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Ex-teacher's nail polish spurs successful business

by Helaine Williams | March 15, 2020 at 2:12 a.m.
An assortment of items to keep you fashionable and functional — and get some hair back on your head: The Chrissy Medium Clear Game Day Handbag from Score! Designs; Actsyl-3 Hair Growth Serum; the Ponyflo Velcro-adjustable baseball cap made to accommodate ponytail hairdos; and artisan-crafted earrings from fair-trade e-tailer Noonday Collection. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Helaine R. Williams)

It was more than a decade ago when a Northwest Arkansas mom of two founded the child's water-based nail polish line Piggy Paint.

The nontoxic, nearly odorless, harsh-chemical-free product was ahead of its time, its founder, Melanie Hurley of Bentonville, believes.

"Now, with all the education and ... the social media, people are just more aware of the ingredients in their products," Hurley says. "Now's our time ... mainstream [society] is finally looking for something like this. It's exciting."

Piggy Paint hit the market in 2009. Since then, the product has expanded into more than 75 color choices, gift sets and even a scented collection.

Online awareness of the line has grown, also -- "to just a ton of features from influencers and celebrities ... [there's] a lot of buzz," Hurley says. She counts the line getting into Target stores as her biggest accomplishment so far ... and the realization of a dream.

Piggy Paint retails for $4.99-$7.99 at Target and at piggypaint.com. Sets are $9.99 and up. What are the most popular shades? By far, "pinks and purples definitely sell the best," Hurley says. But "still, people are loving glitter. We have a lot of glitter options."

And, she says, children aren't the only Piggy Paint users. When visiting trade shows she encounters adults who are sporting the product. One woman, she recalls, shared that she was too sensitive to wear regular, adult nail polish. She wore Piggy Paint on her wedding day.

"It's great to get feedback," at these shows, Hurley says. "It's nice to hear stories."

She also enjoys seeing social-media photos in which she's tagged ... photos of babies and young children getting their first manicures and pedicures with Piggy Paint. That's "such a fun bonding time for mom and child, so it's really fun to see those pictures."

Hurley began the line with her two daughters, then ages 4 and 2, in mind. Now they are teenagers ... and they're helping their mom run the company. They recently went with her on a kid celebrity/influencer event in Los Angeles and painted fingernails. During summers, the girls come to the office and help in the company's 10,000-square-foot warehouse. The girls aren't the only relatives working with the business: Hurley's father, who's retired, also works in the warehouse.

Hurley has also begun a hair-care line, Rock the Locks, at the request of customers. The 3-year-old line is sold at Walmart in a price range of $4.98 to $9.98. The products are made in the United States, rich with essential oils and, like Piggy Paint, are cruelty free.

"I feel super blessed that we're still going ... after all these years," Hurley says.

Meanwhile, Hurley, a former teacher, enjoys visiting schools and talking to students about entrepreneurship.

"Once a teacher, always a teacher," she says.

COMING DOWN THE RUNWAY

• Listen up, Designers Choice Fashion Preview fans.The 13th annual incarnation of the fundraiser for the Timmons Arts Foundation takes place April 4. Themed "DCFP Next: The Future Is Fashion," the show will go on at 7318 Windsong Drive, North Little Rock. Guests are encouraged to wear white, metallics, silver and gray. The VIP experience (meet and greet with hosts, heavy hors d'oeuvres, VIP bar, VIP seating and swag bag) begins at 6:30 p.m.; the show starts at 7:30. Project Runway celebrity designers are Korto Momolu and Brittany Allen; creations by Alyece Rodgers, Ambrea Brimmage, Cortez Miles, Oliver Michael Fitzpatrick, Tremaine Pollydore and Ty Jackson will also be featured. Tickets are $45-$75. Visit eventbrite.com.

"Crushing" is the theme of the seventh annual Passion for Fashion style show presented by the Horace Mann Transitional Class of 1972 and slated for 5 p.m. April 26 at the Centre at University Park, 6410 W. 12th St. in Little Rock. The show will feature four scenes: Mardi Gras, Tuxedo, Soul Train Night and Denim Night. The show's proceeds support the Edwin L. Hawkins Scholarship Program. The Horace Mann Transitional Class of 1972 -- the last class of juniors at Horace Mann when it was an all-black high school in Little Rock -- has awarded more than $40,000 in scholarships over the last 16 years. Tickets are $20. Contact Carolyn Pledger Brooks (901) 289-3104 or Carl Vault (501) 416-6523.

