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Q: What initially sparked the idea
A: “I had the idea for a manly nail polish a long
time ago, but it was really just a pipe dream.
My friend Cory started wearing the stuff on his
toes when he took up the sport of kitesurfing.
He was barefoot or in flip-flops most of the time
and just thought it’d be a cool thing to do.
That kinda brought the old nail polish for men
idea that I’d had many years ago back to life.”
Q: Why did you pursue the idea?
A: “None of us had any background in the
cosmetics industry. So this was really just one of
many stupid ideas I had floating around in my
head that I’d most likely never do anything with.
At one point I had heard the term ‘male polish’
and thought that was worth talking to a trademark
attorney about. But again, the idea just sat there
lacking any real motivation. That motivation finally
came one weekend when my friend Cory came to
town to see the band GWAR. We were out drinking
and he was stuck on the word ‘man-glaze’ for
some reason. He was just goofing on it constantly
and wouldn’t stop. It became the theme for the
night. GWAR does this thing where they shoot
various bodily fluids all over the audience. So the
show reinforced the whole ‘man-glaze’ theme.
Finally, at some point, either that night or the
next morning (it’s still a bit hazy) one of us was like
‘dude, Manglaze would be an awesome name
Manifesting Alex Fox talks to Marc Paez, the creative
brain behind Manglaze, matte polish for
men, a concept launched over two years
ago – making Manglaze the first matte
polish range to hit the now hot for it market
Manglaze Matte for that nail polish idea’. It made sense even once
I sobered up the next day and we just thought
the name was so damn funny, we had to do it.”
Q: How hard was it to fund this business
venture (as two polishes is an unusual
amount to launch a line with)?
A: We all have day jobs. Sure, it was a major leap
of faith. Also, a pretty major investment for a wacky
idea. My co-workers and most of my friends thought
I was nuts. No one had ever heard of an indie nail
polish company and the pitch of a non-glossy nail
polish was often answered with an ‘ick’ or a ‘why?’.
We chose two colours as we figured most guys
didn’t need too many options. And since there was
the very real possibility that people would just hate
the stuff, the plan was to minimise our investment.”
Q: Why did you launch in Japan?
A: Kyoko is from Japan. I had been there the year
before (2006) and couldn’t wait to go back.
The food is amazing! Our artist, Joe Simko
(sweetrot.com) created artwork and giant monsters
for Magma, a hardcore punk festival. Since Cory
and I grew up listening to some of those bands,
it seemed like a natural setting to bring Manglaze
into the world. Sink or swim you know. If the
hippest and hardest trendsetters Japan had to
offer, could dig us, we were pretty sure the rest of
the world would get into Manglaze eventually.”
Q: How was it received in Japan and
later in the USA?
A: “We were shocked. There were no hang-ups
about it being for guys or girls. Our first customers
were these two really big, badass looking
tattooed up, dread lock wearing biker dudes.
These guys looked at the stuff for five seconds
and were sold. The warm welcome in Yokohama
was a huge relief for us. Back in the States, it
came online and the response from people
has been of complete adoration. Since our
launch in 2007 we’ve had countless emails from
people telling us that they’d been scouring
the internet for a matte nail polish for years!
Most of our customers found us. So it’s been
pretty underground until recently. It’s awesome
though to be so exclusive yet global.”
Q: Who is wearing Manglaze?
A: “Generally, it’s about 50/50 men and women.
It started off being mostly guys then girls got a
hold of it and discovered they could use it matte
or with a glossy top coat - so they could have
two polishes in one. I think anyone that buys a
nail polish called Manglaze must be a pretty
cool person. Definitely they’ve got a great sense
of humour and they’re not too uptight.”
Q: Can salons buy it in or is it sold
purely on the internet?
A: “We really got hooked on selling directly
to our customers. Getting emails back from
people saying they ‘love’ the stuff every day
is just awesome! I’m a glutton for positive
feedback and since we’re new to the industry,
our customer interactions have been invaluable.
That said, we are looking for a few select retailers
and salons that have a good fit for what we’re
into. Manglaze wouldn’t fit in some places and
it’s in such a short supply, I can’t really have
very much of our inventory sitting on shelves
at a bunch of scattered locations waiting for
someone to come in and buy it. I’d rather have
everyone be able to buy it at one place online
and with a few exclusive partners.”
Q: Why matte?
A: “Back when it was just a loose concept, I
discovered a motorcycle designed by J.T. Nesbitt
(bienvillestudios.com), the Confederate Hellcat.
The bike is mostly matte black and carbon fibre.
That bike and the whole murdered out car thing
going on, made me wonder what a matte
finish nail polish would look like. Also, I’m partially
colour blind; mostly red/green. One thing that’s
really hard for me to do is perceive colours with
a bunch of glossy reflections in the way. I think
that helped lead me to a matte finish and the
selection of our first two colours - grey and black.
Colours certainly evoke various emotions.
Nail polish has traditionally been hidden behind
a perfectly glossy shell. But life isn’t always glossy
and perfect. If you look at the human body,
really just our eyes are glossy. There are so many
textures on our body and in nature that you
can almost feel just by looking at them.”
Q: How is this business going to evolve?
A: “We should have a white (aka Manglaze
Mayonnaise) and a clear top coat launching
soon. We’ll follow with a blue, green and possibly
a really awful yellow. We also have a secret
innovation coming out that is going to change
the whole game. When people get their hands on
our big new Manglaze, they’ll be dumping their
old traditional nail polishes for good. It’s gonna be
a scary thing for sure. As for other products, we
currently have some Manglaze gear available
through CafePress and if anyone wants some
of our specific imagery on a shirt or anything at
CafePress, we’ll be happy to create it for them.”
Q: Your product imagery is unusual in
the polish world, explain its concept?
A: “Again we fell back on the stuff we grew up on.
We try to run Manglaze like a punk rock band or
an indie label. Illustration is cheaper in most cases
than photography and you can’t really capture
severed limbs, blowtorched fingers, monsters and
anatomically enhanced women quite so easily
with a camera, although we have tried!”
Q: Describe the festivals where you’ve
A: “Besides our launch at Magma in 2007, last
year we rocked our ink at a tattoo show called
Rock the Ink! We set up in the backstage lounge
and Manglazed the hands of nearly every
musician to hit the stage over the three-day
event. Our biggest endorsement came from
Saliva’s lead guitarist, Jonathan Montoya who
said, “The stuff just won’t come off!” He uses
it without a base coat, which probably works
best for durability. This summer we’re sponsoring
Half Fast Chicago Motorcycle Club’s Chicago
Shakedown at one of Chicago’s most rocking
venues, the Cobra Lounge. We’ll have nail techs
there to slap it on people to show how smoothly
it goes on and how quickly it dries. Once they
see it in action, most people are hooked.”