Interview with Ariana Pierce on the power of nail polish and fashion

Ariana Pierce
Credit: arianapierce.com

Ariana Pierce is a nail polish maven who’s helping young entrepreneurs succeed. Celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez have endorsed her nail polish brand. FashionWeek.com gets to know Ariana Pierce better.

Let’s face it, accessories can make or break your look. Just as a pair of crystal chandelier earrings can take a t-shirt and jeans to new heights, nail polish is a great accessory. 25-year-old entrepreneur Ariana Pierce recognizes the power of nail polish.

Pierce started her successful nail polish brand Superstar Nail Lacquer as an affordable way for women to wear the same colors worn by the models on the runways. As part of her mentorship program, Pierce helps entrepreneurs find “fortune, fame and fashion,” as her website states. She’s also a writer and fashion blogger whose work has appeared in Glamour magazine.

Celebrities from Miley Cyrus to Selena Gomez have worn the vibrant nail polish colors of Superstar Lacquer. The brand’s cheekily named nail polish colors are inspired by Pierce’s love for colorful dresses and her vivacious personality.

Recently FashionWeek.com chatted with Ariana Pierce about the fashion industry, the wonders of travel and her special connection to the Olsen Twins.

FashionWeek.com: Why are nails important to you?

Ariana Pierce: Nails are important to me because when I was starting Superstar Nail Lacquer, which is my vegan and toxin-free nail polish company, I wanted to be in the fashion industry, but I wanted to do something different than t-shirt and clothes. I wanted to make something different that wasn’t being done at the time.

And so I would go to all these fashion shows and runways and Fashion Week, and I’d never really seen anything that matched the runway that had to do with your nail polish. The idea came to me like, ‘Hmmm…why don’t we start a nail polish company where women can still get involved in fashion.’

Because these clothes are $10,000, $30,000 sometimes on the runway, which is totally fine. Some people can wear those things, but the average person watching the fashion shows usually can’t afford a $30,000 dress. So I got together with my mom Dr. Stacia [Pierce] and said “Why don’t we create a nail polish company that goes with the runway that’s all for the fashionable, yet affordable for the everyday woman.”

We’re offering them a piece of fashion week, a piece of the runway in a bottle. And so we ran with it. It was awesome, we got together and my mom used to work in the beauty industry, so it worked out perfectly. We had some trouble in the beginning with getting it started. It was very expensive and different things like that, but I chose nail polish because I knew it was an affordable luxury. It was something that women everywhere wore, it was something that they loved. They love nails; they can do a lot with their nails and still look fabulous just like the runway.

FW: So you saw the thing that was missing and you provided it.

AP: Exactly.

FW: I always realize that nails that I see on people have different shapes, colors; it changes how you see them.

AP: For sure. When you’re into nails, you’re into nails. I’m that type of person that was always getting my nails done, and that was another thing, I was always going to the beauty salon, but I couldn’t find anything that was totally healthy and beautiful at the same time. There was a vegan line at that time—there weren’t a lot, but they were very nude colors, it was nothing bright and vibrant. And so, I was like, “Why don’t we just make a twist on this: something that’s fashionable, awesome, again matched the runway, yet still healthy for every woman.

FW: You say vibrant. I notice those passports that you have are bold colors and that’s part of your brand?

AP: Yup, definitely. Color has always been apart of my brand. I love color because it’s something that you can’t find everywhere and I think there’s this misconception out there that people don’t want a lot of color, that it’s cheesy and too bold, in your face. What I’ve come to find out is people love color because it makes you feel happy. Color brightens up your day. It gets a lot of attention, and so girls, we love that. As women, we want to go somewhere, we want to people to compliment our passport covers, we want people to compliment our nails. I know for some places, you can’t be so bold. Sometimes in the workplace, or if you work in a conservative type of office, that may be different but when you’re out by yourself, you’re going from the airport, usually there are no rules. And so you want something that speaks about your personality, but is still professional and classy.

FW: How did you feel when you found out celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Lauren Conrad and Selena Gomez were wearing your product Superstar Nail Lacquer?

AP: It was an amazing feeling. I remember being in Glamour magazine for the first time. It was one of our first mentions, I opened up the magazine and we were sitting around the kitchen table, we noticed that it said, I think it was for Pinky Pink Publicist, one of our colors. I think that was the first one published in there. Eva Longoria was on the cover, so it was a huge issue and she was—she’s still huge right now, but she was really doing a lot of projects. I literally ran around the house screaming. I was calling all my friends. It was an amazing experience and the reason why it was so touching is I’m making these nail polishes, and making this line, and we’re doing accessories. To have a celebrity, an influencer says “Hey, this product is really good, I really love it. We weren’t even thinking that [about celebrities using the nail polish] when we were creating it for the woman on the go. It’s basically like getting your teacher’s feedback, like “Oh, you did an amazing job, you’re awesome.” I remember going to Courtney Cox’s house in the Hills, she had a party about five years ago. It was in the beginning of starting the company. Jennifer Aniston was there and all these huge celebrities. It was just an honor to be there. The fact that they would choose my company and me and say “Hey, represent at our party.” That means that you have a quality product and people are paying attention to it.

FW: That’s brings up something, because when you have success that way, and you’ve been selected, you have to keep yourself grounded, which you have. And you know how some people when something good happens, they’re not fully confident in themselves. What advice can you give to someone who has the talent and the ideas, but struggles to be assertive?

