I have been trying to write this post ever since we got home but it has been difficult for me to translate what I’m actually feeling into a blog post. I’m going to break this post up from the beginning of my journey all the way until the NYC trip in order to give you all a bit of background on myself and on what the essie club collab trip to NYC entailed.
I was recently asked in an interview why I started doing nails and how my Instagram formed. I replied with that I didn’t exactly know why I started doing nails but I have always loved polish, and that when I was younger I had this one yellow China Glaze polish that was ALWAYS on my nails and it was kind of just my staple color. I actually remember begging my mom to take me to the nail salon around the age of ten and eventually she took me and since then we have never stopped. This was what came to mind immediately once asked the question but once I got home that night I thought more and more about what the catalyst for my nail obsession was and what really did trigger my love for nails. Thats when it finally clicked. I had a neighbor growing up (from ages 2-10) that lived across the street and had no children. She would often take me out for ‘girls days’ where we would go shopping, out to eat, and get our nails done. This was something that I had completely forgotten about until I sat down and really thought about my nail journey. I guess I owe a big thanks to her for starting my obsession and for bringing me around polish at such a young age. I wonder if it wasn’t for her if nails would have turned into such a big passion for me?
Fast forward to August of 2014, at this point I was about to be a junior in college and one Summer day I decided to start my Instagram. This was something that was very nerve wracking for me as I was nervous to put myself out there in fear that no one would like my content. I actually didn’t tell a lot of people about my page for quite some time because I was nervous about the responses that I would get. When I first started ‘essiebuff’ I did not think that my page would have grown into what it is today and that I would now have Blog, Twitter, and Snapchat components as well. This August will mark my third year since I’ve founded ‘essiebuff’ and to say it has been the best year yet is an understatement!
June 17, 2016
About a year and a half ago I was contacted by Hannah (hjs_nails) and Crystal (lovefreshpaint) about a group that they were starting. This groups sole purpose was to post about our love for essie polish and to be able to do so in a group format with different prompts for each post. I immediately was interested and so were thirteen other girls from all over the world, the group was then formed and we became known as the essie club collab. When I say we are a group of girls from all over the world I am not exaggerating! We have three members from Canada, three members from California, one New Yorker, a Minnesotan, a Pennsylvanian, a member from Utah, a member from the Netherlands, one from Norway, and another from the UK, and me born and raised in Vermont but living in North Carolina! Without this group and our love for nail polish we would most likely have never started talking or forming bonds the way that we have. The group initially started as a way for us to talk/post about polish but turned into so much more when we started to talk about our personal lives and became ‘internet friends’ as one might say. We talked daily in Instagram messenger and posted once sometimes twice a month about nails, while always dreaming that we would get to meet but knowing that it was a stretch seeing as we were spread out all over the world!
February 28, 2017
On February 28 of this year I was at work and glanced down at my phone and saw that I had a lot of emails and messages and wondered what was going on. I immediately opened up my Instagram messages and saw that Laurie of gopolished had told us all that we had to check our emails immediately as there was some big news inside. Upon checking I saw that I had received an email from Anna the Manager of Brand Communications for essie. Read the email below ↓↓↓
At this moment I started squealing and was beside myself while all of the other employees were looking at me confused and wondering what had happened. I explained that one of my biggest dreams had come true and I was on an emotional high for the rest of the night dreaming of the trip and what it would entail! All of us girls immediately began messaging and talking back and forth discussing flight details, what we would be doing once we were there, and how amazing it would be to finally meet in person after all of this time! To say that our dreams were about to become a reality is an understatement, as Laurie from gopolished had recently dreamed that we would all be brought to NYC to meet in person (psychic much)? This important day was the start of so many amazing things to come!
April 12, 2017
Fast forward to April 12th and I was sitting on a plane about to land in NYC to meet ten girls that I had been conversing with for quite some time but had never seen or talked to in person. To say I was nervous is the biggest understatement of this century. I was a ball of nerves and didn’t know what to expect once we were all in the same room or how it would be to interact in person. We started to meet one by one as we all landed at different times and arrived to the Grand Hyatt at different times throughout the day. Each time I got to meet one of the girls that day was the best feeling! We were all so emotional and getting to actually see the face behind the name was a sentimental experience to say the least. Lots of tears were shed and lots of squeals were heard throughout the Grand Hyatt that night!
Once we were all together we gathered downstairs at the Wine Bar of the Grand Hyatt to meet the essie girl squad! They had set up cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for us and had a camera crew there to record all of us being together! It was surreal to get to meet some of the names that had helped to bring us all together! Taryn from MissLadyFinger was there and meeting her was a dream come true! We had been talking since my Freshman year of college (2012) and I had always wanted to meet her in person! We also got to meet Anna who was the ring leader in putting this entire thing together as well as the GM of essie worldwide, Carolyn Holba, and many others! I was pretty much star struck at this moment and with all of the emotions running on high it was an amazing first night! (Photo below is us with the L’oreal GM)
April 13, 2017
We all woke up bright and early and shuffled onto the bus to go to our first destination! We were going to the essie labs in New Jersey and there were some very exciting things in store for us! We also got to meet Julie Kandalec one of essie polishes celebrity manicurists and she got to come along with us to the labs to join in on the fun! Below is a photo of the outside of the building!
When we arrived they had lab coats laid out on the table for us with all of our handles sewn into them! It was amazing to even be at the labs but to have our own lab coats was the cherry on top!
Could life really get any better…well little did I know it was about to. We got to meet another group of people that help to create the essie polish we know and love and hear background on how the essie brand started and about what it takes to make a polish! It was amazing to get to hear some of the behind the scenes information and get to meet some of the chemists that actually make the polish we all have come to love!
