Deborah Lippmann: Celebrity Manicurist & Brand Founder of Deborah Lippmann

Episode 367

Luxury nailcare and cosmetics brand Deborah Lippmann may be known for its clean, chic nail looks, but behind those iconic looks has always been a focus on nail health above all else. Founder Deborah Lippman shares her ‘no cuticle-cutting’ mantra in an inspiring conversation you don’t want to miss. We discuss her journey as well as some of her cutting edge products including the brand’s Gel Lab Pro Color which has been routinely named the best nail polish formula around. So much to be inspired by in this conversation. Next on this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be you just want to make sure you will get knocked down but just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go Let’s go. Hi, everyone. It’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show and I am super super excited to have my next guest here as I was mentioning to her I’ve wanted to have this guest on for a very long time. And so I was very, very excited to be connected. Again with her we have Deborah Lippmann who is a celebrity manicurist and the brand founder of Deborah Lippmann, and we’re going to talk to you a little bit about how she founded the company if you are not familiar with Deborah Lippmann. As I mentioned, she’s a celebrity manicurist and brand founder of Deborah Lippman nail care. But I also noticed that she recently has some new items that she has gone into too, which we’ll get her to share a little bit more about, but some of the celebs that are known Deborah Lippmann fans, Laura Dern, Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, I mean, the list goes on and on. And I for 1am, also such a huge fan, I carry my own with me, wherever I go. And I’m constantly telling people all about her. She’s also from Arizona, and for those of you who sort of follow me and my journey, I’m also from Arizona, and we were on a panel together and got to hear that she also was a graduate of Arizona State University. Very, very exciting. So her journey includes many, many things that I want to get her to talk about as well like no cuticle, cutting mantras, and all kinds of cutting edge products that she’s developed like the brand’s gel lab pro color, which is absolutely a staple. For me. She’s taken out an idea that she had and turned it into a thriving business. In addition, she’s a jazz singer, a very, very good one. So without further ado, welcome, Deborah.

Deborah Lippmann 2:40
Thank you, Kara. I am blushing. I am blessing.

Kara Goldin 2:43
So, so great. So really, really excited to have you on so before we get into hearing about your company, Deborah Lippmann, I’d love to hear more about you. And so you grew up in Arizona, did you always think that you’d be a New York City jazz singer, but also an entrepreneur?

