My lightbulb moment: Beauty innovator Daisy Kalnina reveals inspiration behind her nail polish brand

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Daisy Kalnina, 33, founded salon gel polish brand The GelBottle Inc in 2017. 

Last year, it became the first official nail supplier to London Fashion Week and Kalnina launched its sister brand, Peacci. 

She lives in Brighton with her husband and three children.

I wanted to become a professional painter. Unfortunately it’s an uncertain path, and I come from a modest background.

Age 15, I helped manage my mother’s beauty salon. Later, I studied business and IT and started a double glazing company. But then the recession hit, and I had to close the business.

Daisy Kalnina, 33, founded salon gel polish brand The GelBottle Inc in 2017

Daisy Kalnina, 33, founded salon gel polish brand The GelBottle Inc in 2017

By 2012, I was a single mother with three children, so I decided to open a nail salon in my home. I thought, I can take my greatest passion — art — and put it on nails.

It wasn’t easy to balance childcare with working from home, so I found a retail space to rent in Brighton for £600 a month.

I used my savings and applied for a government small business start-up grant, but I couldn’t find a nail product that gave me the colours, pigments and quality I wanted — even my favourite brand offered only 70 shades. 

So I decided to create my own line of professional gel polish, just for my clients.

I did a lot of research and found a supplier who could send me different formulas to test.

Daisy founded her company after being unable to find a nail product that gave her the colours, pigments and quality she wanted — even her favourite brand offered only 70 shades. She then launched sister brand Peacci (pictured)

A bright red polish sold by Peacci

Daisy founded her company after being unable to find a nail product that gave her the colours, pigments and quality she wanted — even her favourite brand offered only 70 shades. She then launched sister brand Peacci (pictured)

The GelBottle Inc was born with a range of 300 colours. Our polishes are strong, long-wearing, 100 per cent cruelty-free and vegan.

My customers were obsessed and pushed me to launch the brand nationwide and beyond. 

We began supplying nail artists in the U.S. and the Kardashians started using us, as did Jennifer Lopez and Dua Lipa. Then, in 2019, we became the first-ever official nail supplier to London Fashion Week.

During Fashion Week, I noticed that models needed different nail looks multiple times a day. 

Long-lasting gel polish just wasn’t going to be suitable, so I decided to create a sister brand offering home polish with a superior pigment.

Turnover for the firm was £12million last year and they now have a huge warehouse in Shoreham

Turnover for the firm was £12million last year and they now have a huge warehouse in Shoreham

Peacci launched in July 2019 with a collection of trend-led shades.

Last year, turnover was £12 million. Today, we have a huge warehouse in Shoreham, West Sussex, where we employ 30 people.

We can cater for any style and any age. For our nude collection, the aim is to launch something in every single skin tone, A to Z.

I never became a painter, but I love that nail art really is a creative form of expression. 

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