Suzi Weiss-Fischman_OPI Co-Founder

She’s the first lady of nails, with hundreds of millions of bottles of colour sold per year to prove it.

When OPI Co-Founder and Executive VP Suzi Weiss-Fischmann launched her professional nailcare business in 1981, she was full of big ideas. But even she had no idea how far the brand would go. Fast forward 34 years and OPI is the world leader in the professional nailcare industry.

Like all success stories, OPI had to start somewhere. Somewhat surprisingly, the brand acronym stands for “Odontorium Products Inc.” Originally the Hollywood-based company produced and sold dental products. Some of the first materials the nail company used for their original acrylics came from dental materials. Who would have thought?    

Spreading Global Fashion

Whatever its origins, OPI is now respected worldwide in the nailcare world. The brand’s bottles are known not only for their on-trend colours and long-lasting formulas but also their punny, punchy shade names.

Examples of the tongue-in-cheek moniker-making include “I’m Not Really A Waitress” (a shimmery cherry red) and “Tickle My France-y” (a nude mauve) and it seems as if almost every woman has a go-to colour. “My favourite shades are the ones that were game changers," said Suzi, "like ‘Lincoln Park After Dark,’ which is a dark eggplant. We introduced it when pink and reds were ubiquitous. After we showed these dark shades they became cool to wear year-round and nail colour became a form of expression. Now there are no rules.”    

What's in a Name?

Creating the amusing colour names takes a team of six, locked doors, many hours and tons of food (but no booze), according to Suzi. Brainstorming is the name of the game, and hundreds of options are considered before the final decisions are made.

How do the winners get chosen? “We just know when something clicks,” she said, and admitted there are often close runners-up that just didn’t make the cut for reasons that even the team might not be able to explain. These are put in the vault for later.    

A Sparkling Collaboration

OPI and Coca-Cola may not be the first brands you would match up. After all, soft drinks don't seem like a logical inspiration for nail colour. But Suzi said it works, and now OPI has joined forces with Coca-Cola and nail polish devotees are anxiously awaiting the results of this unexpected collaboration.

“Partnering with Coca-Cola is a huge opportunity,” she said. “We’ve been talking about co-creating a collection for four years and seeing it come to fruition is thrilling. Bringing two iconic brands together just seems right.”

Thus several of Coca-Cola’s leading drinks, including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite and Fanta provided the inspiration for the colours of the collection. “The Coca-Cola red shade is an exact replica of the colour on the bottle,” said Suzi.    

Talking Trends

Beyond the Coca-Cola collaboration, what shades are coming? “We will see chic browns with gold as a huge accent colour, especially in nail art,” said Suzi. “Coral and minty green are also part of the palette.”

Her golden rule: forget matchy-matchy. Go with mix and match instead. For example, choose a chic beige or brown for your toes and accent it with a funky blue on fingers for an unexpected effect. The days of bubblegum pink on hands and feet are over.