An Inside Look Into OPI’s Top Secret Color Naming Process

An Inside Look Into OPI’s Top Secret Color Naming Process

OPI naming meetings are top secret, but I can say that the process is very fun! There is a group of people at OPI who go behind closed doors to brainstorm hundreds of potential monikers for the new colors. We channel each other’s creativity to come up with unique and interesting names for each shade. This group dynamic is very important to the creative process. We are able to tell which names get the biggest laughs, or which ones really resonate. We usually have too many names and have to narrow down the list. Everyone shares their funniest, most creative names for final voting! It is such a fun and interactive process and there is usually no shortage of opinions and thoughts.

Coming to the meeting prepared and with props really helps inspire us and keep our imaginations flowing. Food is a very important part of the OPI culture, so we always have things to eat that reflect the spirit of the collection for inspiration. Inspiration comes from food, music, fashion, film, art and pop culture.

For destination-based collections, which are launched twice a year, the group will play upon unique, interesting, or noteworthy elements from the country or city in question to come up with hundreds of names for consideration. It takes a full day to name a collection. The name for a single shade might happen very quickly, or it might be deliberated, shelved, and revisited throughout the course of the day.

The names are our trademark!

Names help form an emotional connection with our customer, offering a literal “message in a bottle.” People buy lacquer for the color, but the name is what sticks in their memory. 

Women are always turning over OPI bottles to see which names catch their attention. When picking between two hues, a woman might choose the one with the name that appeals most. With our names, women can travel with OPI to places they might only ever imagine.

Our names have also served as a great form of advertising. By giving OPI nail lacquers unique monikers, women not only remember the colors but ask for them by name. Many of the names are intentionally funny, designed to make people laugh, and others are imbued with personal meaning for their wearers – like Mimosas for Mr. and Mrs. worn at an engagement party or It’s A Boy! or It’s A Girl! used to announce a pregnancy.

Fun fact, every seasonal collection features a shade with my name, “Suzi.” And of course, it’s fitting that I’ve even titled every chapter of my new book I’m Not Really a Waitress: How One Woman Took Over the Beauty Industry One Color at a Time with the name of a nail lacquer shade.

Originally published on Quora.

How One Woman Took Over the Beauty Industry 

OPI is a famous global beauty icon. But behind all the glamour is the little-known tale of OPI’s unlikely origins—an inspiring story of a timid schoolgirl who arrives in this country with little money and no English and becomes an industry game-changer known worldwide as “the First Lady of Nails.”

Learn More

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