How time flies! It feels like only yesterday that I was visiting Lena White, the distributor of OPI in the United Kingdom, and whose vision it was as a nail technician to share the secret of this fantastic range, one that she discovered for the UK market.
As a nail technician, Lena was constantly searching for a brand that could offer fantastic results for her clients. When she came across OPI, she recognised that this was the only brand to date that, from a professional point of view, offered a selection of products that a technician needed for natural nails and enhancements.
Additionally, from a customer and fashion point of view, Lena saw that OPI had a wonderful array of home care maintenance products that were the same quality as the pro formulas. Truly giving not only instant manicure-grade results (which is often down to the calibre of the technician), but products that offered long-term performance and quality.
I first met Lena at the trade shows, and visited her for the first time when OPI was in its founding stages in the UK. In those days, it was a very small operation, but it had an incredibly passionate leader in Lena. Her daughters Lisa and Julie, who over the years you may have come to know, were at that time not in the business (probably at school, wearing pigtails). Lena really was almost a one-man band, spreading the word of how passionate she felt about this range that she had brought to the UK.
I remember that of all of the brands that I introduced to QVC, OPI was the toughest nut to crack in the early days. It took many meetings for Lena to get her head around the fact that my show, In the Salon with Alison, was a professional salon on air, where I didn’t want to sell normal, high street products. My dream was to share the secrets of little-known professional brands, which offered great results for customers at home.
Many cups of coffee later, Lena understood that I was as passionate about the beauty industry as she was. She gave me the go-ahead to originally represent her products on air, which quickly turned into one hour shows devoted to OPI. Lena then came on air as a guest to share her story, and was followed by Julie and Lisa. As they grew up, they went on to work in Lena’s company – and the rest, as they say, is history!
If I take you back in time to what impressed me so much about OPI as a brand, it is that they were not a licensing deal – rather, they were their own company, developing breakthrough formulas. The reason that they were so cutting edge when it came to nail enamels, is that the company originally manufactured dental products, creating the enamels, colours and ingredients required by the dentists for crowns and false teeth. The name OPI stands for Orthodontist Products Incorporated, and their formulas were like no other on the market. Their products achieved fantastic results, and certainly were the best quality available in the UK, at that time, for me to bring to your screen and share the secret.
Of course, as you are only as good as your product, this brand is now a global phenomenon in the nail industry, in over 100 countries. OPI have created technician training schools all over the world (including Lena White’s very own in the UK), and take pride in manufacturing to the finest detail their custom made bottles and brushes. OPI have also launched modern and exciting fashion collaborations, with exclusive colours made for film premiers and celebrity collaborators. Partnerships include Sky Fall, Walt Disney, Maria Carey, Coca Cola, Katie Perry – the list goes on, and will continue to do so, because everyone recognises the quality of OPI as a brand leader.
So, I am very happy to see that you have loved OPI as much as I and other professionals have, and I want to congratulate Lena, Julie and Lisa who, along with Siobhan our current guest presenter, have shared their family story of representing this amazing brand in the United Kingdom. Of course, we will continue to share the same fantastic prices, new launches and special sizes that have made QVC a destination shop for OPI followers.