Indie polish had always been something that fascinated me, I had been researching how to make it when I started this blog about two years ago. Last year nail polish base was made easily accessible in the UK for the first time. I jumped at the chance to start making the polishes I had been creating in my head for a years before hand.
I tested my little heart out and six months down the line I had my first 4 polishes ready to go. Even now I have dozens and dozens of little tester bottles sitting and waiting to pass the final inspection. I know for a fact alot of little indie brands don't test, bah I've come to terms with that but for me I became pretty anal about it. My three month testing soon turned into four months... then five months. The slightest start of curling and it wasn't used. The slightest hint of a bleeder and I would start again. I tested first for bleeding and curling, then they were tested in large bottles for suspension and then finally I would test the mix for the three months in it's final mixed form. Right now I was working on polishes that would be going live in October time.
I would sit at my computer worried as I sent out PR samples, I kept asking the swatches "Is this okay?" and they would tell me that they were perfectly fine. I put my heart into every bottle I made.
I registered as self employed and that was one of the happiest days I have had for a while. I was doing what I loved. I could almost forget that my 2.1 from University counted for nothing in the outside world and that I couldn't even pass an interview for a job in a cafe. I was working and that felt good to me. I was no longer unemployed and living off social cheques .
I had £100 to start Quirk which I borrowed from my boyfriend I paid him back dutifully but a couple of months down the line when I saw I selling out I saw I could no longer meet demand but I couldn't produce more polishes. Why was that? Well I was actually selling at slight loss. Yes I wasn't making a penny from this. Yet I kept going. For as long as I could.
I then made a big choice to go on hiatus, I sold most of my own limited edition and rare polishes, most of my clothes and high end makeup to make £300, with more capital I could buy in bulk and save money, therefore making money. It was tough to part with this stuff but it was for my future, It was an investment. It might not seem like much money, but to me but when I can hardly afford my phone bill then you see how big an investment this was.
That was two weeks ago, I had just re-started production. In the last two weeks I have made about 40 bottles of polish. In reality I have only ever sold about 50 bottles so this was pretty ambitious, but there was demand for them now so why not?
Maybe someone got jealous and thought I was making too much money. Or maybe I was careless with my advertising. Or maybe it was just my damn luck but today I got an email from trading standards. My polishes do not meet EU standards and regulations and I must stop RIGHT AWAY! My base is tested and passes EU regulations and so does my glitter but when mixed together they need to be re-tested in a lab, something that I will never be able to afford.
That is the magic of an INDIE brand, it's not tested, you have to trust the maker to make a safe handmade product. Like I said I'm not the biggest brand or stockist of indie polishes in the UK let alone the EU but I was targeted. So today I had to close my store, I have been crying all day. I don't have a penny to my name now and 40 bottles of worthless polish and £100's of pounds of polish supplies.
If I was in the USA right now with the other 2,000 or whoever/whatever makers I would be telling you a happy tale. But here in the UK you can't use your initiative and you have to stifle creativity. Sod Alan Sugar and his entrepreneurial mindset because that isn't allowed.
I have had some wonderful messages so thank you all, I'll probably remove this post tomorrow, but I feel robbed and wronged right now and I just can't stop crying.
EDIT: It is now the next day and I have decided not to take this post down. I was angry last night and needed to vent. Today I just feel sad and drained. Thank you all so much for your support ,messages and comments, if I haven't replied it is just due to the sheer amount of you that that took the time to contact me. It is heartwarming to know that my little indie line was loved and supported by so many. I know it is only polish and I shouldn't be so upset in the grand scheme but it is knowing there are much bigger stockists and makers out there than I and they can keep going. Not being able to do something you love makes you feel empty. I guess it feels a little unjust- although I do not wish this on anyone else.
People have commented saying it was strange that such a small enterprise was caught, and I agree it feels very odd. This leads me to a very sad conclusions, I am more than certain someone out there reported Quirk directly, for whatever reason as that is the only way that makes sense to me. I know the nail polish world can be full of drama, but this is in a new low in my opinion. This saddens me. Maybe one day you will have the guts to message me/ email me/ write a comment on blog and tell me why. Or maybe I am just being paranoid. I don't know.