Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, executive vice
president and artistic director
of them are formaldehyde-, toluene- and
DBP-free and have been since 2006.
“We’re green and we’re global,” said
How global? OPI is available in more
than 100 countries around the world.
From its manufacturing facility in
North Hollywood, CA, nearly 500
employees churn out 45 million bottles
of nail polish a year.
Keeping the initials of the dental supply company, Schaeffer started OPI in
1981 in Hollywood, CA. But the lure of
fashion was strong and OPI began marketing nail lacquers in 1989—changing
the world of nail color forever.
“We have rebranded nail polish,”
insisted Weiss-Fischmann. “Before we
came along, nail polish was just a
Now it’s got a name too, thanks to
OPI. With monikers such as Colección
de España, South Beach and I’m Not
Really a Waitress, OPI has a true
brand identity with women. In fact,
the most often-asked question OPI
gets from consumers is, “Can I name
the next one?”
Unfortunately, the answer is no, as
Weiss-Fischmann and her team have
named every shade—more than 1,500
and counting, according to her estimates.
But besides the interesting names,
there are other differences bet- ween
OPI and the competition. For example,
OPI has been issued more than 30
patents. The forces behind OPI’s R&D
efforts are Kenneth Hewlett, director
of R&D; Sunil Sirdesai, Ph.D, director
and chief scientific advisor; and Paul
Bryson, Ph.D, director and chief scientific advisor. All have played instrumental roles in the development of
OPI’s nail and skin care formulations,
but Schaeffer is quick to point out that
his company has changed nail enamel
“Before us, every bottle was the same
shape with a white top,” he recalled.
“Our package is as unique as a Coke
That’s 45 million and counting. Two
years ago, OPI broadened its distribution by introducing Nicole by OPI in
mass retailers such as Walmart, Target
and Walgreens. The Nicole by OPI price
point is slightly lower at $6.50 versus
$8.50, compared to the flagship OPI
brand, which Schaeffer contends has
changed the mass nail lacquer market.
“We offer a quality and a quantity
that wasn’t available in mass,” he
Overall, 75% of OPI’s sales are
derived from nail enamel. The company
also offers nail lacquer removers and
nail strengtheners, as well as a collection of skin moisturizers and other
body care products. Furthermore, 20%
of the company’s sales come from professional service products. Weiss-Fischmann contends that OPI has been
able to grow despite the recession
thanks to the diversification of its dis-
tribution channel; today OPI products
are available in salon, mass, high-end
retail and international markets. In
fact, sales outside the U.S. represent
30% of the company’s total revenues.
“We’ve grown because we listen to our
customers,” explained Weiss-Fischmann. “We are ‘customer-centric.’”
With a customer base that spans from
Los Angeles to London and from
Moscow to Mumbai, OPI executives
insist that their nail colors transcend
“OPI is for everybody and everybody
buys it,” said Weiss-Fischmann.
And what will they be buying in the
foreseeable future? Despite the economic gloom, she predicts that Holiday
Hundreds of shades are sold in a variety of channels under the OPI and Nicole by OPI brands.