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]
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.