Christmas Countdown

  • Beauty
    Christmas Countdown

Source: Tereza Berkemeier


With only a handful of days left until Christmas, have you found yourself racing around looking for last minute, yet thoughtful gifts for your fashionable loved ones?  We have some suggestions and will also bring to you some interesting stories of the companies and people behind some of our favourite beauty brands.  Today we look at the history of OPI, BabyBliss and Hourglass.

1. OPI

Opi is a world leader in quality beauty products renowned for its exquisite nail lacquers which launched in 1989 with its first collection of 30 polishes. It was originally a small dental supply company named Odontonum Products which sold a line of products including liquid and powder. In 1981 this LA based company was purchased by George Schaeffer an immigrant to the USA from Hungary, who started his career in his family’s garment manufacturing business in New York. Schaeffer teamed with Suzi Weiss-Fischman then extended their team to include biochemist Eric Montgomery.  This was following a discovery by Schaeffer that the porcelains used by dentists were similar to those used by nail technicians. Together this team created a nail acrylic system that they chose to sell to industry professionals only.  They also decided to use batch numbers, instructions and ingredients on all products in order to be accountable to a quality of excellence. This process continues to this day. 

In 2010 OPI was acquired by Coty Inc and on 21 November 2013 George Schaeffer retired after 32 years at the helm.  He is still involved with the management team as an advisory. 

OPI is well known for its quirky names for its polishes. One of the most popular colours is “’I’m not really a Waitress” and ‘’Lincoln Park after Dark’’.   Suzi Weiss-Fischman who is also known as ‘The First Lady of Nails’ along with a small team are responsible for creating these names. A polish name is created by selecting a theme which is usually a geographic location and names are brain stormed around this location.  These meetings are renowned to be marathon and always held in secret. At the 2016 Wella International Trend Vision Awards in November, OPI was represented by Weiss-Fischman spoke on trends for 2017.   Looking forward Weiss-Fischman predicted blues will be big in 2017.  Corals and other island colours will be the inspiration to the coming years’ nail palettes, which is why Fiji will be the locale of inspiration for the Spring/Summer 2017 collection.

In our gift collection guide we suggest the colours “’I’ll tinsel you’ and “’Unfrost my heart’’ for those Christmas mistle toes.


In 1959 in the backroom of a hairdressing salon in Montmartre a hair curling iron was invented by two hairdressers Rene Lelievre and Roger Lemoine.  Hair curling irons have been actually used throughout history by Egyptians, Babylonians and Persians.   In 1872 Marcel Grateau created a heated iron which created a wave and still is a popular with women.  Lelievre and Lemoine expanded on the idea of this iron with an electric version.   This version was a huge improvement not only did it allow for temperature to be controlled but also prevented hair and hands from being burnt.

BabyBliss is a common household name in France as people refer to ‘curling hair’ as to ‘babybliss’’.

BabyBliss is owned by Conair who started out like BabyBliss with the invention of the pistol grip hairdryer.   BabyBliss Pro actually has its own hair dryer which is the Rapido Professional Ferrari Hair Dryer a powerful high-performance professional luxury dryer that is made in Italy and driven by an ultra-efficient high-speed turbo powered engine – designed and built exclusively for Babyliss Pro in cooperation with Ferrari.   In our suggestions for gifts we feature the BabyBliss Pro Travel Kit complete with the 6”mini straightening iron which has all the benefits of a titanium and ceramic plates.


Founded in 2004 by Carisa Janes and launched in Barneys New York, Hourglass has become established as a luxury cosmetic brand.  Janes started as studying fashion at Parsons an Art, Fashions and Design college based in New York and then later switched to design marketing and graduated to her first job.  She started at Urban Decay helping wherever she could and then found herself working in product development.   She was approached by a man in Hawaii who wanted help in creating his own product line which he named Heart and Soul.   Following this she created Hourglass with focus on luxury products.    The flagship store for Hourglass is in Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach, California.  The selected product in our gift guide is the Seamless Foundation Stick the colour is Vanish Honey. 


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