Business 26 December 2016
In a current nail polish market where nudes and grays are the trending colors, how does a beauty brand that is known for their bold colors and sparkly polishes maintain a cult following? According to Christy Rose, founder of KBShimmer, it's simple; you give the customer what they want when they want it.
Rose started KBShimmer as a bath and body company as a 'creative outlet' about 8 years ago, making homemade soaps, bath bombs and sugar scrubs out of her basement. Three years later, she added nail polishes to her line – but not just any kind of polish, she wanted the boldest colors and tons of sparkles and chunky glitter. (Take Ornamentally Flawless from the brand's Winter 2016 collection, for example.) "When we started nail polish is when we really exploded" explains Rose. "Other brands with similar products in the industry – OPI, China Glaze, all of those [brands] – they released a lot of the same products over and over [and] consumers were looking for something different, unique and tailored to what they wanted. They wanted sparklier, outside the normal [shades] and we were able to provide that to them in a way they wanted – directly."
Rose explains that at the time of KBShimmer's nail polish launch almost five years ago, new limited-edition releases in the nail market were similar to those Kylie Jenner Lipkit, where products are sold out before most can get to them. Christy wanted to change that. So she set out to get a website up and had covetable, limited-edition inspired product available at all times. "It wasn’t something in that smaller space that had been done before," she says. "You had to previously know when they were listing product and be there right away [to purchase the polishes], so by making it a goal to allow the customer to shop like they normally do, that helped our business grow quickly. They would get what they wanted when they wanted it" and fast, too.
KBShimmer produces most of its products in-house near Indianapolis, Indiana, conveniently in the same building as their shipping center. To wit, most domestic orders are shipped within one or two business days. For international orders, KBShimmer has partnered with Harlow & Co.; a Canadian website that sources and sells various international and indie nail polish lines.
Rose says she knew from the beginning that connecting with consumers in the digital space was critical to KBShimmer's survival, not only in terms of selling the product but also by building personal relationships with fans through social media. Much like its early approach to e-commerce, KBShimmer was also one of the first brands amongst its competitors to collaborate with popular bloggers. Rose explains that shortly after launching the first nail polish line, before partnering with an outside PR agency, she reached out to influencers to put a familiar face in front of their product. "We reached out to bloggers that had a good size audience and a different social media presence to connect with them and get them to try our product and hopefully review it and put information out on the web," she says. "And that has grown over the years." Over the last five years, as the use and development of social media has grown exponentially, and organically, so has KBShimmer's network.
Rose explains that what started out as a network of five or six bloggers, has now expanded to around 40 that the brand works with on a consistent daily basis to get information about their products across all social media channels.
For Rose's Winter 2013 collection, she teamed up with 11 different bloggers, each of whom created a color inspiration, provided a name, and then Rose brought their visions to life. Though it was only three years ago, Christy's 2013 collaboration was an early venture in the world of fostering beauty brand and blogger relationships. Among some of the bloggers that participated in this collection were Jen from Polishaholic and Velesha from Peachy Polish, all three of which Rose mentioned as some of the first bloggers that she sought after to work with KBShimmer.
Along with maintaining relationships with key bloggers, Rose also explains how she maintains personal relationships directly with her customers herself through the use of the brand's Facebook page KBShimmerBathandBody, the page, which has almost 200,000 'likes', is run by fans but Christy makes it a point to respond and interact with followers on a daily basis. She uses the outlet to ask for opinions, give sneak peeks of new products and drive contests. In addition to consistently interacting with the Facebook page, she also runs the brand's Instagram account, with a follower count at 53.6k, and explains the importance of keeping the social media experience intimate.
Regardless of KBShimmer's reputation for eccentric and complex polishes, Rose acknowledges that current trends in the nail polish industry are focusing on simpler shades. "Right now people want a palette cleanser, going back to nudes and classic tones. [However], our customer base wants to have a little bit of a twist, a holographic sparkle, smaller contrasting glitters," she says. "[They] want something other than straight creams." She goes on to explain that while they will always stay true to their brand's aesthetic, she still acknowledges market trends while designing and creating new collections.
To wit, her newest collection, being released on January 4th is described as a "workplace appropriate collection," she says. The range will feature "[muted] tones; nudes, grays and lilacs but with a little bit of a naughtier twist: sparkles, shines and metallic finishes." This workplace collection will mark the first of the year's five new lines.
The Quick 10
1. What app do you most use?
Instagram or Facebook.
2. Briefly describe your morning routine.
I like to sleep through the alarm in the mornings. I basically wake up when my cat tells me to by scratching and getting in my face. I pop up and shower, I'm not one that wears makeup on a day to day basis so I go to work out or go directly to work.
3. Name a business mogul you admire.
Lela Barker, she is with Bella Lucce and Lucky Break Consulting. She has grown an amazing bath and body spa business clientele all over the world, and has fallen in love with helping other entrepreneurs through different classes, speaking events, and online information. If I have business questions or questions about FDA regulations, she is someone I've been able to look up to, she does things top notch.
4. What product do you wish you had invented?
5. What is your spirit animal?
Cat. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have said that, as they're such independent creatures and do what they want. They're headstrong and still lovable. I think that describes me, I want to do my own thing and I love to have that support at times. Cats are the same way, they seem stand-offish but every morning they come to wake you up looking for snuggles and love.
6. What is your life motto?
Don’t be afraid to try. That’s it. For a long time I was afraid to put myself out there. For the first few years of my business I did enough just to make myself happy. It wasn’t until I lost my job and really needed to do something to make this work that the business really exploded. I had to get past my fear to try and look where I am now.
7. Name your favorite work day snack.
Hummus and pita bread.
8. Every entrepreneur must be what to be successful.
9. What’s the most inspiring place you’ve traveled to?
Bermuda. My husband and I and saw tons of small businesses and entrepreneurs making crafts and jewelry who really stood behind their product. It was so inspiring how many people were living in paradise.
10. Deserted Island. Three things, go.
A supply of books, my family, sunscreen.[/thb_border]
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist