In Living Color
I would say that i am living the american dream. My partner, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, and I both immigrated to the U.S. from Hungary—I came to New York City in 1956, and she came in 1969. After receiving my college degree in International Economics from City College of New York, I began my career in the family garment manufacturing business in Manhattan. But I had a dream of an even better lifestyle, so I moved my family to California in 1981. I purchased a dental supply business called Odontorium Products Inc., and Suzi, who had earned her degree in biology, joined me that same year.
We soon discovered that the acrylic porcelains used to make dentures were similar to and, in fact, even better than, the materials that were being used by nail professionals for crafting acrylic nails. At the time, acrylic nails were just starting to be worn by Hollywood actresses and wealthy women who could afford them. But we seized on what we saw as an opportunity to bring beautiful nails to the masses. We applied our knowledge of dental technology to the nail industry to formulate superior and safer products for nail technicians.
We partnered with a chemist and developed what has fondly become known as the "rubber band special," an acrylic system based on the dental formulas but developed specifically for nails (the bottles were held together with a rubber band). I basically peddled the rubber band special door-to-door to nail salons in Los Angeles. Once they tried it, nail technicians clamored for more of this new acrylic system.
We decided to keep the initials of the dental supply company, and started OPI Products in 1981 in a few square feet of office space in Hollywood. Because we missed the dynamics of the fashion industry and the thrill of working with colors, we entered the world of color in 1989. Today, OPI Nail Lacquer is known as one of the world's best-loved professional nail lacquers. It was a combination of Suzi's spot-on ability to choose the latest colors, our wonderful shade names, and the power of public relations that put OPI on the map. Today, OPI Nail Lacquer is beloved by Hollywood celebrities and worn by women in nearly 100 countries.
The Colors of Success
I believe that OPI truly revolutionized the world of nail color with its nail lacquers. With two extraordinary collections released each year, each themed around a specific geographic location and filled with 12 of that season's most fashion-forward shades, OPI brought glamour back to nails, transforming them into an integral part of the style picture.
It used to be that you only saw supermodels on magazine covers, and then, only their faces. Today you see the whole look, and nails are an important part of magazine editorials, as well. Back when we started selling OPI Nail Lacquer, the professional brands had names like Pink #2 and Bright Red #1. We started using names like Coney Island Cotton Candy and I'm Not Really a Waitress, and the idea caught on with the rest of the industry. We evolved the nail polish category even further with our patented lacquer bottle, ergonomic cap, and, more recently, the ProWide Brush, which is designed for the ultimate in professional application.
OPI's newest line, the India Collection, includes (from left to right) Keys to my Karma, Moon Over Mumbai, Black Cherry Chutney, Curry Up Don't be Late!,and ElaPhantastic Pink.
A World of Opportunity
OPI is much more than nail lacquer. We've continued to keep nail professionals and their clients on the forefront of innovation with an entire range of state-of-the-art quality products for hands, feet, and nails. I'm proud to say that OPI has been granted more than 30 patents for its innovative product ideas.
Yoga-ta Get This Blue!
I'm constantly traveling the world to build my relationships with distributors and nail professionals on six continents. I listen to people's needs and react with ongoing new product development to fulfill those needs. As a result of our company growth, we now have our corporate headquarters on more than seven acres of land in Hollywood, CA.
Giving Something Back
The professional beauty industry has been good to us, and I've always been a believer in giving something back in return for our good fortune. I founded the Schaeffer Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization created to help those in need. The Foundation has donated millions of dollars to charities worldwide, most notably the American Heart Association, the Leukemia Research Foundation, the American Red Cross, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Gilda's Club Worldwide, Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation, Project HOPE International, Oceana, City of Hope, the National Kidney Foundation, and breast cancer awareness organizations.
The India Collection Little Jewelers Mini Pack contains four sari-toned nail colors.
