What do you think will be the most popular nail service in two years at the salon?

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TNG has been selling nail products for more than 26 years. For us, it started with a “honey tip” brush. I will never forget a nail tech coming into my store and asking me for this brush. I asked her, “Why would you want honey on the tip of it?” She laughed and told me it was a brush made by Creative Nail Design.

The things you learn in business. Solarnail was the rage and invented by Dr. Nordstrom who was Jan Arnold’s (co-founder) and Jim Nordstrom’s (co-founder) father. Nordstrom was a dentist and figured out dental products could be used on nails. And voila, acrylics and Creative Nail Design were born.

This new category was hot, hot, hot. This spawned new companies overnight including the now infamous Odontorium Products, Inc. known as OPI started by George Schaeffer in 1981. Schaeffer’s family was in the dental supply business and coincidentally, discovered the same thing about dental products being able to be used on nails.

Everyone wanted in. Larry Gaertner went from collecting guns to making No Lift Primer. Jack Sperling rode the wave with Alpha 9 and his trade show had no less than 100 acrylic companies hawking powders and liquids.

Then came odorless acrylics. Frank and Laura DeSantis’s Aqua Nails was the rage. Both CND and OPI came out with their formulas but the stickiness and application issues were too much to overcome.

Fast forward to 2010 and CND has once again invented a new category: Gel polish. President John Heffner claims CND spent over 4 years on product development and wanted it just right. Prior to introduction they did a dog and pony show with their top USA distributors to get opening order ideas and launched internationally.

Based on their data they came up with a plan and then tripled it. Little did they know what was in store. “It totally blindsided us,” quips Jacquie Johnson, VP of Sales. “Not even Larry could predict this overnight sensation.”

OK, I will admit I was hesitant due to the economy, price and prior launches. But in 26 years, I have never seen anything like Shellac.

Now that we have the new category, here is what I don’t get. How did so many companies come up with their own version in less than a couple months when it took CND over 4 years? How does Danny Hale’s Gelish have 48 colors with zero R&D and how does Jessica have 36 colors overnight?

Rick Slack, President of NSI, gave me a call and told me his new line coming out in October has been in R&D for quite a while. At least NSI has R&D. NSI’s line will sport 24 colors in 1/2 oz. bottles for a great price.

American International’s IBD and China Glaze are coming out as well this fall and they certainly have the resources behind them. But I’m seeing companies come out of the woodwork with 24, 36, 48 and even more colors. The question is, none of these companies have a chemist on staff, none have a working lab and all are outsourcing. How can they all be doing this at the same time?

Ah, the acrylic days are back. When Kym Lee, a nail tech in Southern California can launch a line called Galaxy while doing nails at her salon, you know anything is possible. Kym was a great gal and was in the right place at the right time. But now?

I wonder. Shellac has the name, the PR, the formulation. What they don’t have is stock. I was told we will receive some early next week and most orders will be fully caught up by late September. CND’s arch rivals are salivating. But in the end who will survive?

And what will the fate of the nail polish industry be?Women who have been accustomed to choosing from among 300 colors are tickled pink to find any Shellac color and wear it.

But the biggest question is what is George Schaeffer coming up with? OPI owns the color category and the one thing I know about George is this: Not only will he come out with a winning product, he will have plenty of inventory.

Game on. In the end, it will just like 1985 again, CND and OPI.

Happy Thursday!