Meanwhile, the Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week spring shows, which were scheduled for April 16-18 in Bentonville, have been canceled. "Given the current and rapidly developing situation with the coronavirus, we feel it is no longer possible to pursue our expected level of production while also being able to ensure the safety and well-being of all our participants," organizers state in an email. "We anticipate rolling all content planned for this season into NWA Fashion Week Fall 2020, which has been scheduled for Oct. 23-24 at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville."

PRODUCT REVIEWS

A few assorted fashion/beauty items to which I was recently introduced:

Chrissy Medium Clear Game Day Handbag from Score! Designs, LLC (scoregamedaybag.com)

Deni Sciano, a San Antonio former teacher and marketing director, created her designer handbag company with heightened security measures at sports stadiums and arenas in mind. Her clear bags come in color combinations that accommodate many schools, including Yours Truly's alma mater, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The Maroon and Silver Chrissy handbag, $59.99, isn't your everyday, just-above-grocery-store-tote quality. Having arrived meticulously wrapped, it bears the same fine details that can be found on high-dollar, Sunday-go-to-meetin' bags. (Note: Democrat-Gazette shoppers visiting the website can get 15% off Score! Designs products with the code arkdem15.

Noonday Collection earrings (noondaycollection.com)

I have been especially frustrated in my attempts, in recent years, to find goldtone costume jewelry that stays gold instead of turning copper-toned. The obvious solution to this problem: a return to brass jewelry. If it's brass jewelry from a fair-trade retailer, even better. Noonday Collection, an Austin, Texas-based accessory company, offers handmade pieces by artisans in 14 countries. "Every item purchased helps someone in a vulnerable community earn a living wage through dignified work," according to a news release.

I've been enjoying four brass-earring samples from Noonday. Three styles are from Kenya: the Golden Swell Earrings, $42, smaller, chain-held versions of the fortune-cooking-resembling Fulani hoop earrings; the Nairobi Earrings, $36, small, etched statement earrings shaped like open teardrops, but more angular; and the Halycon Hoops, $38, hoops whose extra-long French-hook posts create a vertical line down the center of each earring and add to its style aesthetic. From India come the Legacy Earrings, $38, long U-shaped hand-cast earrings with intricate etched patterns. All are lovely. And all will stay gold.

Actsyl-3 Hair Growth Serum (Amazon.com; actsyl.com).

I've been wearing bun updos to hide a lake-shaped bald spot at the top of my head and increasingly sparse hair in my temple areas, so I jumped at the offer of a sample of Actsyl-3. In addition to blocking DHT, the culprit behind hair loss in women, the serum improves follicle thickness and health and activates hair stem cells. The serum contains Redensyl and Capixyl, ingredients proven to help regrow hair; and key peptides to strengthen hair roots and improve scalp health. Coming in a 1-ounce bottle with dropper, Actsyl-3 sells for $25. Instructions say to drop a small amount in affected areas and massage into the scalp daily. I don't see myself regrowing the thick mane of my childhood, but, so far, judging by photo documentation, the lake is indeed shrinking into a stream. I'll continue to use the product and give a progress report next column or so.

Ponyflo ponytail caps (ponyflohats.com).

Using Actsyl-3 has inspired me to change my hairdos more often, and I'm opting for more ponytails. Which got me interested in Ponyflo, the Velcro-adjustable baseball caps made to accommodate ponytail hairdos. Ponyflo recently introduced new, satin-lined ponytail caps in leopard and snake prints. Satin-lined hats are said to moisturize hair, protect it from breakage, cut the frizz and be anti- "hat-head." The caps are regularly $29.99. I've got the black-and-white glossy snakeskin cap as well as a solid black hat that I've been wearing to workouts.

Send all fashion, beauty and grooming-related news releases to:

hwilliams@adgnewsroom.com

Piggy Paint, the nontoxic, harsh-chemical-free nail polish for kids founded by Bentonville’s Melanie Hurley, is now more than a decade old. It’s shown here in Blackberry Jammers. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Piggy Paint)
Polka dots rule the “Off to the Races” segment of the 2019 Passion for Fashion Style Show, hosted by the Horace Mann Transitional Class of 1972 to benefit its Edwin L. Hawkins Scholarship Program. The annual event will take place again April 26. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Helaine R. Williams)
Bruce Davis designs are showcased during a segment finale at the 12th annual Designers Choice Fashion Preview in 2019. This year’s show — again a benefit for the Timmons Arts Foundation — happens April 4. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Helaine R. Williams)

High Profile on 03/15/2020

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