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Go bare. Chemical-free nail polish brand, Kester Black have got you covered. It was a happy accident for designer, Anna Ross when she realised there was a gap in the market of ethical nail polish production. And the rest? Well it’s history.


Tell us about yourself?
My name is Anna Ross, I’m 30 and originally from New Zealand. Growing up in a tiny town of 64 residents really instilled in me a love for animals and the environment.

Do you enjoy the creative side of what you do?

I love it, it’s my favourite part. I’m one of those strange people who are highly creative and also analytical / process driven. I’m not sure I could run an accounting firm, but I love what I do because I get to work with colours, amazing fonts and photography. Early on I used to do all of the graphics myself, these days I hire experts and still oversee the entire creative process.

Why Nail Polish?

It was really a happy accident. Kester Black was my jewellery line and I wanted to add some colour to my sterling silver rings. I found out that you can colour silver with enamel paint, so I bought some nail polish (which is also enamel paint) to test the theory. It was then that the idea stuck and I decided to make a small range to add to my online store. After doing some research into the beauty industry I was appalled that no cosmetics on the market seemed to take ethical production seriously, so I sought to fill the gap myself. I launched 6 colours in August 2014 and tripled my turnover within 3 months.

Tell us about the importance behind the brands philanthropy.

I’ve always loved beautiful design and believed in ethical purchasing. To me, great design is not only about creating solutions of beauty and high quality but also making them a reality in a positive way for society and the environment. In business, my beliefs manifest in a drive for innovation and establishing sustainable, ethical options for the consumer.

As for being cruelty free, we don’t test, nor use any ingredients tested on animals, because it goes against everything we believe in. The only reason we believe most larger companies do it is to export into China, where they must prove their products have been tested on animals to gain entry to the country for bulk shipments. China does this to protect their local industry, but the big corporate giants ‘need’ that export market so they are willing to make those sacrifices for money. I don’t believe that we need any markets that require animal testing to grow and remain profitable.

Applying for B Corp accreditation was an obvious next step for Kester Black, and proved to be a useful tool for identifying other areas within our business where we could improve. We promise to donate at least 2% of our revenue to charities and have recently become a carbon neutral brand.

Now, as for you, tell us aN interesting fact about yourself?

I love working on all kinds of creative projects, so I’ve been designing and making furniture for the past few years. I’m currently working on designing my own house in Lake Hawea in New Zealand which will use ecologically sound building practices so I can live off the grid.

Favourite nail colour of your range? 

Lilac, and an exciting new colour we haven’t released yet called Toferky.

Why do you think we like painting our nails? A form of expression, a trend?

I think it’s all about self care. It’s not very often these days you really get much time to spend with yourself, so for me, painting my nails means a little me-time. I’m  quiet and focused and it’s like a little mini meditation session. The colours are fun and I love how something so small as having painted nails can brighten up your day. It’s take with you colour therapy!

What is the best part about what you do?

I love the flexibility of being able to travel as well as making my own rules! Being my own boss means I can work remotely which allows me to travel often. I do travel for work regularly but I get the added bonus of being able to tack on a few extra weeks to see the sights whenever I am overseas too. I also meditate for 2 hours every day which keeps me grounded. Lying on the couch and taking a break would have certainly been frowned upon at every previous workplace. We also only work 4 days a week (yay!), so this way I am able to get out and enjoy the beautiful city I live in and recharge for the next ‘working’ week. 

To shop and see more click here.

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