe considering I’ve released two collections that consisted of all micro-glitter polishes.
What’s your favorite kind of food?
Italian food. I could eat Italian food just about every day.
Thanks again for chatting with us, Adrienne! 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!