OPI co-founder struggled with being ‘taken seriously’ [Video]

OPI, the nail polish brand known for its iconic and witty polish names, has come a long way since its inception as a dental supply business.

The company’s meteoric rise has a lot to do with its female co-founder. Suzi Weiss-Fishmann, an immigrant and second-generation Holocaust survivor, co-founded the company along with her brother-in-law — but it wasn’t always an easy journey.

“The biggest challenge was for me to be taken seriously,” Weiss-Fishmann told Yahoo Finance in an interview, adding that she had to learn to build her confidence, which came with time.

“I grew with OPI…and the more confident I became, the better I became and the better my presentations were. Once I gained the confidence to speak, I was taken seriously,” she added.

Be passionate, be authentic to who you are…Suzi Weiss-Fishmann, OPI Co-Founder on advice to women

Today, OPI boasts mostly female employees, with a priority to “work with women, elevate women and build relationships with women all over the world through nail color,” Weiss-Fishmann noted.

Most recently, the company partnered with Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox to cater to female gamers, who “can always look at their nails [when] they’re gaming.” The unique collaboration was also inspired by the pandemic as travel came to a screeching halt.

“We wanted OPI to be part of a woman’s life wherever she is, or whatever she does,” the executive said.

Spring 2022 OPI x Xbox Collection (Courtesy: OPI)

Spring 2022 OPI x Xbox Collection (Courtesy: OPI)

With geographic locations “a huge part” of previous OPI collections, an alternative was “to travel to the virtual world,” Weiss-Fishmann told Yahoo Finance — a sign of the times as many companies continue to venture into the metaverse.

But the pandemic also created various hurdles for the business, which heavily relies on in-person nail salons, the bulk of which shut down during COVID-19 lockdowns.)

“Women were doing their nails at home…so it was very important to be able to reach [consumers] with the products in a timely manner,” Weiss-Fishmann said, noting that OPI leaned on e-commerce platforms like Amazon (AMZN) to ship products.

Now that pandemic headwinds seem to be subsiding, another issue plaguing the sector is inflation.

As of today, Weiss-Fishmann said the company is “not raising prices” to ensure that salons won’t lose clients in between services.

‘We made nail color personal to women’

(Courtesy: OPI)

(Courtesy: OPI)

With social media and TikTok at the forefront of new businesses — in addition to nail care startups like Olive and June rising in popularity, OPI has relied on its longstanding identity to keep up with competitors.

“Being a 40 year brand, OPI can be considered an old brand, but we’re very new and exciting,” Weiss-Fishmann said, explaining that the company is constantly updating its colors and polish names.

“We made nail color personal to women. We made it sexy, aspirational…[women] remember what OPI nail color they wore [during] those special occasions in their life. It really is something very special, and I think that differentiates OPI,” the executive continued.

Overall, Weiss-Fishmann credits her successes to passion and decisive action — something she’d recommend to all women looking to advance their careers.

“Be passionate, be authentic to who you are…have patience, perseverance, and make decisions,” she said.

“One of my superpowers for my success has been that I made decisions. Sometimes they may not be good but you move on. As my dad would say, ‘You can always catch the next train.'”

Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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