Woman starts nail polish brand for people of color

Written By: Madison Duboise

As a young girl, getting your nails painted is a momentous occasion. Whether it is sitting on your bathroom counter while your mom paints your nails or walking into the nail salon and being consumed by the overwhelming smell of acetone, almost all young girls know the feeling of choosing a color to paint across their tiny little fingernails. Vibrant shades of hot pink, deep sea blues and sharp neon yellows, color is the most important thing to think about when choosing a nail polish. For many girls there are not many shades that do not work with their skin tone, but for girls of color in an industry run by those that are not it can be hard to find the right color.

Jacqueline Carrington was inspired by her daughter around March 2019 to find those shades after she would always come home from her grandmother's house with her nails painted. She didn't have anything at home to keep up with this new interest as she for the most part skipped wearing nail polish growing up because she played basketball, and she also never saw nail polishes shown on brown hands.

At the time she wondered if anyone had a nail polish brand that used colors that complemented the various shades of brown skin to purchase for her daughter. There was not.

Founding the brand, People of Color, a nail polish brand made to complement the various shades of brown skin as the first thought, not an afterthought. All of the brand’s nail polishes are non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free as well.

Being non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free for our nail polish and nail care products was important because I wanted a product that was safe for all ages, especially with my daughter being interested in nail polish starting at age 3,” Carrington said. “Aligned with our brand in wanting to provide the best products for your natural nails. People are more conscious as to what they are putting on and in their bodies, and it should be no different when it comes to our nails.”

When Carrington first launched her business brand she did not have a set plan for growing. She decided to utilize social media to help launch and develop her brand on Instagram. She remained consistent with posting on social media everyday and eventually started networking and expanding her brand. That grew into searching for brand ambassadors to help spread the word, and she even pitched her brand story to editors and was featured in the October 2019 issue of Essence magazine. Eventually she began doing in-person vending events to connect with people in-person.

“People like to support people they like, so I had to start being more personal in the brand in addition to just showing off the colors and pictures of nails painted,” Carrington said. “Telling my brand story and sharing my why made all the difference because so many people could relate.”

Being a mother of three while also managing and marketing a brand has been something of constant attention for Carrington. Growing her brand on social media can be at times extremely time-consuming. She struggles to find time to reach out to boutiques, constantly update social media and everything that comes along with being a brand manager.

“There's no such thing as balance with running my business and being a mom and wife. There's only so much of me and only so much that can be done over the course of a day without running myself ragged. What that means is, there's always going to be something that doesn't get done or may have to wait until another time in order to complete things I prioritize for each day,” Carrington said. “Most nights I don't get to relax with my husband after the kids lay down because I finally have time to work since I'm also with the kids all day. Nights I'm usually packing orders, responding to emails, updating the website, or whatever else I can't do during the day.”

With a brand striving to embrace diversity, People of Color’s brand logo is: Nail polish for people of color and those who live in color. Carrington’s goal with this brand is to show people of color deserve to be able to do things like go to the store and choose a nail polish color that embraces their skin tone, not one that mutes it.

“It's important that all people of color are included in beauty brands because when I scroll a website, an Instagram profile, or look at a commercial and I don't see images of people who look like me, or any shade of brown skin in sight, I don't feel that brand or product is really for me,” Carrington said. “Brown doesn't come in one shade, so scrolling an Instagram profile and seeing the same person posted once every 6 weeks isn't going to cut it for me.”

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