In my previous post, I wrote about the intimate dinner I attended with guest of honour Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, Executive Vice President & Artistic Director, OPI Products Inc. As I was seated beside her at the dinner, we were able to chat at length on a variety of topics but I did leave some questions out on purpose – mainly because I knew I would be seeing her again the very next day at a media luncheon, where the latest collection from Nicole by OPI was to be launched – along with the fact that I would be getting some private one-on-one time with her for an interview.
The luncheon was held at Buonanotte, Toronto, and the entire restaurant was booked & decked out for the event – I got so caught up meeting and talking with so many people (Marta of Chit Chat Nails and Mary of Swatch And Learn, for starters), I completely forgot about taking more photos of the venue *bad beauty blogger*. With several displays of the upcoming Nicole by OPI Carrie Underwood Collection available for viewing, City TV interviewing Suzi, and mani stations set up for the invited guests, I almost didn’t know where to look first. Once lunch was served, I was whisked away for my mani appointment where there were endless possibilities to choose from; I finally opted for ‘Goodbye Shoes’ – a unique sage/army green crème shade, with not one, but 2 accent nails: a chevron tip on my thumbs done with ‘Color Me Country’ – a creamy Barbie pink & ‘Carrie’d Away’ – a fine golden glitter, and ‘Party Bus’ – a mix of holographic glitters, down one side of my ring fingers. Definitely not looks I would ever usually wear, but I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. The only sad note, is that I ended up missing dessert – my absolute favourite part of a meal … and it was my favourite too: Tiramisu. Small price to pay though, right?!
Immediately following my mani (my nails were actually still wet at this point), I was directed towards a secluded table where I was given a few minutes to interview Suzi – while our time was somewhat short, I am nonetheless grateful, as right after the interview, she left to catch a flight. Even pressed for time, she still graciously gave me her full attention and made me feel very welcome.
*The following interview has been lightly edited in order to keep this post from becoming ridiculously long (oops – too late!). Also, I should mention that if the questions seem a little random, it’s because I forgot my notes back at my hotel room, and tried to remember it all from memory *palms face*.
When you began working with nail polish, did you ever imagine that it would take off the way it has?
“Never. I was hungry and I really had the passion; if there’s one thing my parents taught me, it’s to be passionate about what you do. I sometimes teach branding & marketing at university, and I always tell students that it’s hard work. You must commit and you have to have a certain vision and follow through, even though there may be many bumps along the road”
What do you personally feel about nail polish? Do you enjoy painting your own nails, or would you prefer someone else do them?
“I love it and no, I don’t do my own nails. I think it’s the one service in the beauty industry where client & technician are face to face. There’s something about someone touching your hands – that comforting feeling, like everything is going to be ok – and you have that 30 minutes or up to an hour, where you get a chance to relax, like a mini getaway. I like to say it’s like ‘psycho-a-nail-ysis’!”
I find that we’re in a very innovative & exciting time for nail polish right now. Which direction do you believe these trends are going?
“I believe that all this variety will continue – the shimmers, the glitters and all the textures, but I also see a more retro look coming back, crème shades in many colours, such as mauve, pink and red – all hues from darkest to lightest. I definitely see crème shades coming back for a more classic look, but in a modern way and there’s nothing to stop people from dressing up even a classic look with something fun”
What is it about nail polish, that is just so appealing?
“Colour is very personal to a woman and nail polish allows you self-expression, it can affect your mood, change your look as well as your outlook. You can look at your nails anytime you wish to enjoy the colour – no need to get up and use a mirror for that. We talk and motion with our hands all the time; take a newly engaged girl for example – her fingers are the most important thing where everyone wants to see the ring and by extension, her nails. Nail polish plays a role in so many important events in our lives – starting from when as a young girl, your mother might take you to get your first manicure, to applying nail polish for various social situations, to your wedding day”
What was your first personal experience with nail polish? How old were you?
“I was probably around 16 or 17, a late-bloomer to nail colour, but to this day, I still get that same feeling each time get a manicure from one of the OPI technicians: I always say that my nails look so much better than when I sat down! That’s why we’re still in this business – it’s an uplifting feeling!”
Who is the ‘Nicole by OPI’ woman? Who does this brand cater to?
