Meet Carleigh Pearce, the creator behind Ellison’s Organics! Her lacquer line has been to Fashion Week and in the hands of celebs like Orange is the New Black’s Selenis Levya (she plays Gloria). Get to know the polish maker in our Q&A below.
Us: Is there a story behind your brand’s name?
Carleigh: Ellison’s Organics is the mix of my two boys’ names – Elliott and Harrison. It was either that or Harriet’s. I went with Ellison’s.
How long have you been making your own polish?
About a year now! I can’t believe it’s been that long. I’ve learned so much and come so far from my first attempts at making polish. I am excited to keep learning more and make even better polishes. Customer feedback is key! If something doesn’t work, and especially when something does, it helps so much in the process.
What’s your “day job”?
I proofread depositions and trial transcripts for court reporters. It can actually be pretty interesting!
How did you begin creating your own polishes?
I wanted to play too! My nails, unfortunately, are not beautiful and shapely like some out there and I have never been overly fond of how my nails look when I’m done painting them. I enjoy nail polish and the variety of colors, textures, shimmers, glitters…I have found that creating nail polish is wonderful way for me to be able to be involved in this world, and I can use testing out new colors as an excuse for a new bedraggled-hands manicure every now and again. It’s fun to play with micas and pigments and mix them to see what I can come up with. I love having the option to be creative in this way when my “other” work is so technical.
What makes your line of lacquers unique?
Ellison’s Organics lacquers are almost entirely naturally colored and most are vegan. There are some colors that contain carmine and there are a few colors that contain artificial colorants (these are always clearly marked as not being entirely naturally colored and vegan, respectively). For the most part, I use only micas, pigments and oxides to color my lacquers, as I want to keep added chemicals to a minimum. 3-free nail lacquer is still a chemical-containing product, but I see no need to add more into the mix; I’d rather mix micas, pigments and oxides until I get the color I’m looking for. As I mentioned, there are some customer favorites that I haven’t found a natural colorant mixture for yet but I want to meet for my customers’ needs so they stay in the collection. My mission is to keep quality high while making nail lacquer that is as natural as possible.
What’s the inspiration behind your lacquer colors?
I make polishes that I think are beautiful! I also look at the trends and do my best to offer polishes that will fit in with the couture of the moment, and I love creating polishes in the hopes they will be trend-setters. Nothing is off limits. Fan suggestions are also a great source of inspiration!
What is your best seller right now?
I would have to say it’s definitely one of the blues, and I think Bigger on the Inside would win out. Royal blue is one of Pantone’s colors for fall, and it is hot right now, especially on red carpets! Bigger on the Inside is the polish I gifted at New York Fashion Week this year and it has gone over beautifully with the celebrity and press recipients. Selenis Levya (Orange is the New Black) is a particular fan and has promised a mani photo! I’ll be sure to share it when it comes.
What is your favorite polish you’ve ever created?
Cast Your Care-ibbeans Away is one of my favorites. I love the bright, cheerful blue and the feelings that color invokes. I also love Husky Purple because it’s one of the colors of my alma mater, the University of Washington – Go Dawgs!
What’s one tip you wished you knew when you started your own indie line?
Take your time to experiment and refine before launching a new line. It is so exciting to put together new lacquers and the immediate reaction is to want to share them with everyone! I have found it is better for me if I get the opinions of some of my wonderful bloggers/swatchers before sending new lacquers out into the world. Oftentimes the feedback I receive from the eyes/hands/perspective of someone who isn’t quite so invested in my “beautiful and perfect new creation” is invaluable and results in an even better nail lacquer.
Any spoilers you’d like to share about your future collections?
For this winter, look for a collection highlighting some of “my favorite things!”