Interview: Chelsea McDonnel of Pretty & Polished

Welcome back everyone! You’re just in time for yet another installment of Indie Maker Interview. As always, on the 3rd and 4th Wednesday of the month, I bring you inside and in depth with the makers, scratch that, wizards behind some of our favorite brands. I love todays featured maker and was super thrilled when she agreed to participate in this series. I’m going to give you 3 clues to see if you can guess who this marvelous maker is. Clue #1, before I started blogging, I swatched and posted my photos to IG. One of the collections that I swatched was the Icon Collection from this brand and let me just say,  clue #2, she is the queen of thermal polishes. Clue #3, she was even nice enough to help sponsor my upcoming 5k IG giveway. Still not sure who I am referring to? Then allow me to present, Chelsea McDonnel of Pretty & Polished (P&P). 

Pretty & Polished is a small, family owned company based out of the Midwest in a lovely Indiana college town which started in early 2011 as a nail polish brand but quickly turned into a way of life. They remain active in local charities and also reach out to charities and causes away from home. P&P feel the need to give back to a world that has been so good to them and feel very strongly about keeping their products completely vegan and animal friendly. 

photo provided by Chelsea McDonnel
Chlesea with a couple boxes of Cancer Care Packages, “we sell charity polishes to fund this project, we make care packages and deliver them to local cancer patients.”

Name Chelsea McDonnel
Location Muncie, IN 
Birthday April 24

Q: Favorite season and why?
A: Fall is the best time of the year. I love the Indiana weather, the gorgeous fall colors, the smells, the food. Fall is when I get to do most of our favorite outdoor activities with my kids. These are the things that stick in your mind forever.

Q: Favorite meal of the day?
A: Dinner. Its the only meal of the day that my whole family gets to sit together. When you have 3 kids and everyone is busy things like sitting at the table become incredibly meaningful. 

Q: What cartoon character best represents you?
A: Linda Belcher (she’s the mom from Bob’s Burgers). My husband always says this about me. He says I’m hilarious, a good mom, a loving wife, and I make up hilarious songs and am not afraid to be funny regardless of who’s around. I also embarrass my children often. 

Q: Night on the town with friends or evening alone at home?
A: That’s a tough one. I don’t get a lot of time with my friends or alone time. I’d probably choose time with friends though because I’m very social.

Q: Jeans or Dress?
A: Love dresses but I wear jeans 90% of the time.

Q: If you were an animal, what would it be and why?
A: An elephant. Elephants love hard. They are faithful and protective. Definitely my spirit animal. 

Q: Read a book or watch a movie?
A: Read! I love books. I’ve read thousands.

Q: Why did you decide to start a nail polish line and what makes your brand different?
A: Back in late 2010 and early 2011 I became really good at finding nail polishes that were hard to find and getting them into the hands of other polish lovers who wanted them. It was then that I realized how much I enjoyed giving something as special as beautiful polish to others and wanted to make it a big part of my life. 

Q: What makes P&P different?
A: Well, I know we have been making polish longer than most of the other makers (who are still around) at this point but I don’t necessarily think that makes us special. Maybe more experienced. But what I think makes us different and special is our unwavering originality. We make polishes that we like. We don’t feel the need to hop on every trend or copy others. We make shades that speak to us in hopes that it will speak to our customers. 

Q: What is one thing you’re willing to share that your customers would be surprised to know about you?
A: I’ve been really open with our customers over the years and have formed many friendships so I don’t know what there is left for them to know about me. I guess it may come as a shock to some that I have over a quarter of my body tattooed. 

Q: What advice/tips would you give someone wanting to start their own polish company?
A: I would tell them to be patient and don’t get discouraged. The Indie Polish community has become very saturated with new brands and sometimes they don’t last for long. I think if you get into this business to make a quick buck and in hopes of getting “indie polish famous” overnight you are in the wrong business. As with any new business venture you have to work hard, work smart, and be patient. I hate seeing people get discouraged. There is enough room for all of us, and if we worked together more it may just make it easier. 

Q: Besides your own, what other brands do you own/wear?
A: I have a good mix of Indie brands. I think the ones I own the most of are probably KBShimmer, Lush Lacquer, and Gunpowder Lacquer. I honestly don’t wear a ton of nail polish these days unless it’s something of ours. It has been a great way to advertise. 

Q: In 5 words, describe yourself
A: It’s not five words but it’s how a lot of people have described me. Make it work with what you have. It’s how I’ve had to live my life. 

Q: What is one your strengths? Weakness?
A: I’ve always felt that my ability to FEEL is one of my biggest strengths and weaknesses. I can make an emotional attachment to almost anything. It helps me stay humble but also find beauty in many things which really helps my creativity. But it also means I get hurt very easily. 

Q: What are your top 3 favorite things to do? (Outside of making polish and filling orders…lol)
A: I am actually a really active person. I love running and working out. I enjoy cooking and am actually working on a cookbook. And I love designing all kinds of things. I have a very imaginative artistic side that is hard to contain.

photo provided by Chelsea McDonnel
 Pictured above is the newest available collection, The Connie and Carla Collection.

This past weekend was the inaugural launch of Polish Con in Chicago and upon the many brands in attendance, Pretty & Polished was there. I saw all over Facebook how awesome it was so see and meet Chelsea. Mariah from Great Lakes Lacquer described Chelsea as, “…a powerhouse in person.” She went on to say, “…an aura that radiates 10 feet around that exudes strength and beauty all combined in one.” For those of us there were no able to make it, I hope this interview brought you a little closer to her and Pretty & Polished.

Until next week…  

Be sure to like, follow and join Pretty & Polished
Facebook Business Page / Instagram / Facebook Fan Group

Shop Pretty & Polished


Disclosure: The questions above were sent to the featured maker (FM) for review and response. The FM was advised they could omit responses from any question they were not comfortable with answering. The responses are directly from the FM and have not been altered in any way, shape or form. The comments and responses expressed in this interview are those of the FM and the FM alone.

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