Deborah Lippmann 3:06
I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. Never thought of nor from the time that I was four years old, I wanted to sing and I was singing and doing. I was singing and through. I think my first competition that I was in I was in kindergarten and my girlfriend and I entered a contest and we won and I was like, Oh, I got the bug. I got the bug. I love this. I just love. Yeah, I’ve really my passion is singing. And I have been a nail biter had been a nail biter my whole life until I was in college, I finished college I was a nail biter, nail biter nail biter. I finished college got my first job performing job with a with a group in in Arizona in Arizona that tried to be a Las Vegas review was called razzle dazzle. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of this Kara. No. Positive that you have it. But I can show you a funny picture of when I played a parody of Dolly Parton back in the day. Anyway, when I was doing that, that review the director saw my nail bitten hands and we were wearing like these legacy costumes and I you know, rhinestones and feathers and gorgeous stuff and then I would pick up the microphone and have these bitten to the nub nails. I mean they never bled I never bid my cuticles thank goodness but I did bite my nails to the nub for my whole life. That was my mom’s like it was restaurant recipes mom, it was like it was such a such a difficult thing for her. She wanted me to stop biting my nails my whole life. And when I got into this show, they made me put acrylic nails on that like back in the seven days maybe. And it it changed the way I felt about my hands. I was like I’d gone from being ashamed of my hands. My whole life not even realizing the shame the amount of shame that I had and I would you know, when I would meet people I wouldn’t want to stick my hand out because embarrassing when you when you stick your hand out to reach someone, your your eyes go to the hand of the person that you’re you know, so that you can make that lock and I would be embarrassed like I’d be like reaching like this to grab somebody’s hand I just had so much shame in my nails. And when when I went to the manicurist and had when they took me to the manicurist and sat there and made me get artificial nails. I went I literally went Kara from being like this like to going like this and feeling I mean, I wear my nails really short and groom now, but I I just felt like a lady. I mean, and I still I gave myself a manicure before I did the show and I feel so much better about my hands than I did when I woke up this morning. Because they just you know, my cuticles are clean. I like them nude, it’s okay. But it’s like, it’s just you feel different. It’s empowering. It is really, really empowering. So when I finished when I finished college and got a music degree, I was I was singing in Arizona, but you know, let’s see. Did you ever go to Timothy’s jazz club? Yeah, I did. Hey, there, I was a regular. I was a regular I did case for many years anyway. And I sang in like dance bands or weddings. So I start doing nails and a very funny that I worked in a very, very nice salon, and the clients, I would do clients in the salon. And then they would be like on the board of some charity or they would be the chair of some charity and I wouldn’t be singing in the dance band that night. Like I would do their nails on Saturday day. And then I’d be like the singer and they dance by just like it was just the weirdest it’s been. It’s been. It’s been something I never could have dreamt I couldn’t have dreamt up that these two careers would mash an amazing and go together. So I moved to New York to pursue music in the early 90s and got a job at Frederick Mackay which was when it was the heyday of that place to be it was like shampoo. That movie shampoo must have been with Warren Beatty, like I think it was like that. And all the women were fabulous and dressed and perfect. And you know, and Bobby Brown sat in my chair. And that Bobby Brown her brand was brand new. She was she was actually selling her wit lipsticks I don’t remember how many she launched with but she was selling them there. It was brand new. Everybody knew who she was. I didn’t know but she was. I did you know, because I was from Arizona. I didn’t read Max. I was like, uh, you know, I was Fred. I remember Fred or for Kai said to me one time I wore something to work and he was like, this is not cowboys and Indians Deborah. Like, like, we gotta give you a makeover. So, Bobby sat in my chair, and she liked her manicure so much that she called the lower magazine without telling me and of your magazine, then called the salon and said that they wanted to put me in the magazine is one of the best maggot manicures in New York in their directory. And so they came into the salon and took my picture. And Chris was like, What is like what is happening? It was my first year living in New York that this habit like I it was a whirlwind coming from cowboys and Indians to moving to a town where I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t have any friends. When I moved here now I’ve got all the friends in the world. But yeah, it was just it was speck Freezy thing that happened. And so then as soon as that magazine came out, like before I knew it, celebrities were sitting in my chair, it was like one after the other after the other were calling for me. And then eventually I get a phone call. One day we had these little princess phones that are at our on our stations. And the phone rang, it was usually for the client, and I answered the phone and this guy goes, I’m looking for Deborah Lippmann anyway, long story short, he was an agent. So my assumption was that he had seen me sing somewhere. And I’m like, Well, where did you hear me sing? And he was like saying, aren’t you like a manicures? Like, but didn’t you say your agent and I had no idea that there were agents for the job that I do now which is editorial and fashion and doing nails and magazines and with celebrities. There’s an I have an agent still to this day a different one. But that you know, puts me books my jobs and sends me out to go here or there or never it’s it’s crazy. I had no idea that this all was even a possibility.

Kara Goldin 9:59
And so Who was your first person that you were sent out to meet with?

Deborah Lippmann 10:03
Mariah Carey?

Kara Goldin 10:04
Oh, that’s so wild. So and you knew who Mariah Carey was? Oh, yeah, you knew who she was. That went out.

Deborah Lippmann 10:16
That is actually not true. Hold on, roll it back, roll it back. It’s worse than that. Share. Shares

Kara Goldin 10:27
who hadn’t actually worked on her? Like in the salon but no,

Deborah Lippmann 10:31
I hadn’t worked on your sewing saw someone saw the thing and allure and and call the salon. And had me go to her hotel. And it was. Yeah, it’s just it was mind boggling. It was absolutely mind boggling. She has remained when we talk about like people who have been supportive, she helped me launch my brand. She helped me my bottle. We sat on her bed. When I was creating the brand, I we sat on her bed, and I showed her all the packaging I was thinking about and, and she went through it all with me. I mean, and to this day, she she sells her products. She sells a fragrance now on Hsn. And she was on not too long ago. And she said she said, I know Deborah Lippmann is on here, I picked her bottle. Members that like you know, 20, almost 25 years 26 years later is with a world as huge as hers as it’s like, it’s amazing what women will do for you. And it’s amazing the things that well, that that people will do for you period that you know, sometimes it’s after a while. So what

Kara Goldin 11:41
was the point? When so your How long were your manicures before you actually came out with your brand? Oh,

Deborah Lippmann 11:47
my gosh, well, I started doing nails in like the 80s. And I moved to New York in the 90s. And I launched the brand in 99. Oh, wow. It’s the brand.

