T.E.S.T. Interview: Nail Kandy

We hope to introduce you to all the great Etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 38th in our series with Kate of NailKandy.

Kate Bland of NailKandy creates one of a kind nail polish, nail art, accessories, and jewellery. Her work is glittery, vibrant, and super fun, and she has been selling on Etsy since 2010.

First, a little background to get us started. Are you from Toronto? Did you grow up here?

I was born just outside of Toronto in a part of Mississauga called Port Credit. It is a little lakeside neighborhood at the bottom of Mississauga. I am living in downtown Toronto now and I have been there for just over 1 year and I'm loving it!

What do you love most about this city? Hate the most?

I love how connected and accessible it is here in Toronto. Everything is downtown, shopping, great restaurants, art and music venues, beautiful parks, and I love that it is on the lake. Since I grew up by the lake, I could never see myself living far from water. And even though the city is so big, it still feels small because I am constantly bumping into people I know.

I can't say I really hate anything about Toronto. But, I do miss the peace and quiet that I had in Port Credit. I used to love opening the windows to hear the birds chirping and the breeze blowing through the trees. Now all I hear are the GO trains from Union Station right below me. But you get used to it, they don't keep me awake.

By day you are a makeup artist. Tell us how you got into it. Was this something you always wanted to do?

By day I am actually an office administrator/personal assistant/project manager/etc etc etc, but my heart is in cosmetics. I became obsessed with makeup when I was a teenager. It was the first time I stumbled upon a Sephora in the United States. That was over 10 years ago and I'm still obsessed. I was always an artsy kid, and ended up taking cosmetic arts in college at Sheridan. It was just another outlet for my creativity and I really enjoyed it. I seriously tried to pursue makeup art as a profession for several years and really enjoyed it but always had to work a 2nd job on the side to support myself. I still do the occasional wedding or photo shoot.

When did you start Nail Kandy? And why?

A couple of years after being trained in makeup and doing that for a while, I discovered nail art and the crazy world of nail blogs. There are literally thousands of nail blogs and there is so much creativity there! Add the fact that it involves cosmetic products and I was hooked! I used to go to a nail salon to get my nails painted and the ideas I had for nail art were always too "far out" for the people working at the salon. I took it into my own hands (haha pun intended), and decided to do my own nail art! I got inspiration from other nail artists and quickly realized that it was something I could enjoy doing. Not too long after that, I had amassed an insane stash of nail polishes and nail art supplies.

(To this date I do not know how many nail polishes I have, but the last time I counted, a year ago, I had over 130 bottles. It's GOT to be up in the 200's now!).

With too many supplies and not enough fingers to paint, I thought of making nail art for others. I had seen people on blogs making glue-on nails with their own designs and so I created Nail Kandy.

Your designs are all so colourful and textural - where do you find your inspiration?

Thank you! I am inspired by everything around me. Fabric patterns, illustrations, feathers, insects, sunsets, candy, jewelry, cosmetics, ANYTHING glittery, and of course, other nail art! I love to create my own interpretation of existing designs I have seen. I will be inspired by a particular color or design on a nail and turn it into my own style.

Right now is Etsy your main focus with Nail Kandy? Do you see yourself pursuing other avenues from Etsy in terms of where to sell your products?

Right now Etsy is my main focus. Because of the detailed nature of my items, each piece takes me a long time to create and so I like the ability to just sell small quantities and that has been going well with Etsy. I also love getting customers from other countries! Now that I have started making nail polishes, I could see myself making larger batches (rather than 1 bottle at a time right now), and selling them in a shop.

Your shop has so many great gift ideas! What do you have lined up for the holidays?

Oh the holidays. I am always late for them! Right now I am making lots of nail polish jewelry (where you paint nail polish on the back of a clear glass or resin cabochon and turn it into earrings or rings. They really sparkle!). I've also made some special edition nail polishes in holiday colors, like Fruitcake and Tinsel on the Tree! (Did I mention I LOVE naming them?)

You also have some amazing earrings and rings in your shop. Do you plan on expanding your jewellery line?

Thanks! Well I do have the holiday earrings I'm working on, but I would love some extra free time to get more jewelry in my shop. I have boxes and boxes of findings and cabochons just waiting to be made into cute jewelry. Most of my items are summer themed so there will be lots more next year (and lots of nautical and beach inspired items).

Which colour and/or nail design is your go-to? (I love the sushi ones!)

The sushi ones are so much fun! They made me hungry when I painted them. My go-to design is anything animal print! Seriously. The world can't seem to get enough of Leopard and Tiger prints, especially in non-traditional colors. And animal prints are not as complicated to do as they look, sometimes they look even better when they are a bit messy because animal prints are not perfect in real life. Also, holographic colored polishes are very popular right now so any nails which have that rainbow hologram color change effect.

As for go-to colors, it depends on the season. Summer is definitely neons, but now that it's fall everything is darker and more neutral. Lots of jewel tones, greys and blacks. Christmas and New Years will bring back glitter, so lots of gold and silver glitters and more holographics. A newer trend is Rose gold and copper. I'm seeing a lot of Rose gold jewelry now and nails to match.

Check out the other items available from Kate in her Etsy Shop! You can find more of her work on her Tumblr and Facebook.

Interviewed by Katie of YourHeartsHaven in November 2012 in Toronto.

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