Thursday, April 7, 2022

What is indie polish?

This is really a loaded question, but I will do my best to give you clarity on the topic.

xoxoJen's What is indie polish?

Indie by definition means independent, as a business type. The literal definition of this is: one that is not publicly traded on the stock market, and is generally owned by a very small group of individuals.


In the nail polish world, indie means manufactured and packaged by the business owner, ie handcrafted. The more appropriate word we should have chosen as a community in 2009 is Artisan made. But we didn't, and here we are at Indie Polish. The term has stuck and will likely not be changed after 13 years of being called indie polish.

There is another flavor of polishes that are not considered as "Indie Polish" and are not "Mainstream." They are independent businesses such as Holo Taco, Mooncat and a few others. These are referred to as "boutique" or "lab made." The difference here is that the business owner may design what the polish will look like, but they do not manufacture or package (bottle, label, box) the polish themselves. They do handle their customers and shipping and are typically only available online. (there are sometimes exceptions, for example, polish expos and special deals a maker has made with a salon or indie owned shop) Both indie and boutique type polishes usually have a personalized customer experience where we can interact with the business owner directly. Most indies and boutique shops have only one employee (the owner) or a small number of people to help them. These companies utilize Nail Bloggers, IG swatchers, and YouTubers for public relations media to advertise for them.

Lastly is "Mainstream." Mainstream are the polishes found readily available at big box stores like Target, Walmart, some Salons, Drug Stores etc. These are mass produced and available in large volumes. Because of their mass production, most mainstream polishes are less costly than indie or lab made/boutique polishes. (again, there are exceptions like Chanel or Hermes)

Hope that helps clarify! I have a glossary page in my blog's top menu bar that may be helpful with other acronyms you may come across in the indie polish community as well as a list of indie/boutique shops.

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