Video Transcript

00:09 Essie Weingarten: There were so many different ways one could go. If I decided to be like all my competitors, I would have done lots of different things. And that’s an easy thing. You add acrylic nails. You add silk wraps. You do this. I said that’s not true to the Essie brand. The Essie brand was about quality, about color and about natural nails. And I stayed true to that. It didn’t matter what was going on to the right of me, to the left of me. It really didn’t bother me. I just knew I had my customer that trusted me, trusted my team, trusted my aesthetic, my sensibility to color and the names that ingratiated women into our world.

01:08 Weingarten: And people would say, well how did you do it? I gave every color a name so it would have a personality as well as a reason for being. It could be places that I aspired to go to, that I hope one day I will be in Fiji. I haven’t been there yet. But how many of you have worn Fiji? And it puts a smile on your face, right? And you feel good and you almost feel like you’re on vacation. But if you don’t then you could wear it and need a vacation. Or every now and then color names just feel right. And it doesn’t matter if it was a day that I was like, oh my God, I feel so bad, I’m wicked, and Wicked was born.

02:01 Weingarten: And when Wicked was born, it was because we had done a lot of pastels. And that was in the late ‘80s, I think it was. And everyone was wearing pastels wherever you went. And we did like St. Lucia Lilac, and St. Martin Mint, and, oh my God, Barbuda Banana. I did all the islands and they were all fabulous pastel colors. And I went, you know, I see pastels everywhere. I’ve got to do something so completely different. And I went into, like, another world. And I did Wicked. And Wicked was the darkest color imaginable. It was almost black. It was a black and gray. And everyone looked at the color and went, oh my God, I’ll never wear it. And a distributor was in from England. And I said, Lisa, do me a favor. Just take these 500 bottles back to London with you. She said, Essie, no one will ever wear it. I said, try. By the time she got back it was probably three days later she called. She said to me, oh my God, you have to ship over. This stuff is amazing.

03:17 Weingarten: Now there’s a backend to the story. In the U.S. it was still like, ooh, who would wear that color? Well, as luck would have it, a company by the name of Chanel launched a color called Vamp. Well, the rest is history. Vamp went crazy. They are not nail polish people. Once it sold out, it was gone. And there I was with Wicked. Well, Wicked was the number one selling color all over the United States for the next century. It’s been nonstop. It was good fortune. It was timing. I was there first. No one knew what to do with it except one of our distributors in London, until another company which had something, three times the price, maybe even four times the price, and then everything just works magic.

04:23 Weingarten: And it’s perseverance. It’s staying the course. It’s not being afraid of believing in yourself and in believing in what you believe in, as well as just going out there and doing it. And I could tell you I sold my company in 2010 to L’Oreal. And it’s been an experience. I have learned now how different the world is when you talk corporate, big business to being an entrepreneur. As far as I’m concerned if you like to rock ‘n roll, make things happen, get it done, entrepreneurs, that’s the way to do it. Trust me.