1. Dear Nina, I am very pleased to be able to introduce you and OZN as part of our Female Founder Community. Please tell us a little about yourself and your company.

After graduating from high school, I studied graphic design and then worked independently from my home office. When I was in my mid-20s, I began my training as a naturopath for psychotherapy. My practice and my graphics jobs went parallel for a while until my daughter was born and I couldn't work with clients as much anymore. The organization was simply too complicated.

At that time I founded my first beauty brand with a friend - we were the first in Germany to bring nail foils onto the market. But the company dissolved after a few years due to personal differences and I had enough of the beauty business! Until my business partner David came around the corner and convinced me otherwise. I thought it was great to be able to sit directly at the production source and quickly implement new ideas.

I was looking for a name for my brand that was short, concise and edgy and also striking and eye-catching as a logo. OZN was simply perfect for the eye in the letter combination, the distances are all completely averaged and harmonious. OZN itself actually has no deeper meaning, it is the abbreviation for Obiecte Zburatoare Neidentificate, which means unknown flying object in Romanian. Somehow it's fitting that when you start your own company it's always a bit of a flight into the unknown.
2. What makes OZN nail polishes vegan / sustainable / plant-based and what does 22-free mean in this context?

We do not use any substances or color pigments of animal origin for our vegan nail polishes. Carmine, a red pigment obtained by squeezing Nepal scale insects, is often used in cosmetics. This animal dye is not only used in classic red, but also in pink, violet, brown and many other shades. In addition to carmine, there are also pigments such as guanine, which is often used for Schiller effects and is made from fish scales. But care varnishes can also contain animal ingredients such as beeswax or keratin. Keratin is obtained from hair, horns or hooves.

In addition, the paints are all plant-based, meaning 90% of the ingredients used are obtained from sustainably grown, plant-based raw materials such as wood, potatoes, beetroot, spelt, sugar cane, cassava or corn.

22 free+ means that we do not use more than 22 harmful ingredients that are often used in conventional paints. We have a list on our website where we detail which substances they are, what they can do and what we use instead.

3. What common nail polish myths can you dispel?

Oh there are some! It starts with storage, nail polish doesn't belong in the fridge, that makes it tough! Please always store upright in a dark place at room temperature and, if possible, do not expose it to strong temperature fluctuations.

It's also wrong and rather a hindrance to blow on your nails so that the polish dries faster; the moisture in your breath means that it actually takes longer to dry. The “trick” with ice cube water into which you are supposed to dip your nails doesn’t work either. The solvent contained in the nail polish has to evaporate and this simply takes a different amount of time depending on the polish. The more time you take here, the longer the result will last.

The belief that nail polish destroys the nails is also not entirely true. Many modern nail polishes now even contain care ingredients, such as OZN's polishes. We have added vitamins A, C, E and Pro B5, which nourish and strengthen the nail and maintain its natural flexibility and strength. Aggressive nail polish removers are really bad for the nails, so please switch to gentle cleaners that immediately provide the nails with moisture and oils.

4. You are not only the founder of OZN, but also a psychotherapist and offer therapy appointments via Skype, among other things. How do you combine your two professional activities?

In addition to OZN, I work with great passion as a therapist with a focus on family therapy. I love these two sides, the beautiful beauty world with Instagram and high aesthetic standards, where I can let my creativity run wild and let off steam, and the completely different world of therapeutic work with people and their concerns. In fact, combining the two activities is not that difficult. I work on my emails in the morning and then have a few clients throughout the day. Appointments are canceled very often, even at short notice, which doesn't frustrate me at all, I can then just do something for OZN in the meantime. I also think we all know from work that some things seem to take forever, you have to wait weeks for someone to respond, or processes are constantly delayed. For self-employed people, this is sometimes hard to bear because you are also totally financially dependent. Since I have a second source of income, it doesn't stress me out that much and we can just sit it out on some things.

5. Build a team: freelancers vs. permanent employees, new work, remote & Co. - today there are many different working models. How did you set up OZN and what tips do you have for team building?

The hard core of OZN is just David and me. However, David and his company have the entire infrastructure for production and shipping behind them; it all happens in-house in Bielefeld. Since I live in Berlin and he doesn't, we don't have an everyday office routine, there is a weekly meeting where we discuss the to-dos and then everyone goes about their tasks. Our distribution takes care of the sales and we do everything else with freelancers. I don't think it's possible to say in general terms whether it's better to have a permanent team of employees or to do everything externally. We have had good experiences with things like: to put sales in the hands of professionals who have a team of sales representatives who have all been doing this for 10 years and are super close with their dealers and regularly pay personal visits to the stationary trade. We could never do this in-house at this level.

6. How important is press work for you as a lifestyle brand in terms of sales and brand awareness?

Classic PR is no longer a modern tool for generating sales. When I started my first brand, Instagram didn't even exist yet and the print press was extremely important. If we were at GALA with a product on Thursday, it was sold out over the weekend. That has completely changed. Many brands only use the mention in the print media to get a new loan from the bank with their press kit. Some old-school retailers also still value the fact that a new brand they are adding appears often in the press. From my point of view, it has now become much more important that the brand takes place somehow, that you appear as a founder, do home stories, interviews, events.

You can also do the PR work yourself, contact the editorial teams, speak personally to the responsible editors, create a distribution list for news. There are portals like Beautypress where you can upload free plates and press releases and the magazines will then specifically look for theirs there Information and your images together.

7. Last but not least: Which nail polish color is trending this fall?

Color trends are always a thing; in both fashion and beauty, certain colors are hyped every year and others are declared out. A few years ago it was still very clear, we remember the famous taupe polish from OPI or Chanel, but today there are several trends that run side by side less clearly.

The colors of the year from Pantone always provide a good orientation. We would have a lovely shade of lilac this year. Also on trend in 2022: green, especially the significant bright green a la Bottega Veneta. Dark brown nails are also very popular this year and now in autumn of course the classics dark red or brown.

But the bottom line is: whatever you like is allowed and just like in fashion, you should only choose colors that you really like and that you ultimately want to wear regularly. https://www.ozn-vegan.de/Nagellack-Trendfarben-2022-ozn



If you would like to find out more about Nina and OZN_vegan, please take a look here:

To the website: ozn-vegan.de
To Instagram: @ozn_vegan