All Articles Tagged "Theresa Williamson"
While most college students scrape for pizza money just to enjoy a decent meal, Theresa Williamson found a more creative way to make ends meet. As a freshman on the campus of North Carolina A&T, her Secret Santa presented her with a gift that would keep on giving.
“Our Secret Santa gift limit was $20,” Williamson recalls. “I told my friend, if you get my name I want a nail kit,” and she got one. Such an inexpensive gift planted a seed of creativity in Williamson and years later blossomed into a successful career in fashion, beauty and her latest venture, Polish and Company.
The winter semester in 1990 found Theresa rushing from class to the dorms offering students nail services for a fraction of the cost. After a few months of applying full-sets of acrylic nails on friends, Williamson quickly gained a name for herself as the resident nail lady. Business was booming. That same year, when Spring rolled around, A&T students were gearing up for the Aggie Festival, and talk of Williamson’s work spread fast. Her services were in high demand.
“During Aggie Fest I offered full sets for $10,” recalls Williamson. ”I was able to get all of my clients by word of mouth. The students would see someone’s hands and my friends would say, ‘oh she’s doing nails and only charging $10′. That weekend I made $1,300 doing nails.”
In 1994, Williamson became a first generation college student, earning a bachelor’s degree in fashion and design. She immediately enrolled in cosmetology school during the Fall of that same year. After racking up the required hours to practice cosmetology, she made the decision to make a career out of doing what she loved. In 2001, with a built-in clientele from her days at North Carolina A&T, she began working as a nail technician at Spectrum Salon in Greensboro, NC. Business was consistent – so much so that she was able to purchase a brand new green convertible BMW 325. That’s when she realized her dreams were bigger than the tiny booth she manicured nails in.
“No one knew I’d bought the car, and when the salon owner saw that I’d bought a new car, he went up on my booth rent,” she says laughing. “So there was a little house across the street from the salon that was vacant, I checked on it and I moved in 60-days later.”
May of 2003 marked the grand opening of Hints, Williamson’s high-end boutique with a beauty and nail salon attached. “One room was for nails and one room was for the boutique,” she says. Hints continued to grow forcing her to relocate the boutique to a bigger location in downtown Greensboro. Nine years later all three legs of Williamson’s businesses proved to be successful.
Riding on the wave of success, Williamson realized she could service her clients better if only she had a better quality product. Williamson says she felt that most polishes weren’t durable on natural nails and were full of toxins, so she invested her own money and began working with a group of chemists to create a polish that was safe, environmentally friendly and free of toxins. In November 2011 she launched Polish & Company, a line of $12 per bottle nail polishes, which she says were inspired by her love for fashion and beauty. She works as the creative mind behind the branding and creation of the fun contemporary colors.
“I just know polish from doing nails for 22 years,” says Williamson, who still does nails full-time. “Most of my customers have been with me since I was 24. I wanted to do something fun, so I said, why not (polishes).”
Now, forty-years-old, Williamson is thrust into a no-so-word-of-mouth world of building business. She has taken to Twitter to promote Polish & co., and although she says that social media is “not her era”, the new media platform appeals to the format of the unisex nail line. Her vision is to see both men and women of this generation rocking Polish & co., namely Chris Brown.
“If I could create a color for Chris Brown, I would name it “Cutie Pie”, because I think he’s the cutest ‘lil thang,” she laughs. “It would be something on the wild side, something between a fuchsia and an orange.”
As for the future of the fast drying, exquisite, matte colors, which finish with a top quality shine, “I would like to branch out and do mass production. I see my products in Target, or a local drug store, but I would like to keep Polish & Co. as the higher end brand,” Williamson shares.
“It’s funny because women who visit my clothing store will be like, ‘I can’t wear these jeans. These jeans are too tight’. So you think blue, denim, a bold color,” Theresa says, speaking of the inspiration for the polish named “Jeans Too Tight”. A bright yellow is labeled “Caution!” and “Text or Email” goes on as a smooth sherbet. If you want to rock minty green, tell your manicurist to polish you up with “Cash Only”.