PHOTOGRAPHY by Lianna Tarantin

Rad Nails

Next up in our Meet the Makers series, the rad duo that is helping to redefine the 'Man-icure'
Posted in Meet the Makers | Posted on by lianna | COMMENT

Rad Nails
Founded 2012
Founders: Chrissy Mahlmeister and Josh Covarrubias
“The go-to spot for all things nail art.”

How did you get started in this field?

We’re one part fashion editor and one part graphic/product designer, so it was really just a matter of time until we found a way to share Chrissy’s nail art obsession with the world. After building a close personal nail art following on Facebook and Twitter, it was clear there was a lot of potential for it to become more than a hobby.

Where do you find the inspiration for your work?

We find inspiration in everything, and we mean ev-ery-thing. Whether it’s a look straight from the NYFW runway to hilarious internet memes to iconic ’90s childhood memorabilia; there’s nothing that doesn’t inspire us. That’s the most amazing part about nail art–nothing is off limits because literally anything can be transformed into a killer design.

Tell us about your design process.

Since we both come from a fashion/beauty and design background, the ideas always start when we’re just hanging out together enjoying each other’s company. Just a thought as simple as, “I want Ryan Gosling on my nails,” turns into a full-fledged design sesh crowded around a computer pitching ideas back and forth. We’ll keep doing rounds and testing out the nails until it’s absolutely perfect, and then we send them off to the printer to get samples.

How has your design process changed since your started?

Well, we’re only a month into officially launching Rad Nails, so not much has changed just yet! Since the two of us have been dating so long (5+ years), we are pretty in-tune with what the other person is going to like and vice versa. We are constantly trying to impress one another but not compete with each other. It’s supposed to be fun!

What is your favorite material to work with?

We started off our Rad Nails line with straight-up adhesive vinyl nail wraps, but since then we’ve expanded to clear, metallic and neon (which are coming soon!). So far our favorite is probably the clear because you can put any polish underneath the design and completely change the feel of the nail art. Also, no one makes clear nail wraps at the moment, so it still feels really fresh and new to us.

How does your personal style influence your brand/ company/ products, etc?

We both definitely live our brand! We’d never make something we wouldn’t wear ourselves, and that speaks volumes. Chrissy’s personal style is definitely edgy streetwear (spiked sneaker wedges and snapback hats) with a definite vintage, feminine flair (bodycon dresses and floral print blouses) and a touch of humor (a “Sweat Moustache” nameplate necklace), which is totally the Rad Nails brand. It’s all about ladies not being shy to be bold risk takers–whether it’s through their nails, personal style, or attitude.

Where do you imagine you’ll take the company next?

Of course we’ll be extending the product line to include even more fun Rad Nails items, but our larger goal is to become one of the biggest names in the nail art scene. We not only want to make physical products, but we also want to create a livable, breathable lifestyle and attitude around the Rad Nails brand.

Who would be a dream collaborator?

Our dream collab would be with the ladies of L’Trimm circa ’89! They have the most badass style and attitude, which is a perfect fit for the Rad Nails aesthetic. Today, we’d probably pick out some of our fashion-y faves like Jeremy Scott, Lazy Oaf or Mary Katrantzou, just to name a few. Oh, and if Gak (as in, the green slime) could somehow do a collab, we’d be into that too.

What colors are you drawn to right now?

Our first collection was all about bold and bright statement colors that are hard to miss. These colors are a big part of the Rad Nails DNA, but as we design our future collections, we’re also drawn to more subtle patterns that transition easily from play to work without losing their edge or playfulness.

What’s one tip you would give to people getting into this business?

Instead of “ready, aim, fire,” think “fire, aim, ready.” Waiting for everything to be perfect before launching your idea is never going to happen (we’d still be working on launching now!). These days it’s more acceptable to do your thing and adapt as you go, so take advantage of that and use the internet as your launching pad.

Who do you see as an innovator or who do you look up to in this field/ industry?

Sharmadean Reid from WAH Nails in London is a GOD. She’s a businesswoman and creative genius that was ballsy enough to start her own out-there nail art salon when no one was doing it. She’s smart, funny, has impeccable taste and style, and considering all that she’s accomplished, she’s still under 30.


Stay tuned for a Rad Nails giveaway later on today!

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