We then headed downstairs to the labs and we all got to create our very own polishes! I created a pale yellow with a subtle shimmer named ‘essiebuff’ and a pale seafoam green that I named ‘Shore Thing’. I am a big pastel lover and these are two colors that I have always wanted in my collection but I didn’t have! Getting to make a polish is a lot harder than it looks but it was an amazing experience and one I will truly never forget. Below is a photo of me holding up my two signature polishes at the labs!
Here are both of the polishes that I made ‘essiebuff’ is a pastel yellow with micro shimmer and ‘Shore Thing’, a pale sea-foam green.
I ended up swatching both the polishes and have photos below. “essiebuff’ took three coats and the micro-shimmer is a lot more noticeable in person than in the photos. ‘Shore Thing’ took two coats and has a perfect formula and consistency! Overall i’m really happy with how they both turned out and I hope you love them too!
After this we packed up and headed over to the L’oreal offices at Hudson Yards. Their new office building is drop.dead.gorgeous and their views are seriously breathtaking. This is a photo I took from the 33rd floor of the L’oreal headquarters!
When we arrived we got to hear about some of the upcoming collections that essie is coming out with as well as new ideas that they have! They also had a focus group where we got to sit down and talk about things that we would like to see the brand coming out with as well as things that we liked or things that we thought could be tweaked! It was amazing to see that they really wanted to hear our opinions as consumers and cared about what we thought about the brand itself.
We then ended the day dining at Fonda, a Mexican restaurant in Chelsea. They had these cute little menus laid out for us when we sat down and they even had our very own signature margarita!
April 14, 2017
We started the morning off with a rooftop photo shoot on the top of the Grand Hyatt! Honestly what an experience it was to be up on the tippity top of the hotel overseeing the city! We were right next to the Chrysler building and we got some amazing group photos! Below is a photo of us up on the roof!
We then headed over to our content shoot at a penthouse in Manhattan. It was a huge all white room that had our amazing photographer Jonathan Pozniak set up right in the middle as well Ada Yeung there to clean and prep all of our nails so that they were photo shoot ready! They had props set up for us to use as well as hundreds of bottles of essie polish for us to pick from! Below is a photo of the setup! You can also see in this photo the gorg filter that MissLadyFinger (Taryn) set up for us that was at each spot we went to on our trip!
We were each assigned a different collection and we could pick whether or not we wanted to do nail art for our photos! There was a huge table set up in the space where we all got to work on our nail looks and hang out for the day. Unfortunately I can’t show you my nail look quite yet, however you will be seeing it soon enough so stay tuned! Getting to be together while painting our nails was such a fun experience and we had a great day doing what we do best, nails! Below is a photo of me sitting at the table creating my nail look! I have blurred out the polishes I was using as I cannot share them with you all quite yet!
We were told that morning that there would be a few surprise guests that day but trust me we had no idea what was in store! I had hoped that we would be meeting Rebecca Minkoff from the start of the trip but when she walked in during our photo shoot I was in shock! I started to cry because I was so star struck and couldn’t believe that she was actually there in the room! We got to talk and ask her questions as well as show her some of the looks we had been working on and of course do some boomerangs! She was honestly the nicest person and she even sent us over to her store that night for a special visit! Below is a picture of me fan girling hard with Rebecca!
We also got to meet Molly Nover-Baker from Makeup.com! She was kind enough to come interview all of us girls for an article that she wrote on the #essieclubcollab. I have linked the article here so that you can click on it and learn a bit more about the group as a whole! Makeup.com
After this we headed off to Rebecca’s store in the heart of SoHo!
She was nice enough to have a champagne toast waiting for us upon our arrival! She gave us all a generous discount and those of us who purchased bags got a small ‘ecc’ monogram on the inside to help remember the experience. Below is my bag with Kindra (essie_envy)’s bag! Photo is from the essiepolish snapchat.
After this we drove over to our finale dinner at the Mercer Kitchen on Prince Street in SoHo. When we arrived there were these adorable menus laid out with our place settings. Honestly could the essie squad be any cuter at planning an event? They really went above and beyond and did so many extra touches to make this an unforgettable experience. From gift bags upon our arrival to using our favorite essie polish as a way to find our seat, they really pulled out all of the stops and thought of every last detail!
We enjoyed our last meal together with the #ecc and with Taryn and Anna who were there with us every step of the way. It was an emotional dinner as we knew that shortly after this we would be having to start saying our goodbyes. We all thanked Anna and Taryn and had literally the longest goodbye session ever as no one wanted to be the first person on the bus! It was sad to leave but I know we will be seeing one another in the future!
Once us girls got back to the hotel we decided to go out and hit Times Square as one final hoorah! It was my first time so I was in awe of all of the people, lights, and the overwhelming feeling of being in the heart of the city. Below are a few photos of us out on the town!
Sadly this post is now coming to an end. I know that this was a long one but I wanted a place to record my journey so I could save it as a memory and look back at it for years to come! I hope that those who read up until this point enjoyed hearing the details of the trip! To say that I had the time of my life while in the city just wouldn’t even be saying enough. There are no words that I can use to describe how thankful I am for this amazing journey and to all of the girls at essie and L’oreal who helped to make this trip possible. To my girls of the essie club collab meeting you was truly a dream come true and I am thankful everyday for the experience and the time that we had together. To continue to follow along on our journey head over to our Instagram @essieclubcollab.
**One last final note is that essie paid for everything on this trip except for airfare, which we covered ourselves. Everything I have written in this post is truthful and is my own opinion that was not swayed in any way, shape, or form. #essiepartner