Created by the stylish and sassy Ji Baek, RBL offers one of the most diverse, yet still chic and sophisticated line-ups of polishes we've ever had the pleasure of painting on our digits. We caught up with Baek to get a peek into her process, find out her thoughts on nail trends, and her best manicure tips. Read on and be prepared to fall majorly in love with these lovely lacquers (and the even lovelier lady behind them).
How did you get your start in the industry?
"Like every clichéd entrepreneur, I decided to create something I couldn't find. I felt frustrated by my own endless search for the perfect pedicure, one that is clean, healthy, and in a chic environment. My husband and I created Rescue Beauty Lounge, the first dedicated hand and foot spa in New York City. Our first location opened its doors in 1998 and Rescue Beauty Lounge nail polishes were launched in 2002. Three locations later, in 2011, we decided to retire from the service industry as well as our brick-and-mortar outlets. I now hide blissfully in my studio, mixing colors and selling our products exclusively on our website."
Why nail polish?
"I’m seduced by the democracy of nail polishes. They are size-less, ageless, genderless, and race-less. Nail polish is a quick, fairly inexpensive way to wear trendy colors — you can always add a splash of the 'It' color on your nails. I'd rather buy a bottle of bright yellow nail polish than invest in a bag that I will only wear for one season. Nail polish also makes me grin from ear to ear; I love that I can help provide the 'me' time for people to chill out and do their nails — this is the ultimate meditation, ever."
What were you hoping to bring to the industry?
"I’m big on education, hence it took me 2 ½ years to write my book, Rescue Your Nails . My biggest quest was to maintain a clean environment for nails. We used to sterilize our metal tools in hospital-grade sterilizer and dispose our non-metal tools after each use. It was an expensive way to run a business, but it was the best way. Many of our clients sobbed out loud when we closed."
Talk to us a bit about your creative process — how do you dream up these unique colors? What inspires you?
"Everything in this wondrous life inspires me. I start each nail polish collection similarly to how a fashion designer would start his or her seasonal collection. It’s a long process, which includes intense research. Sometimes I may come up with three boards full of words and imagery. I then convey these boards into stories, and then slowly, I'm able to find one cohesive collection. That's when my playtime with pigments begins and I eventually come up with the right colors, although I do have drawers full of rejects."
Photo: Courtesy of Ji Baek
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