Pictured, above, Adrienne Blanks, owner of Get Your Nails D.I.D.
When Adrienne Blanks was let go from her position at a New York-based publishing company in 2007 during a downturn in the publishing industry, she began looking for something that would give her a creative outlet and more freedom.
A media studies graduate from the University of Texas in Austin, Blanks originally had her sights set on becoming a video journalist for MTV. After being laid off from her publishing job, she began trying to figure out what she would do next and started doing her friends’ nails for fun.
Her knack for creative nail designs caught on and soon her friends began purchasing polishes and asking her to apply her designs. One of her friends suggested she go to nail school. “And when I’m done, I am going to launch a website called ‘Get Your Nails D.I.D.’, and we all started laughing,” Blanks said of her response.
Blanks moved back to Houston and soon returned to New York to attend beauty school and took lessons to become a licensed nail technician.
“I would work during their shows and got exposed to another world,” said Blanks.
The talented nail artist began receiving calls from photographers requesting her services for magazine photo shoots. The exposure resulted in her designs being featured on the cover of a Houston-area magazine.
She soon accepted an invitation to provide her nail services at a friend’s event, called The Ultimate Trunk Show and before long had customers lining up at her booth. During the shows, she was repeatedly asked if “the clearly labeled name-brand polishes” were her own brand, she remembered her earlier conversation with her friend and decided to look into developing her own nail products.
In 2012, Blanks turned a urban phrase, “Get Your Nails Did,” into her own brand of nail products and designs.
Motivated to give new meaning to the phrase and turn it into a positive, Blanks transformed the “DID” of her company’s name into an acronym that stands for “Designs in Divinity.”
“It is an inarticulate phrase that has turned into something positive. I call it “A Higher Calling for Fingertips and Toes,” explains Blanks.
“It is not polish but nail paints. I want girls that are wearing it to know that they have a higher purpose than just walking around and being cute. Go inspire someone else, be a good example for other people, and get out and do something to make people excited and empowered,” said Blanks.
Blanks is proud to add that her nail paints are made and manufactured in the U.S.
Since launching her brand, her colorful nail paints and designs have caught the attention of several fashion bloggers and writers, namely Beauty High.com which named the emerging brand as one of the sites Favorite New Shades of the Spring in 2012. Blanks’ nail paints shared top ranking with several notable and nationally-recognized brands, including Ciate’, Esse, Max Nail lacquers and OPI.
Rounding out a successful year, Blanks entered her products in the Scion Business Plan Competition after seeing a commercial on TV. “I hardly watch TV, mostly Netflix or recorded TV, and I saw a commercial calling for creative entrepreneurs to submit their business plan,” said Blanks.
She initially dismissed it, but when the commercial came on a second time decided to submit her entry.
Several months later she was chosen as one of 50 entrepreneurs to receive an all-expense paid trip and luxury hotel stay in Santa Monica, Ca. for the final round of competition. After several workshops and networking with successful entrepreneurs and fellow contestants, Blanks walked away with a runner up prize – a small grant for her business.
Since then, Blanks has entered her business into other competitions and encourages others to do the same. She advanced to the second round of Walmart’s ‘Get On The Shelf ’ contest and also was selected to compete in Martha Stewart’s ‘American Made’ contest.
A graduate student at NYU, Blanks is not only handling the demands of running her own business but also pursuing a master’s degree in business education.
“I would love to be a school professor somewhere or teaching people how to best sell and market their products. The great thing about business is that I get the chance to make all of the mistakes so that everyone else doesn’t have to,” said Blanks.
The enterprising business owner sells her nail products mainly online and at trunk shows, but hopes to one day open a retail location for her business.
“In five years, I would love to have a retail store that sells my product, have an office space, a staff and a really nice interactive website and an iPhone app affiliated with my nail polish brand. It also would be lovely to see my brand expand from nail polish into a full cosmetic line,” said Blanks.
The 30-year-old entrepreneur calls Madame C.J. Walker an inspiration, along with her father, Andrew Blanks, an artist and former middle school art instructor.
“The funny thing is my dad is a retired art teacher from Johnston Middle School who was over the art program there. I have always had this creative bug in my blood. My dad would give me art lessons at home. Although I didn’t pursue it as a big huge career goal, I consider myself an artist in other ways – I love having entrepreneurial projects,” said Blanks.
As she looks back on a journey that has just begun, she finds it amazing that she has come full circle from her early days as a second grader making and selling friendship bracelets to friends.
“I knew ultimately at some point I was going to have my own business, I just didn’t know exactly what. And I really like that it has come full circle back to paint, back to colors, back to creativity. It reminds me of growing up and all of the art that my dad and I used to do together,” said Blanks.
“So now what I appreciate about having my own business is that I can bring all of the things that I enjoy – the writing, talking, painting, nail polish and creativity – I can bring it all into one place and do all of it at the same time. It is very cool,” said Blanks.
For more information, visit http://getyournailsdid.com or visit her at Facebook.com/getyournailsdid, Instagram.com/getyournailsdid and Twitter.com/getyournailsdid. You can also call 646-926-NAIL (6245).