Rachel James originally came up with the idea of creating a cruelty-free, luxury, vegan nail polish brand while studying fashion merchandising at the Academy of Design & Technology.
Her interest in nails started at a young age. As a child she would paint everyone’s nails, from her mother’s to her own baby dolls. In the period between graduating from high school and starting college, when most teens are relaxing and socializing, James took her interest in nails to a professional level by becoming a licensed aesthetician.
But the defining moment for James occurred in college after delivering an impressive marketing presentation about a fictional nail polish brand. According to an interview on InStyle.com, it was her impressed professor who suggested that she consider working for the popular nail polish brand O.P.I. While flattered by the career advice, James realized then and there that she was not too keen on the idea of working for someone else. That same night in her bedroom she would perform a Google search query that would prove to be life changing – “how to start a nail polish brand.”
Years later, Rachel James opened Pear Nova’s own luxury salon in her Chicago hometown alongside the launch of her first 10-free gel lacquer collection. When HelloBeautiful asked James about how she has seen her brand blossom and evolve throughout the years, she replied humbly. “Well, I started in my parents’ basement and now I’m blessed enough to be speaking with you,” Rachel James said reminiscing about her journey as an entrepreneur in the nail industry. “Pear Nova has blossomed in every way from the way that I curate collections to our growth in supporters and even into a nail studio.”
We caught up with the Pear Nova boss babe herself about her journey through entrepreneurship, fall nail trends to be on the lookout for and her personal nail maintenance secrets.
“I wanted to create something that sat perfectly in between fashion and beauty. Nails are accessories, art, a mirror for your mood, the foundation to an outfit and a conversation starter. Pear Nova is different from other nail brands because we’re blending health and luxury all while celebrating every skin tone,” James told HelloBeautiful about the conception of her brand. Since the release of her first collection in 2013, Rachel James has taken the nail industry to new heights with the Pear Nova brand and Pear Nova Nail Studio & Lounge.
Her work in the beauty and fashion industries as an esthetician, stylist, makeup artist, personal shopper, fashion editor and an amateur model provided her with the perfect lens to create a luxury brand for her melanated sisters. To further her knowledge in her new passion, James traveled to Paris, France to attend Cosmetagora, where the leading cosmetic chemistry companies from around the world were represented.
“This was the worst trip of my life. My 2nd born was 6 months old and teething, and I was breastfeeding so there was no leaving him home with a babysitter,” James admitted to HelloBeautiful about adjusting to the balancing act of momprenuership. “Paris was my introduction to cosmetic chemistry and what I learned allowed me to build our products’ foundation, but more importantly, it was an eye-opener to the mommyhood-entrepreneur lifestyle that I was choosing to commit to.”
James continued to admit the hardest part of her entrepreneurial journey – the juggle between her personal life and business. “I still struggle with this,” James confided in HelloBeautiful. “I still feel guilty if I spend too much time at work or if I take too many days off.” She also shared that a key lesson that entrepreneurship has taught her is to not bank on certainty. “Recently I discovered how much I’m able to adapt and still be creative and shift when needed which is so important in entrepreneurship,” James shared.
Lucky for HelloBeautiful readers, an insight into her growth as a mommy and entrepreneur is not the only thing she shared during our conversation. See below for tips, tricks and hacks from the Pear Nova founder about her nail maintenance routine, fall trends and more!
On her nail maintenance routine:
I make sure to drink lots of water. I apply Pear Nova Growth Green Tea Cuticle Oil nightly and visit Pear Nova studio weekly.
On the top fall colors in the Pear Nova collection:
Our nudes are the most popular that can be worn year-round. Michelle Our Mama from our BRWNGRLMGC Collection is the most popular for Fall. Some more favorites are Pineapple Skies, a metallic evergreen, and Rub My Temples, a rich cranberry with gold shimmer.
On the most popular nail shapes during the fall season:
Any nail shape can be worn at any time depending on your preference. Nail shapes are never seasonal and there are absolutely no rules.
On what your nail shape says about you:
Nail shapes can say endless things. “I work in an office,” “I have plans this weekend,” I’m tired of the same ‘ole thing,” “I use my hands when I talk,” “I’m a new mother,” or “I like what I like when I like it.” I’m sure you saw shapes when reading those.
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