AP: Wow, that’s a great question because we deal with this all the time. When you’re going into business, you really have to believe in yourself. You have to have to believe that you have a great idea and bounce it off of people who have wisdom in business to make sure your idea’s really good. I remember there were times I didn’t know if my [nail] polish was good enough. The funny thing is some people in the industry told me “You have a terrible nail polish” or “This isn’t good” or “You’re behind the times.” Then couple weeks later, people were emailing later like “We love your nail polish, it’s traditional, the colors amazing, the formula is great. During that time, I regained my confidence. Another great thing to do is to write out what’s great about your company and use your journal. I use my journal not just the write about my problems, but to write about my solutions. Also, ask for testimonials.

FW: I know you coach and mentor future entrepreneurs. Success stories.

AP: When people come to our mentorship, we want to see them all succeed. We coach them to succeed. I do this with my mom, Dr. Stacia, and both of us, we try to over-deliver to them so they get quality information for right now in their business for social media and for whatever they’re dealing with at the time. When people sit in our testimonials, we definitely keep up with them and make sure that they’re doing well. They can ask us questions and talk to us. It’s like an online school. We do believe in coaching them to the finish line. One thing I love about it is the clients we get testimonials from, they understand the importance of continuing learning. Sometimes entrepreneurs when they learn a little bit, they think they know it all. When you stop learning, you fail.

FW: I love seeing people invent products and create successful businesses, I see that entrepreneurial spirit in the movie Joy with Jennifer Lawrence. Did you see that movie?

AP: I have seen Joy. I’ve seen it one time and it was really good.

FW: Did you see yourself in the movie?

AP: For sure. It was amazing. I almost cried at the end, like “Oh this is so touching.”

FW: I saw a picture of you in a pink quilted Michael Kors short trench and you had the gold hardware and metallic nails, so I’m curious, how would you describe your fashion style?

AP: Right now, my fashion style is very feminine and glamorous. I love dresses. I’m sure if you look at my Instagram, you’ll see I pretty much have all dresses on in my photos. Right now, I’m loving that. It’s so feminine, it’s so beautiful, and you could wear it casual, you can wear it dressy. You can wear it with heels and you can wear it with flats. I think living in Florida gives you that advantage. I used to live in a cold state. I wasn’t able to dress how I wanted to every day. I had to bundle up, so now that I have the freedom to be in the sunshine, I love wearing dresses. I love florals. I love frills. I’m very much a girly-girl now.

FW: You have a really good style.

AP: Thank you.

FW: When did you realize you were into fashion? What’s your earliest memory?

AP: When I was growing up, I was really into sports. Most people look at me and they’re like “Yeah, right, you couldn’t kick a ball.” I’m like, “No really, I played soccer. I was into basketball, volleyball and I was pretty good at it. I grew up around a lot of athletes, so I loved it. Then once I got older, I was like “Oh, let me just dress up a little.” You know, once I had the power to do things like that.

I got into fashion around the age of 16-ish, I started getting more into it on my own. Of course, growing up, my mom would always have me looking girly. Of course I couldn’t dress myself. Once I got to an age when I was able to do it on my own, about 16 I realized I liked fashion, I like the way things look, I like magazines. Once I turned about 17, 18, I started going to fashion shows, and when I really got into it was when I started Superstar Nail Lacquer.

FW: What’s your process for dressing for fashion shows? Do you dress for the specific show or the location?

AP: Yeah, it depends. When I do go to Fashion Week, sometimes I’ll wear the pieces from that [designer’s] line. Usually, it [clothing] goes with the type of show I’m going to that day. So if I know it’s going to be a real casual type of fashion show, I’m still dressed up, but I wear something more casual or edgy. If I’m going to a super high glamorous show, I go all out for it. It’s fun. You get to dress up, play with your style.

FW: You get to show it off to people.

AP: Exactly. That’s your time to really show off your style and really dress up.

FW: We mentioned the colorful passports before. Why is traveling important to you?

AP: This is awesome. I love this question. When I was a little girl, I got the travel bug and I just love travel. My mom would buy me the Mary-Kate & Ashley videos. I don’t know if you’ve seen those movies. It was girly-girly movie.

FW: Yes, I’ve seen one of them.

AP: I would watch those movies and I would watch them go to England and then Australia, to Italy and all these places. And I would say, “I would love to go there one day.” That’s a dream come true.

Then when I got older, I was able to travel to different countries. I went to the Caribbean, and then overseas to Europe, but my real love for travel started when I studied abroad. Going into my junior year [at college], I had an opportunity to go and study in Paris. I went to Paris for a little bit, then to Italy, then to Belgium and that changed my life and perspective. It wasn’t just taking a trip over there for vacation; I really had to dive into the culture. You have to take a car or the two over to class every single day, so learning the transportation. I learned how to read a menu in French.

Little things that we do in America are so different in Europe. Really living there and taking in the culture and grocery shopping really developed my love for travel. I had another opportunity to go back during the Christmas Break and I went to London that time. I learned about marketing and how to market to Europeans and to different people. I learned that exposure really does create desire, the desire for something new. That’s how I created the Style and Travel Passport covers because I wanted every person to experience and be inspired to start their own businesses.

FW: That’s awesome. To think it all started with the Olsen Twins.

AP: Exactly. Big thanks to them, hopefully one day I’ll be able to tell them “Thank you” for inspiring all this.

For more Ariana follow her on Instagram, Twitter and on her website ArianaPierce.com.

Buy her nail polish at Superstar Nail Laquer.

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