INTERVIEW WITH MAYA COSMETICS
Q: How did you get started in making polishes and what inspired you to start creating?
A: It's funny, but it hasn't even been a year since I discovered that PEOPLE MAKE THEIR OWN NAIL POLISHES??!?!?! What??!!?!? For years I didn't even wear nail polish and then sometime in the fall of 2011 I kind of became obsessed. I started reading nail blogs. My nail polish collection has grown from maybe 15 polishes to roughly 350. Earlier this year I discovered Dollish Polish--super fabulous! Then I purchased some indie polish that wasn't so fabulous. The glitters bled and I don't think they used suspension base. Out of frustration and REALLY wanting that polish to work, I started searching for a way to make it usable. I found the Dr. Frankenpolish and Polish and Pigments sites, and from there found supplies. I wound up completely remaking that polish then made some of my own mixes--I was hooked! It all happened really fast so it's hard to pinpoint a single source of inspiration. I just know that making polish gives me a much-needed creative outlet.
Q: What in your background or experience do you feel contributes to your expertise in creating polishes?
A: My first reaction to this question was um, nothing...I'm not a scientist or artist or nail technician by trade and I only recently stumbled upon my passion for making polish. But I do feel that as a consumer I have relevant experience in that I know what I want when I make a purchase. I have a lot of polish, both store-bought and indie, and my own expectations for a purchase are always on my mind when creating polishes. Is it visually appealing? Does it apply well? Would I want to wear it more than once? Am I getting my money's worth? Those are things I want customers to be able to answer "yes" to every time and what I draw upon when finalizing a polish.
|Top L-R: Hex, Kung-Fu Treachery, Tranquillis, Glacies|
Middle: It Can't rain All the Time, Commotion, Ignis, Olive Not-So-Drab, Hyperbole
Bottom: Hidden Agenda, Almost Happy Hour, Voodoo, Last Call, Enigma, Hocus-Bogus
Q: Where do your polish ideas come from?
A: A couple of polishes are ideas from movie or tv shows/quotes, a few are the result of me just sitting down and mixing things I think would look nice together, two were a specific vision for a LE collection, one was an accident, and a couple of the glitters came about because some sample packs of glitter just happened to be next to each other and I was like "huh. that might be awesome." So all over the place, I guess...there's no set rhyme or reason!
Q: When you create, do you create polishes based on what you would want or do you create based on what others might want?
A: A little of both. For example, I prefer glitter polishes as topcoats in a clear or very sheer base. But I see that many people really love glitter in a colored jelly base that can be opaque on its own, so I've created some of those for launch and have more planned for spring.
|The Aequilibrium Collection: Tranquillis, Ignis, Glacies|
A: I get an idea and just start playing around (or the other way around haha). I take note of what I used, and then later I recreate the polish using a scale and exact measurements. Testing is constant until I'm happy with the polish, and wow do my cuticles take a beating. I have nail wheels but I don't feel like I can accurately test a polish unless I apply it to my own nails. If it's difficult to apply or I don't like the end result on my nails, I start over (I have nearly a gallon's worth of test batches drying up in my "fail bucket" because I didn't like the end result). I also put the polish in one of my bottles and apply it that way for testing. I think this is important because that's how my customers will be applying it. All of the polishes I'm selling have been tested on my nails at least 3 times over multiple days and actually worn as a mani for a day or more.
Q: How long do you test your polishes before considering them fit to sell?
A: It has varied based on the type of polish but generally speaking, 3-5 weeks. For new mixes of glitter polishes--3 weeks of testing glitter and then the process I mentioned above (most of my opening line has been tested much longer, like 2 months or more!). For new shimmer polishes--I usually give them two weeks to rest, then test on my nails several times (again, most of my opening line has been tested for much longer).
A: No. I've never considered using a pre-made mix because I feel like I'd lose some creative control.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the idea behind the name and the logo/labeling of your brand-Maya Cosmetics.
A: This is very personal, but I am going to share some of this on my store blog anyway so here goes. A friend passed away this past summer, right about the time I was getting serious about starting this business. Her puppy's name was Maya. Seems strange maybe, to name my brand after someone else's dog, but my friends and I often wondered (and still wonder) what happened to Maya. It was a name that was on my mind a lot, and a beautiful name. Once I started considering it for my brand, I looked up meanings online. It has a meaning in Hinduism that (simply put) means "illusion," in the sense of the physical world being an illusion. This really resonated with me because of the emotions I felt surrounding the circumstances of her passing. So that's the brand name, one way of always remembering my friend Michelle.
As far as logo/labeling, I decided on a clean, simple look. The circumstances behind the naming of the company really influenced me to present a certain image with the labels/logo/website. Just go all out and make the vision a reality from the start. Present the product in a way that I felt honored her memory. So that's what I did.
|Enigma, Olive Not-So-Drab, Kung-Fu Treachery|
A: If a polish is defective, the policy is to replace with the same polish if it has been recreated/is available without defects. If it cannot be replaced without defects, we will process a refund or offer a coupon for a free polish with a future order (there isn't an option for outright replacement with another color, for inventory tracking reasons). Customers have 30 days to make a defective polish claim, but if a problem shows itself to be widespread after 30 days, of course we will be flexible on the 30-day policy.
Q: How often do you plan on stocking your shop?
A: In a perfect world I would always have polish in stock (ha). I hope to keep polish in continuous production so I don't run out often, but at this point I don't know what to expect as far as demand. I know what I'm capable of in terms of production, and I can say that if I run out of stock of a particular polish I can theoretically have more available in 4-7 days (depending on type...shimmers rest longer than glitters). If I run out of stock on multiple polishes at once, then it gets trickier to give an ETA on restocks. I will say that when a batch of polish is ready it will immediately be restocked on my site; I won't be holding off for big scheduled restocks of multiple colors.
|Hidden Agenda, Last Call, Commotion|
A: Tough call! I'd have to say Kung Fu Treachery is definitely a fav because the name and the mix were my husband's idea and I love how it turned out. I'm absolutely obsessed with Hex, though...it's limited edition but I'm thinking of making it permanent through the fall/winter because I think it's amazing.
Q: There are over 200 indie brands on the market today. What are you focusing on in your line that sets you apart?
A: Wow 200, really? That's awesome! I'm focusing on customer service, a range of products that appeal to a broad customer base, ease of application, and consistency.
|It Can't Rain All the Time, Hyperbole, Almost Happy Hour|
A: This is my first business venture. It's exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time and I know I have a lot to learn, but I'm ready to jump in! My "day job" is working in cube farm, which I've been doing for many years, so I'm really looking forward to this challenge. Thank you for reading!
Hey readers, thank you so much for sticking through this very long, but (hopefully) worthwhile post. I know that there are a ton of indie brands out there right now, and any little bit of information helps! Maya Cosmetics will be opening up shop tomorrow, Oct. 4th, 12 EDT! Polish retails for $8 each.
I will post The Aequilibrium Collection review tomorrow-Oct 4th, The Cast-A-Spell Collection on Oct 5th, and the rest in the days following. ALSO, Kat has kindly sent me the entire collection to use in a giveaway! So, look for that as well!
Where to buy: Maya Cosmetics
Facebook Page: Maya Cosmetics