Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Indie polish would be an awfully big adventure: the darkside of making polish

Indie polish had always been something that fascinated me, I had been researching how to make it when I started this blog about two years ago. Last year nail polish base was made easily accessible in the UK for the first time. I jumped at the chance to start making the polishes I had been creating in my head for a years before hand.

I tested my little heart out and six months down the line I had my first 4 polishes ready to go. Even now I have dozens and dozens of little tester bottles sitting and waiting to pass the final inspection. I know for a fact alot of little indie brands don't test, bah I've come to terms with that but for me I became pretty anal about it. My three month testing soon turned into four months... then five months. The slightest start of curling and it wasn't used. The slightest hint of a bleeder and I would start again. I tested first for bleeding and curling, then they were tested in large bottles for suspension and then finally I would test the mix for the three months in it's final mixed form. Right now I was working on polishes that would be going live in October time.

I would sit at my computer worried as I sent out PR samples, I kept asking the swatches "Is this okay?" and they would tell me that they were perfectly fine.  I put my heart into every bottle I made.

I registered as self employed and that was one of the happiest days I have had for a while.  I was doing what I loved. I could almost forget that my 2.1 from University counted for nothing in the outside world and that I couldn't even pass an interview for a job in a cafe. I was working and that felt good to me. I was no longer unemployed and living off social cheques . 

I had £100 to start Quirk which I borrowed from my boyfriend I paid him back dutifully but a couple of months down the line when I saw I selling out I saw I could no longer meet demand but I couldn't produce more polishes. Why was that? Well I was actually selling at  slight loss. Yes I wasn't making a penny from this.  Yet I kept going. For as long as I could.

I then made a big choice to go on hiatus, I sold most of my own  limited edition and rare polishes, most of my clothes and high end makeup to make £300, with more capital  I could buy in bulk and save money, therefore making money. It was tough to part with this stuff but it was for my future, It was an investment. It might not seem like much money, but to me but when I can hardly afford my phone bill then you see how big an investment this was.

That was two weeks ago, I had just re-started production. In the last two weeks I have made about 40 bottles of polish. In reality I have only ever sold about 50 bottles so this was pretty ambitious, but there was demand for them now so why not?

Maybe someone got jealous and thought I was making too much money. Or maybe I was careless with my advertising. Or maybe it was just my damn luck but today I got an email from trading standards. My polishes do not meet EU standards and regulations and I must stop RIGHT AWAY! My base is tested and passes EU regulations and so does my glitter but when mixed together they need to be re-tested in a lab, something that I will never be able to afford.

That is the magic of an INDIE brand, it's not tested, you have to trust the maker to make a safe handmade product. Like I said I'm not the biggest brand or stockist of indie polishes in the UK let alone the EU but I was targeted.  So today I had to close my store, I have been crying all day. I don't have a penny to my name now and 40 bottles of worthless polish and £100's of pounds of polish supplies.

If I was in the USA right now with the other 2,000 or whoever/whatever  makers I would be telling you a happy tale. But here in the UK you can't use your initiative and you have to stifle creativity. Sod Alan Sugar and his entrepreneurial  mindset because that isn't allowed.

I have had some wonderful messages so thank you all, I'll probably remove this post tomorrow, but I feel robbed and wronged right now and I just can't stop crying.

EDIT: It is now the next day and I have decided not to take this post down.  I was angry last night  and needed to vent. Today I just feel sad and drained.  Thank you all so much for your support ,messages and comments, if I haven't replied it is just due to the sheer amount of you that that took the time to contact me. It is heartwarming to know  that my little indie line was loved and supported by so many. I know it is only polish and I shouldn't be so upset in the grand scheme but it is knowing there are much bigger stockists and makers out there than I and they can keep going.  Not being able to do something you love makes you feel empty. I guess it feels a little unjust- although I do not wish this on anyone else.

People have commented saying it was strange that such a small enterprise was caught, and I agree it feels  very odd.  This leads me to a very sad conclusions, I am more than certain someone out there reported Quirk directly, for whatever reason as that is the only way that makes sense to me. I know the nail polish world can be full of drama, but this is in a new low in my opinion.  This saddens me. Maybe one day you will have the guts to message me/ email me/ write a comment on blog and tell me why. Or maybe I am just being paranoid. I don't know.

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  1. What an interesting post to read about. Definitely gave me an insight to making your own polish.

  2. This might be a silly question- but are you sure it was a legit email? Could it be someone trying to scare you, or prank you? I can't imagine they would go after someone so small!

  3. I'm so sorry to read this Kerrie. I love your polishes, they're so original. It's so sad that this has happened to you.

  4. I am really sad this has happened to you. Y'know, I'm sure you'd shift a few selling Unbranded polishes ;) good luck xx

  5. Oh Kerrie. That's so sad. How petty-minded for someone to do that. I guess it means the end of indie polishes in the UK then. If no-one else is testing, I expect they'll all get the same letter :(

  6. What a sad story, I am so sorry!

  7. This makes me so mad! I loved seeing all your polishes being swatch across UK bloggers! I loved the thought and idea behind your polishes! Your polish and you are beautiful! I'm so sorry you've had to go through this! Now, where do I sign up to beat someone up?

  8. I'm not really into that legal world but most of the times everything is okay as you limited the risks for you and your buyers.
    Limiting risks can already be achieved by giving more honest info.
    For example: Putting a writing on the bottle with the info that the base and glitter meet the standards but that you've not tested the mix (in a lab) and that using it is at the owners risk.
    This can be enough to do the trick.
    And perhaps some will not buy anymore but let's be honest...before the 3-free and 5-free we were already buying and using polish without even thinking about it!
    And gosh most of us tried to make our own polishes by mixing stuff together...:-D

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  10. Kerrie so sorry to hear this happened. Take care gun. Xx

  11. I was genuinely shocked and saddened to read this. I can't help but worry that this is another nail in the coffin for UK based indie polish makers. I wish you all the best for the future and please keep blogging.

  12. Gosh, I am so so sorry to hear this :((. This is truly awful :(((. Would you be able to keep making it with a disclaimer that 'it wasn't tested in the lab and doesn't meet EU standards' or something like that? Most people know that it's just beaurocratic BS... All the best to you!

  13. Sorry to hear about this. I've been admiring Quirk from a far but hadn't been able to get my paws on it due to lack of funds mostly. I'm sad that I won't ever get my chance to get my claws into this brand now. It's a shame that whoever felt they had an issue with you couldn't be brave enough to speak to you directly about it and I think it's a damn right shame that the UK are so strict about regulations etc.

    Its the restrictions that have put me off making my own polishes! :-(

    Good luck for the future, I'll keep on watching your blog with interest!

    Laura (Naileymabob) xxx

  14. I hope your okay lovely! This is so terrible. I hope you find someway to carry on doing what you love!

    All the best <3


  15. Hi love! I have never read your blog before but was talking to someone on instagram about the EU regulations, I don't make indie polish so I didn't understand fully so came to Google and that's how I came across you :) what is the problem with the testing, is it very expensive? Also when the UK is no longer part of the EU, I wonder if things will change for you. Thank you so your post it was very interesting to me but also very sad. I hope something dos change in the future for you xx


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