Creative Agency Owners Turn to Creating Curated Nail Wraps During Pandemic

Emery & Co.
Emery & Co.

Although the pandemic had visibly slowed down business for Veronica and Alvin — who run The Ad Makers, a local creative agency — a spark of genius, fueled by their concern for their employees’ welfare pushed them to pivot and establish Emery and Co, a Singaporean nail wrap brand.

The brand has come up with their Chinese New Year collection, which features electric prints inspired by festive colours and motifs, such as gold details, floral prints and warm hues.

To find out more about the genesis of Emery and Co, THG spoke with Veronica and Alvin to get an insight into their motivations and inspiration for the brand.

Emery & Co.

How did the idea of developing nail wraps come about, considering your background in a creative agency?

Veronica: As a mother of two young children, all my time and energy outside of work are channelled towards spending time with my family. I think this is something most working mums out there can attest to. I did not put myself as priority and needless to say, putting effort into my appearance became an afterthought. At one point, I had to remind myself that I am the owner of a creative agency and it is important for me to look the part. That was when I started looking for easy beauty solutions that will not take up too much time.

A friend of mine introduced me to nail stickers, and I appreciated the ease of use and having beautiful nails in just 10 minutes, and I could do it anywhere, anytime. I no longer had to block out an hour or two to head down to the nail salons and get my nails done. I could also easily change my nail designs whenever I wished to.

Emery & Co.

What were your specific roles in helping to develop and grow Emery & Co.?

Alvin: Generally, Veronica, being a woman, will understand more about women’s needs and wants so she takes care of the creative direction and product development. On the other hand, I take care of the sales channels development, logistics, and backend operations.

How was it like establishing a new business in the middle of a pandemic? Could you share some of the challenges you faced, and how you overcame them?

Alvin: The challenges were more about our creative agency The Ad Makers. We have salaries to pay, but there was a drop in the amount of work that we were getting. Even for projects that were ongoing, clients were asking us for a reduction in rates due to the pandemic. Basically, everyone was suffering. However, we were adamant in trying to hold off a pay cut for our staff because we recognise that our staff have their own livelihoods to take care of as well. With the spare time and resources that we had due to the drop in amount of work, we redirected these resources to establishing Emery & Co. You could say that if the pandemic didn’t happen, Emery & Co wouldn’t have been set up so quickly.

How is running a beauty brand different from running a creative agency?

Alvin: They are both very different in nature, with one being B2B and the other B2C. With The Ad Makers, we’re mostly trying to satisfy the needs of a brand, but for Emery & Co, we’re trying to satisfy the needs of a million different types of personalities out there.

How has your expertise in running a creative agency helped with running Emery & Co.?

Alvin: We have helped to build our clients’ brands over the years through The Ad Makers, and we now leverage on the knowledge and experiences gained to build our own brand through Emery & Co. Similarly, through our own experience of running Emery & Co, we get to make business decisions to adopt new technologies and test new strategies, and from there, we learn new things as well and can share these experiences with our clients to serve them better.

Emery & Co.

What would you say differentiates your nail wraps with others in the market?

Veronica: Emery & Co.’s nail stickers are made from nail polish materials and it helps to improve how the nail stickers feel on our nails. There are some cheaper alternatives in the market that are made from sticker materials, which might not be as comfortable or long-lasting.

I believe the main differentiating factor between Emery & Co. and other established nail wrap brands in the market is our designs. Unlike many nail stickers commonly available in the market that tend to emulate nail art designs found at nail salons, our designs’ aim is to allow our wearers to carry littles pieces of art right on their nails. Most of our designs focus on the play of graphics, illustrations, lines, and colours and are expressions from our collective life and travel experiences. [With the pandemic,] we are all stuck in Singapore, and perhaps the little piece of travel art on our fingers can help bring back some lovely memories from our past trips and experiences. Each nail design is different and tells its story when viewed collectively together on 10 fingers. We are continually trying to push the boundaries of the design so that each collection remains fresh and exciting to our users.

Why would consumers choose nail wraps over nail polish?

Veronica: It’s faster and easier to apply, there’s no drying time, there won’t be any smudging, there is no maintenance needed. Furthermore, you don’t damage your nails, you get instant intricate nail art in 10 minutes compared to an hour’s session at the nail salon, you can switch them up at your fancy compared to gel nails — there are just too many advantages!

You mentioned that the inspiration for Emery and Co.’s designs come from nature and culture, could you elaborate on which aspects of them you’ve been inspired by?

Veronica: Most of our designs are inspired by our design team’s different travel experiences, which is why we say it’s the world at your fingertips. Our team, being typical Singaporeans, love to travel. With each trip they make, they bring back some beautiful memories of the cultures and experiences, and express them through our nail art. I am sure some of our customers would have had a sense of nostalgia when they are browsing through our nail art collection because they would have had the very same experience in the same country [they visited]. And that’s the beauty of our designs.

What was it like collaborating with other local brands for some of the nail wraps?

Veronica: It was eye-opening and very encouraging. Everyone was friendly and helpful, it’s like we all recognised that this was a difficult period of time and we needed to help each other through it. There was definitely a sense of the Singaporean spirit with a lot of kindness involved. Very heartwarming!

Do you see Emery and Co. possibly expanding into other beauty products in the near future?

Alvin: Yes, we are definitely not going to stop at nail stickers. Our vision for Emery & Co is to enable the modern woman to have access to fuss-free and convenient beauty solutions, so they can spend less time dolling, more time living.


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