A Few Shades of Summer

It’s like a secret stash buried in a field– a treasure in Columbus that you only find by bumping into it at a Clintonville shop or unearthing a bottle in your best friend’s medicine cabinet.

“I have a decent cult following, it makes me laugh.”

That’s Lisa Lamantia.  Urban planner, mom, and non-toxic nail polish designer.  She ships her polish, Willow & Wren, all over the country from San Diego to Maine, and also finds a home for it in a scant few retail shops in Central Ohio.

“It’s not anything I anticipated doing,” Lamantia shared as we talked recently.

 

Nails3

She started thinking about creating the line in 2011.  At the time, Lamantia had a daughter in pre-school who loved to get her fingernails painted.  But her little girl was also a thumb-sucker.  So, this Central Ohio mom started thinking about how we talk about food all the time and where it comes from, but the conversation on beauty products really hasn’t taken as much of a hold.  She started looking around for a line she could use that was non-toxic, but she tells me there wasn’t a lot out there at the time.  What she did find was expensive and the quality wasn’t great, they were water-based and the polish chipped off a couple hours after you put it on your nails.

 

Nails4

In 2012 she started working in partnership with a company in Florida that helps people create their own nail polish. The company is called Diamond Cosmetics.  Lamantia loves willow trees, birds, and alliteration.  That’s how she came up with the name Willow & Wren.  The company formulates it for her and Lamantia says it is through their work together they ensure that it doesn’t have chemicals and compounds in it that some studies have linked to cancer and other diseases.

You can check out what’s in your current polish by going to this database right here.  It’s done through the Environmental Working Group.

Lamantia has been able to keep the polish affordable and have fun with it too.  Bottles are 8 bucks apiece on her retail site.  And she’s happy to report it has staying power.

“The one comment I get a lot,” she says laughing, “is that it lasts a long time”

 

Nails1

Lamantia’s created pale pinks like “Fizzy Pop” that take you back to a time where your rode your bike to a soda fountain down the street to sip on a straw coming out of frosty cup at the counter. You’ll also find startling purples like Pike’s Peak that make you want to climb a mountain 1500 miles away to take a look at the sky as the sun goes down over Colorado.  Her favorite look:  Sticks & Stones layered with All That Glitters.  It’s a blood red color with an overlay of large metallic pieces that gives it what Lamantia calls a “shattered look.”

 

Nails2

I asked her what she things about gel polish, since that’s all the craze at the salons these days.  Personally, she shares, she’s not a fan.  She tells me she doesn’t like the thought of sitting and soaking off polish from a chemical standpoint, so it’s not for her.  Plus, she likes to change up her polish.  A two week commitment is too long for her!

Where does this go next?  Lamantia says she has no big plans, but she would like to see it in local nail salons.

“I’ve had amazing support.  Columbus really supports small business.”

For her, it’s been a fun outlet in the midst of having a family and a busy career.  She’s carved out the time for herself and it feels good to make the time.  She says we all can do it– it’s just a matter of prioritizing.

Her website calls the product– “free of bad, full of awesome.”

I think that’s about right-on for a woman who is handling it all and enjoying herself at the same time.