Up Close and Personal with Courtne King of Little Black Dress Polish

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Name: Courtne King
Location: Odenton, Maryland
Birthday is July 22

Courtne, (without the ‘y’), is a local, to me, DMV gal with 2 sons, two female cats, and two male birds. The boys out number the girls, ‘but we’re smarter,’ she says. With her birthday on the cusp of Cancer and Leo and she has equal traits of both.

Favorite subject in high school and why?
I don’t recall having one, but high school is where I learned that science isn’t really my thing. I think for me it was Spanish.

If you were given a superpower, what would it be?
This is an easy one because my kids and I determined our powers because they’re in a superhero phase. I can telepathically push people to do and say what I want. That way my kids will be good obedient little robots. Because that’s what all parents really want.

If your life were a reality show, what would the name of your show be?
My reality show would be called Jack Of All Trades: What’s She Gonna Try Next. In each episode I’d talk about a job, subject, craft, or activity that I’ve obsessed over. That would run 5 or 6 seasons.

Favorite childhood memory?
Any time spent with my mom or dad.

Describe yourself in 5 words
crafty, humorous , over-stressed, creative, wise

What are you top 3 favorite things to do? (Outside of making polish and filling orders…lol)
My favorite things to do are spending time with my sons (getting rare now that they’re teens), read, and hang out with coworkers (I know, not very exciting).

When and why did you decide to start a nail polish line?
I’ve always wanted to do something “extra” with my life. Something beyond working everyday and raising a family. When my husband died a few years ago, his absence left a huge whole that I could fill with sorrow or with something positive and useful. I chose positive.

What makes your brand different?
My brand is geared towards women of all ages and all walks of life. I create unique neutrals for those who prefer a more subdued look, glitters for those who want a little sparkle, and a variety of creams, shimmers and other finishes to accessorize any woman, for any occasion.

What is one thing you’re willing to share that your customers would be surprised to know about you?
You might be surprised to know that I love making and selling polish, but I don’t paint other people’s nails. Friends ask and I decline. I feel like I’m just artistic enough to make designs on my own nails, but not anybody elses. I made one exception when my oldest sons girlfriend asked me to do her nails for prom. I couldn’t say no. She’s such a sweetie.

What advice/tips/best practices would you give someone wanting to start their own polish company?
For people who want to start their own polish business my suggestion is to do your research, and record all formulas even if they fail. You can learn a lot from a botched attempt.

Besides your own, what other brands do you own/wear?
I almost exclusively wear my own polish because I’m always in some phase of testing. As for other indies I have KB Shimmer, Literary Lacquers, Pretty Jelly and Digital Nails.

What is one of you favorite collections or polishes you created?
My favorite collection is my Back to Black collection because the inspiration came from my favorite recording artist Amy Winehouse.

If you weren’t in the indie polish business, what’s another product you would have liked to create?
If I weren’t making polish, I might have gone back to jewelry making or some form of it since I have all the tools. Lately I’ve considered making dangle charms for planners.

Any spoilers that you care to share about future collections, products, etc?
Spoiler alert: I’ve been working on a cuticle gel and cuticle oil for almost a year now. When I’m satisfied with my formula I’ll add them to my shop. I want to work on them this summer.

How did you come up with your company name and logo?
I used to make jewelry and I had an Etsy shop called Little Black Dress Accessories. When I decided to open my polish shop I came up with a long list of names. I had a hard time deciding on one so my coworker, now also my assistant, said, “why don’t you just use your old shop?” It worked, so I did. I came up with the logo because it was feminine and it fit the name of my shop.

In 10 words or less, what would be your brand slogan?
Little Black Dress…because every woman needs one

What do you love most about being an indie polish maker?
I have to express my creativity. I mean literally. I have to be learning a craft or making a craft. I have to have a project to work on. I think I might explode if I wasn’t creating something in some form or another. Making and selling polish fulfills all my creative needs. And I get to learn more about running a business.

What other brand (just 1) would you like to collaborate with?
I can only choose one?!? OK, after much deliberation I choose Pam Heil of Girly Bits Cosmetics…and Christy Rose of KB Shimmer. Ok, I cheated, sorry.

Favorite nail art technique?
My favorite nail art technique is stamping because it’s easy to do when you don’t have time to put a lot of work into a design. Second favorite is the ombre effect.

What is your greatest accomplishment to date with your brand?
My greatest accomplishment to date is surpassing my estimated income this quarter.

What is one challenge you’ve faced in business and how did you overcome it?
I don’t believe I’ve overcome any significant hurdle aside from getting the business up and running. There are several challenges coming up in the near future, but I’ll tackle each one as it comes.

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