Memo Exclusive: An Interview with Jeff Pink, Founder and President of Orly
Founder of Orly, Jeff Pink (right) with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Orly is Hebrew for “my light” and is Pink’s wife’s first name.
Jeff Pink, founder and president of Orly, creators of professional nail color and treatments, celebrated 40 years of business success in 2015. He attributes his longevity to a true passion for his work. “I’m very lucky because every day that I walk into this office, I feel like it’s my first day,” Pink says. “This business excites me, and I love working with my team. It’s a family- owned business that is a family.”
Every product Orly sells is manufactured in their state-of-the-art, fully automated production facility in Los Angeles, CA. “If we see a trend emerging, we are very nimble and able to move quickly and if we create the trend, we are able to act quickly.”
MS: Please talk about how you started in the beauty industry.
JP: My career in the beauty business started with me working for my mentor and dear friend, Jack Sperling. I made an arrangement to work for Jack and I paid him to learn the business. At first I wasn’t sure, and told my wife, “It’s not for me.” But Jack insisted I give it at least 90 days. And, after 90 days, I started to like it. In 1975, I opened Jeff Pink Beauty Supply. We sold beauty products not only to beauty professionals, but to Hollywood studios.
MS: What are some of your career highlights?
JP: Without doubt, the French Manicure. The idea of the French manicure look came to me while I was starting Orly back in 1975. Movie and television directors wanted a versatile nail style to compliment a Hollywood star’s entire onset wardrobe. They were looking for a singular look that would coordinate with the numerous changes actresses had to make in one day. Prior to the French Manicure, the manicurists were often changing the polish several times a day to match their different costumes or outfits. As you can imagine, this took up too much time. Once I started having the movie star stylists paint the nails with a white tip and a sheer polish, the celebrities loved it! I realized the most elegant, universal nail look is a natural nail look.
Responding to the needs of the nail technician has always been paramount to me. I’m also very proud of the portfolio of natural nail treatments we’ve developed. The introduction of the Gripper Cap also had a big influence on the nail industry. Nail technicians were looking for an easier way to apply, and especially open, the product. After months of research and three years of development in Italy, Orly introduced the award-winning and patented Gripper Cap in 2002. The rubberized exterior, combined with easy-to-grip design on the cap, makes the bottle simple to open and allows for a more controlled application of lacquer, resulting in a more professional looking manicure.
MS: You have seen tremendous change in the beauty industry, specifically regarding nails. What are some of the improvements and innovations you’ve seen?
JP: Passion and innovation move us forward. The industry has moved ahead at light speed with the advancements in more effective product formulations. We’ve seen great improvements in our ability to create not just new colors, but new and interesting textures in nail lacquers.
MS: And what would you like to see change?
JP: I would like to see a reemphasis on the quality of professional education. Consumers should have a sense of trust when they go to their salon and a sense of trust in their technician.
MS: How has being in LA influenced your branding?
JP: It’s had a huge impact. Our ‘Made in L.A.’ campaign was our way of highlighting the fact that the company’s roots are here in Los Angeles, a city that is the center of the entertainment industry and defines what personal style is all about. Orly gives women the opportunity to interpret their personal style through color. We are so inspired by Los Angeles, its people and vibrant culture.
MS: What international markets are especially strong for you? And where do you see the potential for growth?
JP: Orly is distributed in over 80 countries worldwide. The U.K., Russia, Italy, Japan the Middle East and the Philippines are very strong for markets for Orly.
We see continued growth in Europe and tremendous growth opportunity in Asia, South America and Africa.
MS: Any new launches to share?
JP: We recognized the need for treatments that make nails stronger and that lets clients take a breather but still wear color. Orly will be launching a very exciting new innovation at Cosmoprof Las Vegas, Orly Breathable Treatment + Color. This new product nourishes and hydrates so that nails can strengthen and grow. Advanced Oxygen Technology allows air and hydration to penetrate to the nail allowing it to stay moisturized. It’s an all-in-one, long lasting formulation that cuts manicure time in half because there’s no need for a basecoat or topcoat and it will be available in 19 breathable shades.
MS: Where do you see the industry headed?
JP: The market is very saturated with a number of companies, some very professional, some not. I’d like to see more of a focus on quality products and quality salons and a true emphasis on education.