Small Business Highlight: _blank beauty
_blank beauty is a nail polish brand based in Memphis that creates gorgeous colors that are clean, vegan, and cruelty-free. Originally, the company’s first endeavor was a device that could dispense any liquid cosmetic on command. This device was a response to stores running low on nail polish inventory because of supply chain issues. It could replicate any color nail polish the store needed.. _blank beauty also sells their own collections of colors including the Made in Memphis collection that they recently unveiled on 901 Day. The shades include Riverside Sunset, Gritty, 901, 38104, Honey Hot, and Mane Attraction. They have their polishes available on their website, at Silk and Honey Boutique located at West G.E. Patterson Avenue, Falling Into Place Boutique located at 2613 Broad Avenue, and other pop-up markets around town.
When _blank beauty first started, they were originally named Beauty by Me, but the company decided to change because they felt like it didn’t encompass everything that they did. _blank beauty has their hand in tech as well as wholesale custom labeling, so they have small businesses come to them to make their own nail polish lines for their boutiques or specialty events. So they wanted a name that was more broad. I sat down with Courtney Cox, _blank beauty’s Head of Outreach, to ask her a few questions. I asked Courtney what was the story behind their name. “It was us just kind of shooting the breeze, just trying to figure out what could really work and _blank beauty just kind of came.” The team didn’t want their faces to be at the forefront of the company, like Rare Beauty and Selena Gomez or Rihanna and Fenty Beauty. They wanted anybody to be able to see themselves when they looked in the mirror.
I asked Courtney about _blank’s products and why they decided to be clean, vegan, and cruelty-free. “It wasn’t a super hard decision to make because we saw how icky products were and how nail polish can be very volatile and it can be very irritating…, so we were like, if we are going to release professional nail products, we want them to be clean.” Clean means a product is made without synthetic chemicals or ingredients like parabens, phthalates, oxybenzone, and synthetic fragrances. _blank beauty is truly committed to putting their customers and product users' experience first.
One of the unique features about _blank beauty is that they offer custom polishes using their cosmetic device to provide custom formulations. Courtney told me about how the process is done. “We are able to color match anything with our smart phones and we have the technology and AI in-house…It’s really just taking a picture, uploading the picture, and just perfecting it to which shade you want and making a name for it. It’s really simple and we make it very fun, and people get really creative with their names.” This process can be done on the _blank beauty website.
_blank beauty is growing quickly, and they still have big goals that they want to hit. “I think one of our main goals that we are looking towards in the future is hopefully opening our own brick and mortar store in Memphis, where customers and nail techs can come in and not only buy our products off the shelves, but also be able to see our devices and be able to make their own custom color on demand.” The store would be two-sided, one side would be where you could shop and the other side is where you would be able to make your custom colors. But _blank beauty is still pretty small, with about fifteen employees, so they would love to have more brand awareness and more sales. They want to be able to show Memphis and the country that there is a new face in beauty.
Something that was unexpected for the team at _blank beauty was how much they didn’t know about the nail polish industry, like how unrestricted it is, meaning how many options there are and how many different types of nail polishes that a customer could want. Courtney told me about when she first started working at _blank and her job was to take the device and show it to nail techs in the city. After she finished showing the device to them, they were like ‘Okay where’s the gel? I need a base coat, top coat. Where is all of that?’ So the learning curve for the team was massive, to say the least. “So one of the really big challenges…was really trying to learn all of this information at once about the nail polish industry and then also trying to keep up with it because the nail industry is steadily growing because of how fast trends come and go.” The nail polish industry is a beast, but _blank beauty is willing to brave it. They are proud of their products and what they have accomplished with their company.
The last question I had was what _blank beauty loved about being a small business in Memphis. Courtney said, “There’s just something that is so unique about this city that really can’t get anywhere else and it’s the level of community and camaraderie and pride that comes from Memphians.” The support that they have gotten from their community has been so amazing and they couldn’t have asked for anything else. They are going to be doing more events this fall so keep a lookout on all their social media platforms for updates! Thank you to Courtney Cox for sitting down with me. Again here is their website, and all of their social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok.
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