Here's a recap of all the awesomeness and some exclusive photos from the event, as well as a look at the visionary behind Zoya Nail Polish.
When I walked into the show room and got to meet one of the amazing Zoya fairies, Danielle, the lovely Zoya nail technicians were setting up their stations. Of course, one of the first things I noticed was the famous Zoya rhinestone tee.
Also in these pictures, you can see the Zoya Color Lock system, Rolando Santana trio, and the Cashmere, Satin, Zenith, and Fall Pixie Dust collections. But more on that a little later...
There were also lovely swag bags that we got to take home...
What's in the bag, you ask?
A mini Zoya color lock system AND a Rolando Santana trio!
Then after some cupcakes...
(Did you guys really think I wouldn't indulge your sweet tooth and skimp out on cupcake photos?)
And some champagne...
It was time for a manicure!
This is how the manicure stations were set up, completely with the color lock system and mandarin citrus lotion from Qtica. It smelled DELICIOUS, for the record!
And here's a better shot of the design. This is an alternate version of the design created by Sunshine, one of the members of the Zoya nail team, for the Rolando Santana runway show back at NYFW. The yellow is called Sara and the fuschia color is Maria. The nude is called Natasha.
And here are everyone's nail art designs! There was a competition as to who could come up with the best nail art designs with the trio, with yours truly voted by the fans on social media as the winner! You guys are awesome... thank you so much! More on just what I won a little bit later!
One of the best parts of the whole night was meeting Zoya Reyzis, the founder of Zoya. As the evening was winding down, all of us wound up in a circle, listening to her tell the story of how she came to the United States after moving from Ukraine in 1978.
(Photo courtesy of Zoya)
Zoya is a classically trained pianist who considers dead composers such as Bach and Chopin (her current favorites, which change constantly) to be amongst her best friends and confidantes. She didn't care that the government took her passport from her when she left, but that they took her diploma from the Moscow Conservatory, which she had studied and trained tirelessly to earn.
She studies yoga… and not the kind that's trendy at your local gym these days. She's a proponent of its teachings, mind, body, and soul, though she admits she'll never be able to stand on her head, nor does she care. It is what relaxes her and keeps her focused.
When she and her family arrived in the United States and settled in Ohio, it was difficult for her to find a job. She found that positions as a manicurist were available at the time and had to go through classes and pass the boards in order to receive her license. Because she worked in a hair salon that had nail stations, as most did in the 1980's, she could not obtain health insurance due to the companies' unwillingness to insure someone who worked in an environment filled with toxic fumes. This was part of the reason she was inspired to create products that were better for women and is proud of the fact that Zoya was the first company to go 3-free.
Her dedication to products that are safe for consumers is why she says the company will not manufacture gel nail polish or other similar products. She loves the fact that packaging of the collections is labeled baby safe, though as a mother and grandmother, she doubts you can get a toddler to sit long enough without smudging them or getting the polish all over the place.
The company started with the development of Zoom Dry while Zoya was still working at the nail salon and lamented often to her chemist husband that her clients would constantly smudge and ruin their nails because they were unwilling to stay still after their manicures. Certainly, with our phones virtually attached to our hands at all times, most of us are guilty of the same. And it's part of the reason the Qtica quick dry drops, a natural progression from Zoom Dry, is always on hand after I get my nails done.
(Photo courtesy of Zoya)
She recognized that most nail technicians aren't just of one profession. Rather, they are friends, confidantes, and psychiatrists. "Oh, the things women would tell me," Zoya said with a slight laugh. "One woman told me she was having an affair with a friend's husband. She was one of my clients, too, and I was always afraid one day, I might slip!"
But, perhaps, the most fascinating part of Zoya's experience as a nail technician came when she began to share her mistreatment by customers and salon owners alike. The owner of the salon was never receptive to any of the technicians' requests for new products, viewing hair as the main and more important side of the business and nail services a mere convenience. Clients would talk down to her, treating her more like a servant than a nail technician. And while this has certainly changed in the world of beauty as time has passed, as the Zoya team of nail techs agreed, it's still a problem at salons and spas across the country.
I was very excited to meet Zoya for the first time that evening, as an admirer of her as an entrepreneur and a lover of her products, but I had no idea that there was such depth to her, that there was so much more to her than the namesake and founder of Zoya and the rest of Art of Beauty. She is truly an inspirational woman that we should all aspire to be a little more like in our lives.
And for those of you who were wondering, because of course you nail addicts were, Zoya's nails were natural that evening, but she was excited to show us that she was wearing Zoya Chyna on her toes!
When asked if any artist inspires her, as a portrait of Frida Kahlo inspired the Rolando Santana Spring '14 collection, Zoya had a very poignant answer: "Whatever is beautiful is called art.”
On the subject of art, and backtracking for a moment, you may recall that I won a fabulous prize pack as part of the Nail Art Competition.
To celebrate this awesome event, I'm giving away the Cashmere, Satin, Fall Pixie Dusts, and Zenith Collections to four lucky winners! Each collection has a retail value of $54 and they're all up for grabs!
To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open to all residents of the United States and Canada! Good luck!