January 23, 2013

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The Rise of Jamberry Nails

Sarah Cutler

January 23, 2013

What happens when you go to a nail salon and it doesn’t have the color, design or product you want? Easy—you manufacture it yourself. At least, that’s what sisters Lyndsey Ekstrom, Christy Hepworth and Keri Evans did.

In 2010, after an afternoon of pampering at a salon, the sisters agreed on two things. First, they wanted a simple nail product for at home use; and second, to become business partners.

Christy Hepworth’s husband, Adam, encouraged the sisters to manufacture a product to market and sell at shows and expos, such as the What a Woman Wants Show. “That first weekend of really trying in sales, they killed it. It was a home run,” said Adam Hepworth.

Hepworth’s roots are in the ski industry, as a cofounder of Bluehouse Skis, which manufactures skis and brand stickers. He began pulling his time away from Bluehouse to help build a website and perfect the product with his knowledge of adhesives.

So what is the product? Nail wraps or shields, made out of resilient vinyl. With vinyl as the canvas, the Jamberry Nails team began designing hundreds of designs and colors. Today it has more than 275 different designs that can last up to two weeks, with some variation in design with the seasons and holidays.

The application is relatively simple. The wraps peal off like stickers and then heat is applied—the standard hairdryer works beautifully—combined with pressure.

Every six months a new catalog of designs is released. “Each time we may retire anywhere from 50 to 100 designs and replace them with the same number,” said Adam Hepworth.

Soon after the product was sold at expos, consumers began asking if Jamberry had “nail parties.” After a few trial parties and the hiring of sales consultants, Jamberry relaunched using the party plan sales model. There are now more than 6,000 consultants working for Jamberry, and the company is ecstatic with the results.

“Because we offer so many designs, there’s no way we could sell that many designs in a retail space,” he said. “We have an enormous variety that no one can compete with.”

In addition to variety, Jamberry has Fashion Week. Designer Christine Alcalay used Jamberry’s product during last fall’s Fashion Week in New York. “Our product was featured by designers on their models. There were nail techs to help all of the models get their nails on,” said Hepworth. “We’ve already been invited back next fall.”

And while Fashion Week is exciting, Hepworth pointed out the importance of the employees and sales consultants. “We’re never going to go to straight retail; our strong suite really has been the home parties,” he said. “People can purchase directly from our site, but people will always be able to host a party if they want.”

For more information visit www.jamberrynails.net.

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