Kara Goldin 12:00
Yeah. So you were continuing to do now what was kind of the, I mean, obviously, you were using a lot of other people’s brands, but what did you see missing?

Deborah Lippmann 12:09
I saw so many things missing. And you know, at the time that I mean I would see in certain products like that the brush wouldn’t be wouldn’t be wouldn’t have enough bristles in it or that the stem would be so long that the Polish would drip down the stem and then drip down that the brush and the brush was too long, pulling up before you could even polish with it. I saw one of the one of the really big things that I saw was that you couldn’t find in the luxury market. Like if I wanted to is I’m work so I’m working in fancy salon in New York. And if I wanted to send my clients down into the floor of Bergdorf Goodman afterwards to buy what they needed for their nails, because they would say just tell me what I want I need I want to buy skin. There was one cuticle cream on the there was the Dior cuticle cream period. That was the only cuticle that was the only other than each brand would have maybe a couple of you know Chanel had a couple of colors and Gio would have a couple of colors. And Lancome would have a couple of colors. But nobody at that time. Really the brands that the bigger brands just put nail polish on to keep people at their at their station, like keep people really shopping them. And there was no real thought to the formulas like Annette Chanel had fabulous colors when they launched BAM when that whole thing happened. And I was oh my gosh, this is just a little sidebar. When they launched bap. I was working for chi and I already had a bit of a name. And the people from Chanel called the chi and said that they wanted to take me into a private room and show me this polish and get my my opinion of it before it came out. And so if we went to this private room or they locked the door, it was like this whole thing. And I was just like, Yeah, I mean, I just their article. Yeah. Hysterical. I mean, when I think back of it now it’s just like, I can’t even believe it.

Kara Goldin 14:12
That’s hysterical. Well, I mean, how many people actually are on the ground doing this prior to launching a brand as well. I mean, I don’t know how many in your industry like, had actually been manicures prior to actually launching the product.

Deborah Lippmann 14:28
I think we were about the first but there were there have been many to follow. Yeah. And that’s great. It used to actually so in the early days of, of having a business when you know, when I would see somebody else was going to launch a business I would I would just feel like oh my gosh, this is the you know, the world’s going to end our retailers can’t carry two brands, but I didn’t but now I know that carrying two brands is better. It’s like they give you know, it’s things that I just didn’t know.

Kara Goldin 14:55
So you and I touched on this right before we started recording but So you started the company? Who did you start the company with?

Deborah Lippmann 15:04
I started the company with my husband, Jude and my brother Mark. And it was something that I talked about for a long time. I kept talking about, you know, because my clients would say, because it was such the era, that was the era of like, people who, you know, really makeup and hair, people were doing, starting to do their own brands, people that were known. And so people were saying to me, you need to do your own brand, you need to do your own brand. And I’m like, let me know about nail polish like, No, I’m a singer, and I come here to sing, I want to sing. And so I kept talking about it, and tech kept talking about it. And I’d be like, well, if I were going to do a brand when I started the company, this is an interesting mistake that I made emotionally as a as a singer and wanted to save my name, Deborah Lippmann for my singing career. So I decided to call the brand Lippman collection. I have no idea