“She is younger – that’s how this brand was originally designed; for example, someone who probably just got her first job and may not have the disposable income to purchase OPI, but wishes to stay with a trusted brand. This is how we envisioned it”
Are there any specific charitable causes that tie-in with Nicole by OPI?
“We have contributed to many charities since we began, but as OPI is now owned by Coty, we participate in the parent company’s focus, which is to eradicate blood cancers”
Other than the fact that it is an accessible commodity, what do you contribute to the success of nail polish with consumers?
“As you said, it is primarily an affordable luxury, but another aspect is how fashion has embraced nail colour, and I believe that really took it to another level; for the past 5 years at least, designers have been working in tandem with brands to help make nail polish an integral part of their vision”
What are your feelings on fashion designers creating their own lacquer brands?
“You know, I think it shows how important and influential this category really is and how consumers wish to become even more personal with their favourite designers – as an extension of their overall look”
Speaking of designers, is there a specific look or fashion house that you particularly embrace?
“I love Lagerfeld, CHANEL, Givenchy, Céline for her clean lines, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler – I believe that there’s an amazing crop of new talents behind these brands, and their work is so impressive”
Therefore, you believe this tie-in between fashion and nail polish will continue?
“Absolutely. I don’t see this collaboration going away”
What haven’t we seen with nail polish – what’s left unexplored?
“I do believe we’ll be going back to crèmes again, but always keeping the quality in focus; shine, longevity and saturation of colour continue to be important – all qualities first introduced with gel colours. I believe we’ll be looking more towards creating polishes that offer the same benefits of a gel manicure, but without needing to go to the salon to achieve the look – something the consumer can do herself. I think that’s the next trend”
Certain shades, such as blues and reds, can be quite staining – how has this been tackled by OPI and Nicole by OPI?
“To begin with, inferior dyes definitely play a role in these issues. I believe in dealing with reputable manufacturers of such products, in order to avoid this problem in the first place. But as I always say: please apply a base coat first, or even something thicker such as a ridge filler”
Are you ever polish-free?
“Always! At the office, I test things on myself all the time, but leave my nails bare in between”
As a last gesture before leaving, Suzi gifted me with a personally autographed bottle from the upcoming Nicole by OPI Carrie Underwood Collection – a truly lovely keepsake of the entire experience!
the venue: Buonanotte
Nicole by OPI – Carrie Underwood Collection
Nicole by OPI – Carrie Underwood Collection
Nicole by OPI – Carrie Underwood Collection (check out her signature on the poster!)
Nicole by OPI – Carrie Underwood Collection (detail)
seated for the luncheon (I spy Mary and Marta in the forefront …!)
Suzi Weiss-Fischmann addressing the attendees – her positive attitude towards bloggers and social media in general, is very impressive
the menu: I am obsessed with arugula – so totally loved this salad, and I chose the seared branzino (European sea bass) as my main course. Still upset over missing dessert …
mani time! (PS: I am so NOT used to someone else doing my nails – my detailed nature finds it hard to not jump in & take over, lol!)
some mani ideas to choose from: I had the top left on my thumbs, and 2nd from top right on my ring fingers
‘Goodbye Shoes’ – how gorgeous is this shade?
with Suzi Weiss-Fischmann – and now, I can cross meeting this wonderful woman, off my bucket list!
Suzi personally autographed this bottle of ‘Sing You Like A Bee’ – just for me!
Mary (Swatch and Learn), Marta (Chit Chat Nails), and yours truly
with Maxine – the amazing woman who made it all happen for me (and whom I can’t thank enough!)
with Michelle – so happy to finally meet this gorgeous girl, especially after I’ve been collaborating with her for so long now!
these beauties worked tirelessly to ensure every detail was perfect – thanks Gabrielle & Samantha!
I’m still reeling from this entire experience – from meeting Suzi (twice!) and getting the chance to pick her brains (she’s a formidable woman, but so incredibly grounded as well), being wined and dined so lavishly, getting my nails done (I’m definitely too critical to make this a regular habit), to getting the opportunity to also meet two amazing fellow bloggers, Marta & Mary (we sat together at lunch, then capped off the day by heading to Starbucks where we continued our conversation!), this was an incredible experience and I am so grateful to everyone who helped make it all come about – thank you, from the heart! ♥
The Nicole by OPI Carrie Underwood Collection will officially launch at all retailers starting January 2014, but I’ll definitely be showing you my swatches way before then!
homeward bound …