We also regard our employees as family. After all, where would we be without them? I feel that the best way I can support our employees is through education. So we award computers and college scholarships to children of qualifying OPI employees. We also award cosmetology and nail technology scholarships to help support the continued growth of the professional beauty industry.
Supporting the Industry
I am very active in the professional beauty industry and am constantly fighting the diversion of professional products. I am a founding member and chairman of the Nail Manufacturers Council, where we continually strive to protect our industry in legislative and regulatory matters. With all the negative press about unsanitary salons, we have been very active in developing products to support healthy salon sanitation practices and take every opportunity to educate the public about spas and salons who do care about their clients' health.
I am also involved in several other beauty industry groups, including the American Beauty Association, the Professional Beauty Federation, the Manufacturers Leadership Council of the Professional Beauty Association, and the Personal Care Products Council (formerly the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association) and am a board member of North American Beauty Events (NABE) as well as a director of the International Nail Industry Federation of Japan.
The new Axxium Gel System helps create strong, long-lasting manicures.
Always a New Dream
I am a dreamer. I believe that with hard work and per- severance anything is possible. With my son Robbie at the helm, we are embarking on our next venture: opening the first OPI concept salon called Rob|b, in Los Angeles. And, with the continuing evolution of technology in the professional beauty industry, certainly the newest cutting-edge products from OPI are only an innovation away. —George Schaeffer
What's New in Nails
I believe that exquisite nails continue to be an integral part of fashion and that nothing completes a look more beautifully than well-groomed nails, especially when they are showing off the season's most significant colors. Changing a nail lacquer shade can change a woman's entire look—and her outlook.
Having beautiful nails to begin with, however, is a challenge for many women. Many clients are looking for the "perfect 10"—natural-looking nails that are a consistent shape and length. That's why we created the Axxium Gel System by OPI. Axxium acts as an invisible layer of protection for nails, keeping them strong so they can grow without breaking. Virtually weightless, with a sheer, shiny, flawless finish, Axxium gels are easy to wear and incredibly natural-looking. With an Axxium overlay, nails resist breaking, and nail lacquer applications last longer. Best of all, because your clients' nails grow, they'll be back in your salon every two weeks for a touch-up, and that's a revenue stream you can count on. OPI is helping spas and salons sell Axxium services with consumer ads in Redbook, Ladies' Home Journal, Lucky, Shape, and More magazines. These ads invite potential clients to contact OPI to help find a nearby spa or salon that offers Axxium services. You can be included in the Axxium spa database by simply purchasing an Axxium intro kit and attending an Axxium workshop.
And in the world of color, look no further than the India Collection by OPI. Luscious fuchsias, corals, oranges, and reds look fresh on nails and lips. In the mood for hot pink? Try I'm Indi-a Mood for Love. Bring a splash of color to fingertips and toes with MonSooner or Later, a rich orange-red, and Keys to My Karma, a vivid red. And if your karma calls for coral, try Lunch at the Delhi on nails or lips. Lighter shades for nails are perfect when worn with the season's choice of alluring, feminine fabrics. Encourage clients to try pale opal Get Me to the Taj on Time with delicate dresses or Moon Over Mumbai, a dove grey, with summer's watercolor tones of blush, ivory, lilac, light blue, pistachio, and taupe. Pedicure must-haves also include Royal Rajah Ruby, a jeweled burgundy; Charmed by a Snake, a bold bronze; shimmery gold Curry Up Don't Be Late!; deliciously deep Black Cherry Chutney; candy-carnation ElePhantastic Pink; and dark indigo Yoga-ta Get this Blue! —Suzi Weiss-Fischmann
In 1989, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann joined George Schaeffer in his OPI venture as executive vice president and artistic director. She creates every OPI Nail Lacquer shade based on each season's fashion and beauty forecast. Visit her beauty blog at www.suzisbeautyblog.com for tips on fashion, beauty, wellness, and more.
George Schaeffer is the co-founder and president of OPI. For more information about the company, visit www.opi.com.