Kara Goldin 15:59
why, if you did,

Deborah Lippmann 16:02
and and did I know then that it was going to be more than a collection of nail polishes and there was going to be other beauty treatments. No, I didn’t know that. But, but I did. And when I started to get press for the brand, which I did, because I worked with celebrities. So that is one thing that has always been like something that I’ve had in my pocket that was that has been a treasure that my celebrity clients have. I know I’m varying a little bit but my celebrity clients have helped me and talked about me and let me use their names in the press without paying them like back in the day used to pay somebody to do something. I’ve never paid a celebrity for any mentioned for any anything. And we realized when we started getting press that people would say in the beginning of an article that say So Deborah Lippmann, Littman collection would blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and then Lippman the law and then did an analysis and says blah, blah, blah. And in the story. We were not getting like it was we weren’t getting Oh no, they wouldn’t say Lippman, they would say Deborah does this, Deborah does this, Deborah does that Deborah does that. And Deborah wasn’t in the name of my brand. Interesting. So it was sorry, I said it backwards. But it was like, okay, so then we had to 10 years in, we had to make the big big change of dealing with our retailers and telling them that we were going to change the name of the brand, which they were all a found out. They were all supportive of it. But what we didn’t know is that they were going to want us to take back all the inventory they had because they weren’t going to put Littman collection and Deborah Lippmann in the same row. And it was like, that was unfair. That was probably hard. That was very, that was very, very hard. But it was it was a movie. We’re very glad that we we made. And now we can say that. But it was that was a tough, tough transition. Because we are self funded. We are you know, self funded, a few of our friends have put money in and helped us when we ran tight spots. But it’s you know, we don’t have a we, you know, there’s good things and bad things about not having anybody to answer to having a, you know, a Capital Group like we we have to answer to ourselves, and sometimes we make bad decisions. So we can’t blame it on. You know, you can’t blame it on I can’t blame it on somebody else. It’s my bad decision. If it’s a bad decision, but you know, you’d live in learning, you’re not going to make all good decisions, you’re just not and you have to get you know, over the years, I’ve gotten much more comfortable with being wrong and never wanted to be wrong. I always wanted to be right. Even though I had no idea what I was talking about, about on the business side. And, you know, I’ve had to learn I really I had also had this feeling when I first launched the brand I had this feeling like I had to know everything about business. And I didn’t know everything about the business and you know, there were things that I wasn’t interested in and still not interested in and yet I’ve had to have had to learn them some of them you know some there are some things in the business that I really my husband is it’s way above my head in the financial part it’s way above mine still. But you know when I you know you go through all these emotional things about you know, I am supposed to know everything but I don’t know everything and is it okay, is it okay then I don’t know where everything and I remember going to hear I went to some some function that one of the waters was talking out about about I think it was Leonard and he was saying that. Sorry. It wasn’t Leonard. I’m completely wrong. It was the guy who started Victoria’s Secret. Les Wexler. Yeah, Flexner sorry. No, that’s last week he was talking and he said that he didn’t know what thing about bras. But he knew he was a shopkeeper. And he knew how to sell things. And hence, hey, you know, Victoria’s Secret I’m talking about Victoria’s Secret, needs to do the nails for Victoria’s Secret forever, by the way. But it was a very it was that was a very powerful learning for me was like, okay, I can

Kara Goldin 20:20
you don’t need to know at all in order to actually make it all happen. But you need to be smart enough to bring in the people that actually I always say it’s not even about, you know, not being wise about things. It’s it’s about being interested and doing these different things. I’m a big believer that we can all learn. If we choose, yeah, maybe you know, you’re more interested in. And that’s what we get to do. As I tell my kids, when we grow up, we can actually focus on the things hopefully, that we’re most interested in. Yeah. So I think that that is and half time to do things like thing as well, which we’ll definitely get to. But one of the stories that I would love for you to tell is we were you and I were on this panel in Las Vegas together a few years ago, and I absolutely love the story when you launched and you gave some bottles to a very well known customer of yours. And something happened but I won’t give it away but I was dying of laughter I lost my whole train of thought after hearing the story. And I’ve probably told your story like 50 times oh my god do even more for sharing it. So can you because we all have our production stories? Yeah, yet are nightmares. But please share that if you would.

