BY ANN BROWN
According to 2016 stats, the nail industry grew to a record $7.47 billion; this include products and salons. All the more reason it was a prime time for D.C.-based Kitiya Mischo King to relaunch her very own nail polish line, Mischo Luxury Nail Lacquer. “We are currently working on a relaunch, scheduled for May 2017,” says King.
While pregnant with her son in 2011, King was looking for a non-toxic nail polish. “When I was pregnant with my son, I was really careful with what I was putting both in and on my body, and actually didn’t polish my nails for the first six months of my pregnancy because of all the harmful toxins found in nail polish,” says King, who prior to starting her own business held a job in corporate America.
King went ahead with her business idea. “It took me about a year to launch because I tried the nail lacquer formulas over and over, and wanted to make sure it was void of the five harmful toxins found in nail polish,” she says. “I have a degree in Chemistry and I’m a licensed cosmetologist, esthetician, manicurist and makeup artist. I’ve always wanted to combine my love of science with my passion for beauty.” By November 2013, King was ready to launch her nail polish brand.
Mischo Beauty’s formulation is 8 FREE, so it contains none of the following toxins: Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Toluene, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, and parabens. “I eventually started using polishes that were 5 FREE, but found that the formula didn’t go on smoothly or they just weren’t durable. After giving birth to my son, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and combine my science and beauty backgrounds to create an 8 FREE (free of 8 harmful chemicals which should never touch your nails) nail polish that was durable, chip resistant and delivered high-shine,” explains King. (5 FREE, means the product does not contain toxins linked to cancer, birth defects and reproductive issues. These five toxins are formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, toluene, and DBP.)
“We are committed to developing healthy and safe beauty products, and educating our customers–first and foremost! Our customers know that luxury beauty products do exist, that are both safe for them and the environment,” says King. “We are also committed to inspiring our customers to live their best lives. So not only does this apply when encouraging them to make educated decisions when it comes to your hair, skin, and nails–but it also applies to life in general. Our hope is that our brand encourages, inspires, and promotes action.”
Mischo Beauty has some best sellers. “Our customers absolutely love “Fait Accompli,” which was hand-selected by Tory Burch for inclusion in her Tory Burch Foundation Seed Box. All proceeds from the box benefit the Tory Burch Foundation in its mission to support and empower women business owners,” says King. “We have a hard time keeping “#NYFW” stocked! It’s our beauty editor favorite and was voted “Favorite Fall Nail Color” by the 2015 AOL Fall Beauty Awards. Our classic ‘Good Kisser’ is highly requested year-round and our customers tell us that it is their absolute favorite red.”
King adds, “And last, but certainly not least–near and dear to our hearts is the donation of proceeds from our ‘Lacquer of Love’ shade. The proceeds benefit organizations which are in service to and whose mission is to empower women and girls.”
King faced similar challenges of other small business owners. “Starting a new company has been very challenging, and I have faced many! For example, obtaining the funding you need can be very hard, but it can be done. Finding the talent needed to make your vision come to life can be exhausting–but you can’t give up! Working with manufacturers to ensure your product is the very best it can be is never ending–but you must constantly stay on top of it. Customer service is key,” she says.
King’s years of being in business for herself has taught her a few lessons. “The advice I share most often with aspiring entrepreneurs is to take action and stay focused, and hang on tight for the roller coaster ride to come. It’s important to keep pushing through [both] the good and challenging times,” she says.