Today we talk to Andrea, the creator of indie polish brand Indigo Bananas. Known for a wide range of holographic lacquers, the homemade colors sparkle on the tips of their wearers! Go behind the storefront with Nail It‘s exclusive interview.
Nail It! How long have you been making your own polish?
Indigo Bananas: I started mixing colors from scratch (not mixing commercial polishes – that goes way back) in March 2012 and probably made over a hundred colors, mixes, glitter toppers and the like before I started thinking about a shop (the seed of which began in summer ’12 but the shop opened in Feb 2013).
How did you begin creating your own polishes?
I got interested in the technical side of things last spring actually – specifically, how to turn a normal top coat (from the drugstore) into a polish base that would be able to suspend pigments and glitter added to it. Nail polish base was not easily available for a few months back then, and there was a lot of DIY going on with top coats (which mostly worked, but not as well as real base). Then it spiraled downhill from there, until my house was filled with glitter, mica and pigments and bottles everywhere.
Is there a story behind your brand’s name?
Yes! It has a few references or puns in it. First, the most obvious connection is an indigo banana – ripe bananas glow indigo/purple under ultraviolet light (I am a collection of random facts…). Second, it’s a a joke about going bananas for indie polish and indies in general (‘you’ll go bananas for this indie!’ hopefully). Third, there is the reverse of indie polish makers going bananas…. and buying all the glitter they can lay their hands on. Sadly, a disease that infects nearly all of us.
What’s the inspiration behind your lacquer colors?
I aim for finding unique combinations and unique pigments, and especially colors and effects I don’t easily find in the commercial brands I own. Then I either am inspired by the colors I come up while I experiment with mixes or am inspired by an idea, music, movies, and the like and want to form a set of colors around that idea. So, inspiration can be both in the form of “eureka! this is a great set of names” and “this set of colors conjures up this imagery for me!”
What is your best seller right now?
Maui, a teal/purple shifting polish, definitely. It outsells every other color nearly twice as much. Anansi, Cake or Death, and Klein Trink Wasser are also good sellers.
What is your favorite polish you’ve ever created?
I have so many favorites, since most of the polishes I make I would wear regularly, but my favorite is Telephasic Workshop, a dark blue leaning teal with a blur/purple/pink multichrome shimmer highlight to it, as well as superfine holographic sparkles.
Other than your own, what’s your favorite brand of polish to use?
NARS, hands down, no contest, although a few other brands come close (aEngland, Nubar). Formula is important to me, as is wear and shine, and the one thing 100% from scratch indie polishes can’t replicate well is shiny cremes (sure, matte or semi matte cremes, but that gloss requires an entirely different process). I went through several nail polish bases before I settled on the one I use, which I chose for it’s wear mostly. NARS polishes give me great wear as well, and don’t pool around my cuticles, and are often 1-2 coaters. That is, their recent 2012 cremes more than their much older non-creme finishes.
Do any of your polishes have a totally different look layered over a colored base?
Yes, quite a few of them do – basically all the colorshifting ones or anything with a colorshifting or multichrome shimmer in it can change color slightly or even a lot layered over different colors. Well, the glitter toppers also all look different over different colored bases, but that’s a given. My most surprising layering combination has been Immortal Game (a medium teal semi-cremey polish with strong large flecks of pink to gold shimmer) layered over a pink – produced a very nice neutral grey with pink shimmer. Very pretty and unexpected, and unfortunately I don’t have a swatch.
Any spoilers you’d like to share about your future collections?
Nope, it’s all a big secret! Ok, just kidding. I have a lot of polishes in the works and I’m not really happy with most until they go through 3-5 iterations at least, so I’m not sure what order I will release things in. There’s a glitters in jelly finishes set though for sure that will happen around Halloween.
Images: Indigo Bananas