Deborah Lippmann 21:45
So Martha Stewart had been has been one of my she was my one of my first celebrity clients if not, if not my very first. And she she wanted she had encouraged me to to launch a brand color like she had he encouraged me to do it. And when I was so I was in I finally finally, I used to sing her part. She used to hire me to sing at her parties, but she would be like okay, I’m not gonna hire you to sing at this next party if you don’t create this brand, like she would like. She’s so awesome. So I had been working on it and working on it. And she I was doing her nails weekly going to the studio where she was doing a TV show and doing her nails weekly and she would want you know the update on where what was happening and that she we had gotten to the point where the Polish had been it was gonna launch in August is going to launch in, in in August or September. And she wanted me to show her she wanted me to bring her her own set of polish before it launched. She wanted me to make her on set and I was like I don’t have you know, I don’t have a sense she was like Well, I’d want to set and so I had like jars like her jars that had screw on top bigs were on tops. And I finally was like she was like, you know if you come next time and don’t have the polisher like you can’t do my nails. Sure, you know with love but like but also serious. So I took my bottle I took the I took the her jar and I poured into the bottle. And I thought to myself, you know, I don’t want this to be like when you buy a bag of potato chips and the bag is half empty. I’m want my clients to get a full bottle because that drives me crazy when you get an empty bottle. So I filled it up to the up to the rim up to the brim, put it all together, gave it to her. She went home and put it in her medicine cabinet. And then she went away on vacation for several weeks and turned off the air conditioning in her house. And she came back from vacation and my phone rang. This was in the day before cell phones. My phone rang and I answered the phone and she’s like, Debbie, this is Martha. And I was like, she was like, she was like get a chair and sit down. And I was like and I’m like okay, and like I had I had to pull a chair into the kitchen where the phone was like on the wall and like sit down and she was like, she was like there’s something wrong with your bottle. And so she was like I’m working on it. She’s like, that’s a fight. I went away on vacation and all of your polish exploded in my medicine cabinet. And it was all over my my bathroom, my rug that like it was just it was everywhere and she was like so you need to call you need to call your vendor like immediately so So we went through, we called our vendor and we were like we went through everything we could think of, we eventually got in the car and drove up to the filler, just to go through every possible step, every possible step, what could have gone wrong, because they had paperwork, you know, they have paperwork on every single thing and what the viscosity is, and how much they’re going up for blah, blah, blah. And they were like, they were like, if we don’t pour it up to the to the net, we don’t, it just this can’t, This couldn’t have happened, this couldn’t have happened couldn’t have happened. And a couple hours into like going through the whole facility with them, because they were so great to like, try to figure it out with us. We were sitting back with the president of the company, and he said, Is there any chance that you poured these bottles? By yourself? And I said, yes, there, it’s very proudly be said, Is there any chance that you poured it up to the neck of the bottle through it filling the neck of the bottle? And I said, Yes, I did. Because I want my customers to get all of the nail polish that they deserve for what the price they’re going to pay no matter what that is. And he said, nail polish expands in the heat. Now he then he said, Then he said, Then he said, Is there a chance that your Kazmir because I didn’t tell it was Martha Stewart I just sent a friend of ours at a explosion. And he said, Is there a chance that your friend didn’t have air conditioning for a period of time? There? It is in the heat. And I was just like, and when I called her, she was like, oh my god, I’m so happy that it wasn’t your bottle. I’m so happy that it wasn’t your bottle. This is Thank you. Thank you so much for letting me know that it wasn’t your bottle. I’m really relieved and so happy for you. And by the way, you know polishes really hard to get out of rocks. Somebody’s got a funny quip.

Kara Goldin 26:58
Look, if you went to a dinner party, and you said Who were the three people that you would hate to get that phone call from Martha Stewart would for sure be on that list, right? I mean, it is just so and here you are a brand new entrepreneur, starting a company trying to figure it all out anyone who’s ever started a company. It’s just and again, I’ve told your story so many times, because I was just dying. I can feel I felt for you. I just couldn’t believe it, Martha, I’m sure. Got it out of the rug. And and it was it was all good. But did you think at that moment that you were done? Like that you were giving up? I mean that you were like, I have no idea what I’m doing? No, I was too far along. That leads me so I love that bar along and we put all our own money in it. And so you were like, Okay, we know, we’re not going to do that again.

Deborah Lippmann 27:53
It Yeah, there was not that was not something it was like, how do we fix this? How do we fix this? How do we fix this? So, you know, I was I was young and I have tons of energy, and I was ready to fight. And and it was it was too late. There was too it was just not it was just not something that was even a possibility in my brain that we could that we could give up.

Kara Goldin 28:18
I love that. Well, I think taking that kind of feedback. And like you said, it’s, you know, there’s a lot of people who would take that as I’ve got to go down and never get back up again. But you didn’t. I mean, you just and I think the best entrepreneurs and founders are the ones that figure out, you know, okay, I screwed up on that. And now I gotta get back up and and figure out how to go on. And that’s what I’ve so admired.

Deborah Lippmann 28:46
Kind of almost, I mean, probably not every day anymore, but for many years, it would be like, Okay, what fire do we need to put out today? What fire did we need to put out today? What there’s, there’s a bunch of good stuff that happened. And there’s almost always a fire that you need to put, you know, so I got a lot stronger. And I got I took things a lot less personally, because it was never, it was never about it was never about me. But yeah, I got I got much, much stronger. I was not the person that I am today with, you know, well. And

Kara Goldin 29:19
that’s how you learn to like I’ve said on those. I’ve learned so much from consumer feedback to that at times when I feel lost. As a founder. I’ll get on, you know, I’ll go into customer service emails, I’ll get on the phone lines. I mean, I know that you still maintain that connection with your consumers as well. And I think it’s super valuable, right. It’s better than focus groups because they’ll tell you,

