OPI polish czar nails her inspiring story

Anyone who uses OPI polish understands why the “first lady of nails” called her book: “I’m Not Really a Waitress.”

That color was the start of punny names for lacquers that launched a brand celebrating its 40th anniversary. “I’m Soo Swamped” is the latest shade of green, of course.

Co-founder Suzi Weiss-Fischmann told her story as a child in Communist Hungary to a lion of industry at the recent virtual Lion of Judah event. Part of an international philanthropic sisterhood of 17,500 women, Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County’s contingent numbers nearly 700.

Here’s some of her remarks:

“We were always living in fear and hiding our Jewish religion. My mother still closes the shades. When we moved to Israel in 1966, that was our first taste of freedom. When we came to New York in 1969, there was unimaginable opportunity.

“Being born in a communist country, I always wanted to guide my own destiny. The one thing communism taught me was discipline.

“We started as a dental supply company and our chemist found an acrylics formula we dropped off at salons. But we realized early on, we wanted to connect directly with consumers.

“We wanted to make it fun. Now we describe naming colors as the most fun part of our collections.

“The name of my book came from our Hollywood collection. In southern California, women would tell me, “I’m not really a waitress, I’m an actress.”

“I grew up in OPI and the more successful OPI became, the more successful I became. That means you can be anything you want to be. I want to take women on that ride with me. That’s as important to me as business.”

By Marci Shatzman


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