Thank you for
submitting a question

Indie Polish Spotlight: Pahlish

Indie Polish Spotlight: Pahlish


By semick

This husband and wife team have been in the indie business since college! Curious, we talked to Shannon and Josh one-on-one to get to know them and Pahlish a little better!


Chalcopyrite by Polly Polish

Us: How long have you been making your own polish?
Shannon: I started making my own polish about 5 years ago. I had gotten bored with what was available in stores and decided that if I wanted something new I had to just mix it up myself. I’ve always been a very hands-on person and love to DIY. I had dabbled in a little of everything from clothing to cosmetics so making my own polish just seemed like the next great adventure!

What’s your “day job”?
These days my day job is Pahlish! When I started Pahlish my husband and I were both in college. I was working through a specialist program in counseling and always assumed that would be exactly what I did after school ended. Once Pahlish came along I knew I had to take the leap and see where it took me because it was really a once in a lifetime opportunity that I knew wasn’t going to come back around. We’re so thankful to our customers because they are the ones who have made this possible, it’s really humbling to know that they like our product so much!

How did you begin creating your own polishes?
I started out pretty simply by mixing existing polishes together, also known as “frankening”. Little by little I got more adventurous and started buying loose glitter to add to the mix. After a few months I had an entire drawer full of glitter and was starting to experiment with loose pigments and colorants. It wasn’t until around 2010 that I started sending my creations to others through swaps and gift exchanges. One of the polishes that I had made got noticed and after a few emails about it a light went off in my head and Pahlish was born.


June Duo: Vincent and the Doctor by @danilouwho

What makes your line of lacquers unique?
I think our biggest strength is our wide range of ideas. My husband is very involved in Pahlish and sometimes he has ideas that I never would have tried on my own. We work very hard to create polishes that are unique to our line and we aren’t afraid to step outside of our comfort zone to try new components and finishes! We also do monthly duos which we really enjoy doing. It pushes me to try something new every month. For the month of June we did a loose interpretation of Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night that I absolutely love. It didn’t hurt that I was able to work in some Doctor Who references with the names!

Is there a story behind your brand’s name?
We spent a lot of time working on the name. I had a lot of ideas but nothing really fit. Finally, I got frustrated and made a pun on my last name “Pahlas” and “Polish” combined as a joke but as soon as I said it out loud I knew it was perfect!

Lantern Waste by @ThePolishedOkie

Lantern Waste by @ThePolishedOkie

What’s the inspiration behind your lacquer colors?
We draw inspiration from a lot of sources. I’m a big music fan so a lot of mine comes from songs and lyrics that resonate with me. I try to sit back and really immerse myself in the mood of the song to get a feel for it in order to get into a creative place. I also draw a lot from my favorite books, we recently did a collection developed after I went back and read through The Chronicles of Narnia in the spring. I’ve always really loved the series and it was wonderful to be able to share that with our fans when we released our Wood Between the Worlds collection!

blood of the mountain

Blood of the Mountain by @thenailnetwork

What is your best seller right now?
Our current best seller is a newer polish called Charn from our Wood Between the Worlds collection. It’s a really soft lavender crème base with bright lagoon blue matte glitter that really pops out. Overall I’d have to say that Blood of the Mountain is our best long-term seller, we’ve sold more bottles of that one shade than I have in my entire personal stash of polish. It’s a really vibrant garnet red holographic with these rich metallic gold flakes that I’m just obsessed with, I’d put them in everything if I could!

Charn by @ThePolishedOkie

Charn by @ThePolishedOkie

What is your favorite polish you’ve ever created?
It is so hard for me to pick a true favorite! There’s always one or two from each season that stand out for me and it changes all of the time. Today, I’d definitely say Stars at Rest! The combination of the soft base and the bright glitter really speaks to me for spring.

Stars at Rest by @ThePolishedOkie

Stars at Rest by @ThePolishedOkie

Other than your own, what’s your favorite brand of polish to use?
This is an easy one for sure! Elevation Polish hands down. Lu is a girl after my own heart in so many ways and sometimes it feels like her polishes came right out of my head. Her formulas are impeccable and she’s always up to something new that keeps me on my toes.

What’s one tip you wished you knew when you started your own indie line?
Now that’s a tough question! I could write a whole book about what I didn’t know when we started Pahlish. Luckily the market was very forgiving and I was able to learn as I went along. I think the most important thing that I’ve learned is that patience is key. Testing your product is an essential part of starting a brand and it’s definitely better to sit on your hands and wait than to release a polish and have something go wrong. You can never take back that first moment when a new customer opens up their package and decides whether they want to see more of your work!

See the Pahlish shop:
Instagram: @pahlish

[Images: Shannon and Josh of Pahlish, @thenailnetwork, @ThePolishedOkie, @danilouwho, Polly Polish]