Alexandra Canal, Yahoo Finance senior correspondent, speaks with Suzi Fischmann, OPI co-founder, about International Women’s Day. Also, she discusses the origins of OPI and how they collaborate with Xbox.
ALEXANDRA CANALIt’s International Women’s Day. Suzi Weissmann (cofounder of OPI nail paint manufacturer) is joining us. Suzi Weissmann, thanks for joining us. OPI established the norm for nail color and has become an integral part of self-care culture. What does your company do to promote female empowerment, since it’s International Women’s Day
SUZI WEISSFISCHMANNThank you so much, first of all. It’s a pleasure. OPI employs a large number of women. OPI always makes it a priority for women to feel more confident and work together.
ALEXANDRA CANALIn the second generation, you were an immigrant. How have you managed to combine these two backgrounds and be the businesswoman of your dreams?
SUZI WEISSFISCHMANNIt is rare to find a professional make-up artist with such a story. Immigrant from the United States, I am. I was born in 1969 and arrived in America in 1969. The Holocaust was my parents’ last battle. It was easy to see that anything is possible in this country. You only need passion, perseverance, hard work, and determination.
OPI started in the dental trade. Both my brother-in law and I worked in the supply industry. It was not long before we realized artificial nails extensions had become very popular during the 1980s. Nail salons started popping up all around Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. These salons offered acrylic nails which was very similar in appearance to the making of dentures. You can now tip your mouth.
Und wir haben gesagt: “Oh it’s so more fun to do nail technician work.”You can create acrylic nails with the Rubber Band Special salon service. OPI quickly expanded its services to other products. OPI began to offer nail colors in 1989. This really brought OPI into the consumers’ eye.
This is the continuation of this story
ALEXANDRA CANAL That’s amazing. It was also great to hear what you did that worked and the reasons you succeeded. Also, tell us about your obstacles to entry for women in your position. It can be very hard to find beauty.
SUZI WEISSFISCHMANNYes, it’s very hard. This was my most challenging challenge to take seriously. It was something that people would say to me all the time. “Oh, the nail polish woman is here to speak.”You mean the nail polish lady? However, once I was able to use it I needed to gain my confidence. OPI was my best friend. Suzi grew, OPI grew.
Your presentations will improve the more polished they are. When I felt confident speaking, people took me seriously. Universities invited me to speak at additional universities. In order to tell my story and inspire others, I stated that I was capable.
ALEXANDRA CANALGeorge, your brother in law and you, co-founded OPI. I was curious about his treatment of you as a man during the company’s growth. Was it possible that your gender influenced the way you were treated in the workplace.
SUZI WEISSFISCHMANNAbsolutely. Absolutely. Family dynamics can either be very positive or extremely difficult. Our family was very happy. Each of us quickly realized our strengths and weaknesses. George was in charge of the construction. I didn’t know much about machinery. Color was what I was most interested in.
I mean, I’ve always loved color. fashion, decorating. That’s who I am as an individual. That was a wonderful contribution to the company’s growth.
ALEXANDRA CANALYes, OPI’s iconic nail polish colors have been a hit. I know that I’m due for my own polish very soon. Let’s talk more about the future of OPI. OPI will be collaborating with Xbox on a spring 2022 collection. This is a unique partnership, but it’s also a sign of times, as more companies are embracing virtual worlds. What does all this mean?
SUZI WEISSFISCHMANNCollaborations are a big part OPI’s success. Our goal is to first excite our customers and, secondly, make them happy.
OPI– that’s what OPI as a company wanted. OPI should be part of every woman’s life, no matter where she is or what she does. Geographic locations were a key factor in creating the spring/summer collections as well as those for fall/winter.
Many people couldn’t travel due to the pandemic. We chose to travel to the virtual world. This partnership with Xbox was extraordinary. It was flawless. It was perfect. No matter what you do, your nails remain visible. It can make you smile. You will be able to see the world differently and change how you look at it.
Nail art– I mean the growth, expansion, and self-expression of nail art is amazing. It’s amazing. It didn’t stop even during the pandemic. Xbox is a great platform and we’re very excited. This has allowed us to reach a whole new group of women gamers. It is here.
ALEXANDRA CANALYou did indeed mention the pandemic. Is that how it affected your business? Also, I remember that you mentioned Xbox as a pivot. Is there any other way you managed to expand the company?
SUZI WEISSFISCHMANNIt was important that women were able to do their nails themselves at their own pace without having to have a pedicure or manicure done by professionals. This idea involved setting up stores that could ship nail colors quickly on request, such as Ulta. This made it possible for women to apply your nail treatments and topcoat.
Since many salons closed as you pointed out, it was important to reach them fast with products. The first time I visited the salon to have a service outside, I can still recall it. That was the best feeling. It was great to be able to escape for a little while and have that one hour of my own. The best news? That instant gratification that you experience when your manicure is complete was something I had 40 years ago with OPI. It has not stopped.
ALEXANDRA CANALYes. It was quite a different experience to get your first manicure in the midst of the pandemic. This feeling remains a part me. Inflation is a problem we also need to address. This has affected nearly every aspect of our economy. Is there a way to fight inflationary pressures in your country? Many Americans may be interested in nail polish as a discretionary expenditure.
SUZI WEISSFISCHMANNRight now, don’t increase the prices. You can lower the prices without having to increase them. They provide this service as part.
Sometimes, the customer will extend her next manicure or pedicure by a few days to ensure she doesn’t quit. You might consider stretching the deadline a bit. These are just some of the many things OPI can accomplish in inflationary times.
ALEXANDRA CANALWith the emergence of new brands such Olive & June, and the rise in social media like TikTok, it feels as though this market is very competitive. OPI is still ahead of the pack.
SUZI WEISSFISCHMANNYou can do many things. As I have already said, our goal is to keep customers excited through partnerships. OPI is 40 years old so it can be considered an older brand. We’re still very young and exciting. Our names and colors are changing constantly. I mean, who doesn’t? When I meet people, they share a lot about themselves with me and then recite to me at least 12 of their favourite nail colors.
Nail color is now accessible for women. This made nail color as glamorous and attractive as possible. They don’t care if it’s good or bad times, they just wear nail color. OPI nails colors were an Occasion that they will always remember. It’s something very, very unique. This is what sets OPI apart. We’ve been in movies, in Hollywood. OPI is everywhere. OPI will continue to be a source of excitement for consumers in the future 40 years.
ALEXANDRA CANAL You’re so right. Lincoln Park After Dark was my highlight high school experience. It was my opportunity to share that experience. Let’s get to the point. Is there one thing you would recommend to women looking for advancement and furthering their careers?
SUZI WEISSFISCHMANNPassion is the key. Passionately engage in what you do. Keep true to your identity It has been my belief since childhood that I am the best version of myself. I also have passions and perseverance. Also, I can make choices. I was able to make good decisions. This is my superpower. While they might not always be correct, you just keep moving forward. Like my father would tell me, “Get on the next train.”
ALEXANDRA CANALThis is why I love it. Take the next train. Suzi WeissmannFischmann, the founder and chief executive officer at OPI is Suzi. It is a great honor to have you here.
SUZI WEISSFISCHMANNThank you. It was a pleasure.