Deborah Lippmann 29:46
I we had a complaint last week, we had a complaint and I got the email that there was a complaint and I read what the complaint was, and I thought I’m just going to I’m going to call this I’m going to call this woman and talk to her about added to try to understand exactly she she thought her papa her Polish had been peeling. And I just thought and she she knew she seemed in her email to know a lot about the brand and I’ve used it before and and she couldn’t figure out why it was peeling and I didn’t really understand. So I wanted to get on the phone with her and have her talk me through what she did. And as first of all, I spent an hour on the phone with her becoming new best friends because I love people and she lives in the neighborhood and we’re probably getting together my guess is like, we don’t have an hour for you to solve. No crazy it got no choice this is what I have. And you know, it turned out that she had mistakenly she was using a base built for a topcoat and top coat for a base coat and she then that happens that is something that happens frequently more frequently than I do admit I tried you know top coat bows on the top and the base coat was on the base but you know, we don’t always look at our you know, look and read our our directions or look and see you know, like first of all I need my glasses now to like look at ingredient what’s happening here. Like, okay, this is Sarah smile, like I have thick, you know, look

Kara Goldin 31:12
at it, that I love it. So. So tell us, you know, for those who aren’t as familiar as I am about Deborah Lippman products, how are they unique? I mean, what is it that that makes them stay on? Well, and so that you don’t have to have a manicure as frequently.

Deborah Lippmann 31:32
Well, we have a double patented formula in the Polish. And it wasn’t always as like we have also changed the formula over the years as ingredients and technology have gotten better. The Polish that I launched 20 years ago, 24 years ago was I have to say it was as good as it could be at the time. But it is not as as it first of all, it’s really healthy. Now we’re free of formaldehyde, toluene dibutyl ballet and 10 free. Beyond that, and then we infused, I didn’t want to take out ingredients and not infuse the formula with something. So we put all kinds of skincare ingredients in the formula. So it’s really feel like you’re getting skincare for your nails, with every color with the base coats with the top coats with the treatments. And with all of the colors. So it’s really layering things that are good for you ingredients and clean ingredients. Now in the formula, and we you know kept our delicious bottle so great. So John, I found this bottle so I was looking for packaging and looking for packaging looking for packaging, and when this bottle like fell into my hands. And I just looked at it and went that is my jam. So like there was no pap, you just get a bottle. And then to visualize what your logo is going to be and you know is there room and my name is really long, by the way, my name is really long. So it’s hard to put on small things. We do a lot of gift sets with smaller bottles. Yeah, like my brother’s off my brother does all of the all of that technical stuff for us. And he’s played, you can’t use names that are this long. There’s no room on the bottle. Like there’s only you can only use a mute the things you have to learn. No, but I want and all the names of my polishes on time. So, you know, sometimes I would want to I wanted to do a color once called across the universe, and my brother was like, are you I mean, are you kidding me with that? Like, it’s not gonna fit, it’s not gonna fit. So we did it anyway, we did it. Great.

Kara Goldin 33:37
So I want to talk to you about color too, because obviously you have been an influencer before even influencer became a word. Right? And, you know, dealing with so many celebrities, but you really create the color palettes. I mean it when you think about it, I mean, so much of it kind of starts with with nail polish colors. I mean, I feel like nail polish even comes even before makeup color. I don’t know like that’s where you can be a little bit different, right?

Deborah Lippmann 34:11
So the first color that I created the way that I had never thought that I could create a nail polish color at all. And this is the Mariah Carey story. So Mariah Carey was nominated I’d been her manicures for for a long, long time and she had written a song for a movie and it was Oscar nominated and song with Whitney Houston she was going to be on the Oscars. And you know, your celebrity celebrity clients are always going somewhere fabulous and getting your estimate the hair and the makeup and it’s always a big you know, it’s always a big to do with the Oscars for the first time she hadn’t been to this event so for her it was a big deal and dresses were coming and the hair person had like was bringing all kinds of ideas and things like that and and the makeup person Christopher buckle with had all of these, you know, all of these amazing, amazing ideas and makeup was being sent to them and hair was being sent to them by everybody and I was like, What can I do I have to I have to do something special for I have to do something special for this night. And so I hand poured I took a couple colors and poured them not into my this bottle but into just a bottle and created a color that I presented to her and that she wore on the on the Oscars. And she was like after that happened, she said, all my friends want to get this this polish and I was like, Oh, well, I have no idea how to create it. Yeah, I have no idea. Like, I was just pouring like her was just like, I would love it. Be able to do it again. I don’t know how to do it again. She was and she was I always say like she took her big, big high heels she was a lie. Go and make polish. You have a talent for color. You have. She was like you have a color and I and I didn’t I didn’t know that about myself. It was something that I did on a in a in a situation where I was trying to be a good person and figure something out. And but it wasn’t something that I thought oh my gosh, look at this creation I’ve made because it was a nude. Meanwhile, it turns out that nudes are my specialty now. So many years later, I can’t get enough of a good nude. So and I was or, you know, I think what? One of the things our customer just loves about our brand or are needed.

