I woke up this morning to a comment on my blog and a few emails. Nothing new you say? Well this was totally different, a lot of you wanted to "alert" me to the post that Polishaholic did comparing Captivated to Icing's Tiger's Blood. I don't know if the emails were sent to me as a Hey thought you'd want to know or as someone wanting to stir the pot, but I'll take it as the first one.
My first reaction was WHAT? How could this happen? But let's be honest - I am somewhat certain as to how this happened. I have shared so many things about this business with you all and it is a very tight lipped community, so there is only so much I feel comfortable sharing, because I do after all still have to work in it in order to continue to create polishes. So I will try to be as careful as possible here, because I don't want to call anyone out, especially when I myself can only speculate how this happened. I am not sure I will ever know with 100% certainty, but that won't stop me from trying to find out either.
So here is the basics of it all. You can not trade mark colors. I know I have said this before, and I am sure it won't be the last time I say it. Once a polish color is created, anyone else can have that color too. It's really just that simple. I am working on some "basic" colors to add to my collection as I feel there are just some basic colors that every polish line should have, the nudes, the reds, the corals, the pinks... You get where I am going with that. But there are only so many versions of each color out there. I can add my spin to the color, but in this process I realize that my spin will still most likely have a dupe somewhere. If I let myself get caught up in no dupes to the basics, I would never have any. I can't do that. I can just continue doing what I am doing and hoping for the best.
The more fun and creative colors though take so much more work. There is sometimes a franken, but I always tell the lab to take liberties. I feel like sometimes what they see may be better than what I thought. It happened with Iconic for example. My version of Iconic did not have the gold shimmer in it. The lab added that in and I fell in love and went with that version vs my original version. With My Kind of Cool Aid, I let go of a version that made it's way into another line. Whether I turn a color down or not, someone else can buy it. I thought someone else could only buy it if I turned it down. How wrong I was!
Recently a polish company came out with something we'll call "schmackle".(OK so WE know it's been around since the 80's, but still.) Well of course I called my lab and asked if they could make me some "schmackle" in colors I want. The answer was an immediate NO WAY MA'AM. The company that was bringing "schmackle" back put a protection order(or something - I don't know the exact name) not allowing the labs to create it for anyone else for several months. So the public labs hands are tied and they can't make it in any color for anyone. Now the companies that have their own lab can go ahead and make it and the companies that are overseas or buy from overseas can get their hands on it as well. I know because I looked into it. But those of us little dogs working with the main public U.S. labs = not happening right now! Of course that led me to the question of - wait I thought we couldn't protect our colors? The answer was: well if you have enough money you can temporarily hold it from anyone else. Darn it, I don't have that kind of money!
When we created Captivated, it was one that was an up in the air color. I asked the lab for a coral polish packed with glitter. I wanted something with maybe some gold glitter thrown in. But I didn't want a straight up glitter polish, and I didn't want something with micro glitter like Living Water, but I wasn't opposed to that option. I gave the lab complete liberty. So in this instance they created some options and sent me swatches. So instead of the sending me one color and me not liking it and opening that color to being sold, I thought I was reducing my risk by asking them to just make enough for a swatch and if I like how it looks on the plastic nail, then they can create it for me. Captivated was one of five coral options they sent me. When I saw it, I knew it was the one. I didn't envision it like that at all, but I knew at that moment it was exactly what I was looking for. I requested them to send me a sample bottle so I could test the formula. Then with some revisions a final sample was sent and approved.
So here I am left to wonder, did they send me Icing's polish? Or did Icing like my polish and buy it? I don't know which came first on this one. I am heartbroken and feel a little played by my lab though. I mean why would you sell the same color to two people at the same time? Sound a little like the whole OPI Catch Me In Your Net vs. Zoya Charla anyone? I know all my colors may be duped eventually. I know I run the risk of it even happening at the same time like with so many major polish brands. It is after all a color. I get that. I know that I may inadvertently dupe another color, because as much as I love nail polish, I don't know every color in existence in the polish world. I actually go through phases where if I am creating I stop looking at other blogs and collections, because I don't want to be influenced.
I, like many of you love finding dupes to colors and know a lot of them exist. I would be nieve to think that none of my colors will never have a twin. I just wish it wasn't so immediate. And of course I wish if there is a dupe to my color, that it would be a more expensive dupe not a cheaper one. Because honestly I can't afford to reduce my prices. As far as my customers are concerned, let the best price win. But the reality is the more I buy, the less I pay. Unfortrunately I am not in the financial position to buy in quantities that would reduce my prices, much less drastically reduce my prices! If I put polishes out for $4.50 a bottle I would lose money. I just can't do it. Icing, I am sure buys the polishes by the truckfull and so they can afford to have a lower price point. I don't have that luxury.
Regardless, Which came first? The Tiger's Blood or the Captivation?(Kind of like the chicken or the egg if you will.) I don't know. I don't know if my lab will even admit to me which one did or if they even made Tiger's Blood. Whenever I ask if they made this color or that color, they tell me they can't release that information. But come on, the proof is in the bottle! It is what it is. I guess that definitely makes Captivated Limited Edition though! No point in remaking it if it can be found elsewhere!
Anyway, I know you may not all care, but as open as I have been thus far, I don't think now is the time to not be. If I didn't respond to the emails I received, then I think I would have just gotten more emails. How many times have we all read or written, that we wished companies would just be honest with us. So for those of you interested or who care, there it is.
I will close by saying while it sucks, it is kind of cool to know that I am coming up with colors other people like major companies or major polish brands are wanting/using. It makes me know that I am doing something right! :)
Edited to add: As a result I decided why not have an Icing on the Cake sale? So buy any two Cult Nail polishes and get Captivated for $4.50! :) Use code : Icing at checkout. I'm going to do the sale through Friday June 17th, 2011. I couldn't resist a good reason for a sale!