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]
Starting with a little background, I am an anti-bullying advocate and have recently graduated from The Parent Leadership Training Institute, where as part of our studies we were asked to come up with a community project close to our hearts and put it into action. My cause was bullying, and I began a blog and Facebook page to address issues pertaining to all forms of bullying. Implementing this project was followed by a thre- minute speech to my peers, and, after all this, here is what I have learned about bullying.
Bullying makes people feel bad about themselves, leading to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem and even physical symptoms. The repercussions of bullying can cause people to miss school or work as well as countless other negative side effects.
I have been bullied both at school and at work, and I know of others who have suffered the same plight. It is not fun!
My first bullying experience was in seventh grade as a young teen. There was a group of three "mean girls" who harassed me and, I later found out, several of my friends; they thought it was funny to pick on others about their clothes, their looks or whatever else they could come up with (who knows). It felt awful at the time. Supposedly, I was chosen to get picked on because they claimed I bought my clothes at the Goodwill. That wasn't true, but really who cares? Why they were picking on me was never really the point. Luckily, after a while, the meanies went on to the next victim(s) like a never-ending cycle. I tend to think once a bully, always a bully, which goes to show how good a lifestyle that is, because those "mean girls" never amounted to much. In hindsight, I feel sorry for them. Watch the movie The Gift if you're really curious about what happens to bullies when they grow up.
And bullying was not just an issue when I was a teen, since then nothing much has changed. My own nephew was bullied in eighth grade, and he recently talked to me in depth about of how the bullying took a toll on him. Especially because I had the same experience, I could relate to him in ways that some others couldn't. Like reliving my own memories, I was incredibly broken up to hear how it made him feel.
Even worse than that, bullying does not end in the school yard. Employees are being bullied on the job at an alarming rate. When you are bullied on the job as an adult, it taken an even bigger toll. Further it doesn't just go away like those middle school "mean girls." Unless you can quit your job, you might just be stuck. There are all kinds of physical symptoms, stomach pains, migraines and even panic attacks. Beyond the physical, people's mental and emotional state is extremely sensitive to bullying, and as a result work performance might suffer. Furthermore, it might feel like there is no recourse, no one to believe you. You can hope that the HR Department is willing to listen and do something about it, but the whole process can be so disheartening. And in the hierarchical corporate environment, sometimes the bully seems to get ahead and you are left lagging behind in a subservient position. This is what happened to me as a victim of workplace bullying. It started with me being told by a co-worker that my boss was following me to the bathroom, staring down the hall whenever I left my desk to make sure I came right back to my seat. Then it was standing over me as I typed, ordering me to get in a car with them, not allowing me to sit somewhere if it wasn't within their sight. The list of offenses could go on endlessly. There were times I felt like I couldn't breathe. And then, the bully torturing me got a promotion. Like the character of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, the classic bully is revered by her peers, despite the fact that all of her employees are terrified of her. Yet, she is in a role of high stature and praised as a bully. We live in a culture that is not only complacent in the existence of bullies, but one that actively allows them to thrive.
It makes you realize how unfair life can be. Of course, no one said that life would be fair; maybe you just assumed that bad people would not get ahead. But, they do. Even now, I cannot help but to shake my head in disbelief. I often wonder what makes a person feel the need to laud their power over another. Are they insecure? Were they bullied themselves? They must feel bad about themselves in some way? Do they feel the need to do this to make themselves look good? Whatever the reason, it certainly isn't nice at all. I have found myself at different times in my life standing up for people who have been bullied around me. And I certainly do not allow anyone to treat me in any way that I find disrespectful. I truly believe in karma, and I tell myself that at some point in time, the bullies will get it back in some way. I have seen it happen, and in the meantime, I just say to myself "What goes around, comes around."
Bullying shows no sign of slowing down, and in this day and age, it's even worse than I have experienced in the past. Cyber bulling, rumors, fist fights, knifes, guns and other forms of both mental and physical cruelty, it truly sickens me. I know that I cannot save everyone, but I try to be an advocate as much as possible and encourage others to do so as well. NO ONE SHOULD BULLIED! It is disgraceful to say the least. You should always practice grace as much as you can. With every person who chooses to do so, the world gets a little bit better. I will be writing more on this topic on a regular basis; I feel it helps to talk about this subject aloud and spread the word. and, if nothing else, be kind.