Kara Goldin 36:31
So which is your favorite nude color? It’s like which child and

Deborah Lippmann 36:36
that’s exactly what I didn’t want to say that to you because you have children. I don’t have children. This is my these are my children. Yeah. I say whichever one I’m putting on at the moment is my favorite at the moment. I’m gonna love if I have to love them all. If I don’t. I can’t stay

Kara Goldin 36:54
how many colors do you have now?

Deborah Lippmann 36:56
Oh my gosh. I mean, over the years, I’ve made hundreds and hundreds of colors like hundreds and colors and you you now it’s at the point where you really try we have to work hard to go Okay, wait, we did something similar in this six P sat or in this nine piece that we need to make sure that we’re not you know, I never want to duplicate a color unless I’m intentionally doing you know, this was you know, Greatest Hits. So that that the gel

Kara Goldin 37:22
lab pro color so obviously the gel so many of those products are not so terrific. But you’ve done an amazing job you stopped me from doing gel traditional gel when I when that came out because I wanted a nail polish that lasted longer especially on my feet I would always go to the beach and screw up my nails and and then I found yours. And I was like oh my god, this is amazing. So how did you come up with that idea?

Deborah Lippmann 37:59
So when when gels started becoming when the gels that you put your hands in a light started becoming a thing I was like, well first of all, I’m I think I used to say the jury’s still out on those lamps. Although recently the jury came in and said that they’re not good for you. After all of these years, but I thought I want to make something what people love about the gel polish, they love that it stays on longer. They love that it’s that it goes on smoothly and doesn’t have doesn’t have any streaks in it. They love that it’s got like a cushiony feel to it like that it’s and so I went to the lab and I really worked on the formula with the chemist I’m not a chemist, but I was like these are the things we want and we tested and tested and tested and till and then they found a double patented ingredient that went into this product that we were the first to get and that we were that did everything that I wanted it to do you get that plumpie Look, it’s easy to apply. It’s shiny, shiny, shiny, that’s the other thing that’s so that people love about the gels and it stays on longer it doesn’t stay on as long as something that you artificially put your hands in Yeah, that’s like do that. But it’s it gives you days longer wear than our other our you know our original formula

Kara Goldin 39:22
is no it’s so so good. So I cannot and this without asking you so no cutting cuticles. Why is that?

Deborah Lippmann 39:32
No cutting cuticle so your skin is the largest organ in your body. Mm cuticle is the end of your skin, on your fingers and your toes. It is meant to be there. So it is what happens is because we don’t wear gloves and we use our hands all the time and depending on what your body’s DNA is everybody’s cuticle rose differently and if you’re your It’s, you need to push it back. If you’re beautiful grows up your nail, you need to use a cuticle remover and push it back. And that I recommend you do and a manicure once a week. But you push if you are using a proper product. And this is one thing that I will say that is one of the most proud things about my brand is my cuticle remover. I guess it’s something that people can use at home and, and also I really I designed this product for the end user not for salons. I mean not for manicures for me, and many many purists use it, many salons use it and which is you know, a huge honor. And you know, I love that. But it was I really designed everything so that you could do it yourself when you got home if you didn’t know how to polish your own nails. And the cuticle is if you cut it, if you take a nipper and you cut it you were opening your body to the possibility of bacteria and free radicals and infection coming in. And I’m sure anybody that’s watching this or listening to this know has at some point, nipped something that caused blood. And when you do that, it’s you know you are it’s it’s opening your body to infection, I mean, obviously. So it’s just really important that you hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, like every time you wash your hands, you should rehydrate. And we I mean, I thought we would learn that in COVID. And we did. But then, you know, we got a little bit away. I think we’ve gotten a little bit away from it. But you can’t you can’t get too much moisture. You can’t get too much moisture. And if you can’t really moisturize your cuticles, you’re not going to have things that you need to cut off.

