Tonya Rainey’s first debut on Nail It! was as a blogger and nail artist, and she’s since expanded her business and become the polish maker behind Fickle Fairy Potions, with a whole selection of saturated, wearable colors. She told us about her transition, and gave some advice for starting an indie. Check it out in our interview with her below.
How long have you been making your own polish?
I started making polishes last spring. I had made a few “franken polishes” (where you mix other polishes together) in the past but making my own polish was a whole new world to me. I can’t tell you how much product I wasted trying to figure it out. I finally made an acceptable polish and I opened my store July 1st.
What’s your “day job”?
I am actually a nurse by profession, but currently not working. I needed a bit of a break from the “real world” and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to focus on my business. I spend my days researching, marketing, creating products and playing polish!
How did you begin creating your own polishes?
I have always wanted my own business, just didn’t know where my creative talents would take me. When I got really involved into the nail community, I heard about blogging. I love to write, so I started out blogging. I loved receiving indie polishes and reviewing them. There is just nothing like them on the shelf. I think it’s because we put so much love and time into our polishes. After reviewing all these products I started realizing I could do this. So I set out to research; I asked TONS of questions and here I am today. I am still learning, I think that’s part of it. I still today have “mistake” polishes that just sit on my shelf. If I’m not happy with them, they don’t pass.
So far, I’d have to say this is the best job I’ve ever had. I am my own boss. I work at my pace and I don’t have someone standing over me barking orders, well…. My hubby will say “go make that polish” sometimes. Plus, I actually get positive feedback from this job. I truly enjoy making nail polish and sharing my creations.
We’ll Never Be Royals
Do any of your polishes have a totally different look layered over a colored base?
I think most of them can appear different when you apply them over another color, or even between a color (jelly sandwich). But the one that I notice the most is We’ll Never Be Royals. It’s a gorgeous royal purple. I have placed it over many colors, but notice it turns to a deep blackberry when placed over black. Gorgeous.
We’ll Never Be Royals
Is there a story behind your brand’s name?
I love fairies. I believe in fairies. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I knew the minute I decided to create my own line that it had to include fairies somehow. Fickle means “always changing” and that’s me in a nutshell. Always trying to change and improve things. I’m still working on my polish line as well…always trying to improve. So stay tuned, you never know what could be coming around the corner.
We’ll Never Be Royals
What’s the inspiration behind your lacquer colors?
I choose my colors by what I like or what color I need. I actually wear my polishes, so I make the colors for me. My favorite colors are pink, purple and blue, so you will see many versions of those colors.
What is your best seller right now?
My best seller at this moment is We’ll Never be Royals. We’ll Never be Royals is a gorgeous royal purple jelly polish loaded with glitter and big holo circle glitters. How did I come up with this name? Most of the time, the names just “pop” into my head, but sometimes it takes more work and even suggestions from close friends. For this one, I was listening to the radio and the song came on. It happens to be one of my favorite songs.
What is your favorite polish you’ve ever created?
I’d have to say my favorite polish that I’ve ever created is Girl Fight. I just love the softness of the pink and the glitters I chose. Who doesn’t love big holo circles? Plus, I think the fact that it shows support for breast cancer fighters and survivors. I made this polish with a couple friends in mind who is fighting breast cancer. Of course, they both received a bottle of this polish to show them my support.
My personal favorite right now is my new polish I just released last night. Radiant Orchid is a gorgeous violet polish that dries to a matte finish. I chose this name with the help of one of my favorite nail artists on Instagram, @riddhisn. I was stuck on the name and posted for “help”. The nail community girls are just fabulous for this. Again, we all stick together. She suggested this name because Pantone had just released their “color of 2014” which was Radiant Orchid.
Other than your own, what’s your favorite brand of polish to use?
I’d have to say KBShimmer is one of my favorite indie makers, though there are many I love! I actually went to a craft fair last summer because I found out KBShimmer was going to be there. So I was lucky enough to meet the maker and get a picture. I also love Deviant Potions, Delush Polish, Cult Nails and Liquid Sky Laquer, I could go on and on because they are so many great polishes.
What’s one tip you wished you knew when you started your own indie line?
To not get excited when making polish and forget to write things down! I’ve had a few “limited edition” polishes as a newbie for this reason. I now have a recipe box that contains all my ancient “Chinese Secrets.” I was actually fortunate enough to have enough of the right friends on Instagram who were already advanced polish makers that were more than willing to help and offer advice. That’s one thing about this nail community….most of us try to stick together.
Any spoilers you’d like to share about your future collections?
I have a couple ideas for a special collection this summer, but will keep that quiet for the time being. I think it’s different, and I haven’t seen anyone with this idea yet. I have a ton of prep work to do for it, but I think it will be worth it. I have come to notice that once you create something, or have an idea you probably better show it off quickly before someone else comes up with the exact same idea. I actually made a polish, sat on it for a few because I was waiting to release it, then I seen the exact same thing I made posted by another maker. So it was back to the drawing board.
I have also been dabbling in lotions, bath fizzies and bath scrubs as well. I actually handed some out this year for Christmas gifts. This might be something that could end up in my store eventually. I am also working with my daughter who has her own vinyl business to possibly add nail vinyls to my site as well.