The retail nail lacquer business has lacked luster for the past five years. According to IRI data, polish volume has been down an average of 8 percent for the past year.
Two brothers with heritage in the professional salon business have a game plan to change that path. “The nail business has become commoditized,” said Habib Salo, who along with his brother Greg operate Young Nails. “It is lagging for a variety of reasons. There hasn’t been fun and excitement. We want to bring reasons for people to come back. We’re different…hey, we’re two guys in the nail business,” he added of the company founded by their immigrant mother when she was 49 years old.
Their fresh approach to the mature category caught the attention of Ulta Beauty which is rolling out Young’s Caption Nail Polish to 300 endcaps at Ulta stores. The remaining 700 doors will feature Caption nail art kits on a special trend display. Caption retails for $10 for polish and $10 to $15 for the kits at Ulta. It joins other high-end lines sold at Ulta including Butter London, OPI, China Glaze and Red Carpet.
“This is our first step into the consumer world,” said Salo of the range sold online and in professional doors in 42 countries. “We are interested in spreading certain products in our assortment to consumers.”
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In Ulta, Caption will sell its Long Lasting Hybrid Polish that applies like a polish but lasts as long as a gel. It dries three times faster than traditional polish, the company said, and does not require UV light to “set” the color. Gel-like polishes have been one of the brighter growth areas in the overall dull lacquer market.
The brand also expects its nail art kits to strike a chord with Ulta’s fashion enthusiast shopper base. The kits offer do-it-yourself options to trendy nail looks such as Sugaring and Ombre along with Art Stamps. The lineup also includes Tipsies, press-on nail tips. In the pipeline are art kits that will be exclusive to Ulta. “We think nail art will be the bestseller in the beginning. In the long-term, the Caption polish is going to be a staple and will be their top seller down the line as we educate consumers through our social media platforms.” Young Nails has 240,000 Instagram followers and 145,000 YouTube subscribers. “Nail art is big, but we are starting to see classic looks get a lot of love on social media like pinks and beige and we are pushing those out on our social sites,” Salo added.