Kara Goldin 41:43
Definitely. Well, I love that you’ve been preaching that because I think so many people forget about it. And it’s I always think that you are you have so much wisdom there around this whole topic that I think everybody needs to hear about it. I just want to ask you a couple more questions where I know we’re running a little low on time, but I want to if you’re okay, I want to so when you think back on building this company, obviously you didn’t have the experience. What of all the advice that you got? And I mean, what do you remember? Anything just amazing that you receive from people that you think back on? Okay, well, Bobby Brown told me this or Cher told me this or Martha told me this or whatever. That just gave you the confidence to know okay, I can I can go do this.

Deborah Lippmann 42:36
I’ll tell you what, what happened the pivotal moment. I was with my best girlfriend, who had been hearing me talk about for a couple years. Well, if I did an out polish brand, it would be bla bla bla bla bla. And if I didn’t know polish brand, it would be kind of like Limbo as I was like thinking of these things. And I was standing one day I will never forget this moment in store, see Oh, fig hello in New York City, small apothecary. And we were right girlfriend and I were standing at looking at nail polish. And I said well, if I did a nail polish I would. And she did that one more time without making steps toward actually doing it. I’m never gonna let you talk about it again. You can never speak about it to me again. Do it. And I I was just shipped has the she’s, she’s actually someone who’s put some money into the company at the beginning. She’s got big brown eyes and she looked at me and she was never start. She’s the happiest, happiest, happiest, most positive person and this was like, bam, it was just a moment where I was like, Okay, I gotta buckle up. It’s got to happen. I got it. I got to do it. I got to take one, one step at a time. and figure it out.

Kara Goldin 43:55
Yeah, I love it well, and that’s what you need. You need those people that are supporting you and backing you and and giving you that extra shove. Right I think over and over again. And now i i absolutely love that. Well I could talk to you all day and I hope that we get to do more much and back atcha back at definitely you have so much wisdom I’m so proud of you what you’ve built to and I truly mean it. I think that even you know when you’re you’re a big name like you are I think sometimes people really need to say that back to you because I think it’s it’s definitely what you’ve built is something that creates delight for so many and and you’re you’re such a great role model for so many people who aren’t sure whether or not they can do something big and you’ve really done it. Oh The one last thing I mentioned the jazz singer so Ah, you’re barely mentioning to me that you’re going to be on an album coming up. I mean, you’ve continued to do that, which is amazing continue,

Deborah Lippmann 45:09
I can usually sing and occasionally, I will sing in a club. I will sing at Birdland and in New York City. And I have a friend that I met named John minich, who’s a recording artist and he I love it has asked me I’ve sung on one of his albums a few years ago, actually, the night before I recorded the night before shot locked down. We were like in the recording studio going, should we be here? Should we even like be here doing this and made this beautiful, beautiful song. And he’s doing an album that he’s doing. He’s doing another album. And he’s done several since then. But he’s doing another album soon that with a really famous songwriter. And the songwriter furred has heard all of his music, and his songwriter said you have to have Deborah do a duet with you on your next album. And so it’s like, I sing backgrounds for LeAnn Rimes at Carnegie Hall.

Kara Goldin 46:13
Amazing. Mic drop.

Deborah Lippmann 46:15
It was, yeah, she is. So she’s, I know her through, I believe, nor through her manager, but I was, you know, I was her New York manicurist, or, you know, when she comes here and does things like you were through her nails, and she’s had me sing on other projects with her on television on Good Morning, America. And then today’s show. And then a few months ago, she had a gig at Carnegie Hall, and I got to sing at Carnegie Hall in my time. So keep your dreams alive.

Kara Goldin 46:44
No, I love it. And so many people give those things up. Right? They figure that they’re, you know, this is now their lane, and they’re gonna stick with it. But I think that you’ve continued to do amazing, really great thing. So that’s I’m very, very excited and proud of you, for sure. So we’ll thank you. We’ll have everything in the show notes, where people could get your product, obviously, direct to consumer, Amazon, as well as in so many retailers as well. So thank you for taking the time to come on and share your amazing founding story. And thank you everybody for listening. Goodbye for now. Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. If you would, please give us a review. And feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of our podcast. Just a reminder that it can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin. And if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen. Or pick up a copy of my book on daunted which I share my journey, including founding and building hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And thanks everyone for listening. Have a great rest of the week, and 2023 and goodbye for now. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening