Celebrating the Beauty of Small Business | NAWBO

National Small Business Week starts this Sunday, May 5 – making this the perfect time to recognize women entrepreneurs everywhere who are launching bold concepts and creating fresh opportunities for all of us. 

We hope you’re planning to join us at the iconic Palmer House Hilton next Monday, May 6th, for NAWBO Chicago’s 36th Annual Achievement Luncheon. This year we’ve partnered with Crain’s Chicago Business to create a very exciting event that honors the achievements of NAWBO women and the strength of small businesses here and nationwide.

When we think about the way women-led companies are transforming the way we work, earn and achieve, there are so many reasons to celebrate. Did you know:

  • In 2018, women launched more than 1,800 new businesses every single day!
  • Women of color founded 64 percent of these new enterprises, and the trend is expected to remain strong.
  • Since 2007, the number of women-owned businesses has jumped by an astounding 58%. In fact, women now own 4 of every 10 businesses nationwide.
  • Women-owned startups generate 78 cents for every dollar of funding they receive, as compared with 31 cents for startups founded by men.

These exciting developments reflect the findings of a recent PayPal study that suggest women entrepreneurs have very clear goals in mind when they strike out on their own.

Freedom and autonomy were cited as major motivations to start new companies, the study found. Clearly, women are looking for the ability to shape their working lives around their own unique needs and, in many cases, the needs of their families. We dream of making a major impact in our chosen fields – and the opportunity to open doors for more women along the way.

Speaking of dreams, Monday’s luncheon will feature a keynote speaker who followed her bold instincts to reach the pinnacle of success in the beauty industry.

Jan Arnold, co-founder of Creative Nail Design, Inc., started her small enterprise with a patented formula that her father developed. Over the past 4 decades, Jan and CND have launched innovative products and designs that have literally transformed the beauty industry and changed the way American women wear nail color.

We hope you’ll be at the Palmer House to hear the story of how Jan turned her small company into a world-class enterprise that invests directly in the success of fellow women entrepreneurs, setting an inspiring example for leaders in all industries.

Learn more about Jan’s amazing career in this GameChangers profile.

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Jan Arnold, co-founder, Creative Nail Design, Inc.

Jan and her brother launched their small business in their family’s garage in Vista, California in 1979, starting with a patented formula and a big dream. Since then, Jan and her team have introduced bold new designs and products that have literally revolutionized the salon industry and transformed the way American women wear nail color.

CND Shellac™, one of the company’s best-loved products, made its debut here in Chicago. We are thrilled to welcome Jan as the keynote speaker for NAWBO Chicago’s 2019 Achievement Luncheon.

Tell us about Jan Arnold as a young person. Were you a science kid, a fashion kid, or some of both?  

When I was young I was always drawing, writing and creating. I loved watching the Miss America Pageant so I could sketch the girls in their gorgeous outfits! When I was 8, I entered a drawing contest sponsored by a morning TV show. It was National Dental Week, and since my dad was a dentist, I drew a tooth dressed in top hat and tails. Imagine how I felt when they announced I was the winner! I won a year’s supply of Hostess Twinkies, which Dad was NOT excited about … but pretty soon, our neighborhood was awash in sugary treats.

How did your father’s patent help launch your company?

One day Dad was fitting a custom crown on a patient who happened to be a manicurist, who told him that she recognized the scent of the compound he was using. In chatting with her, he realized it must be similar to products she used in her salon. That moment sparked an idea for a nail product based on a cross-linked molecular structure. This was the idea behind SolarNail™, our very first product.

Why was this revolutionary for nail coatings?

SolarNail was the very first nail enhancement product of its kind. It gave the nail coating a unique toughness, resiliency and color stability. It was very different from single-link polymer coatings that led to thickness, yellowing and brittleness. The unique chemistry of SolarNail enabled nail professionals to create thin, light, natural-looking nails – and the industry loved it.

Early on, CND made a commitment to help salon owners and nail technicians build a strong, loyal customer base. How has partnering with other women entrepreneurs fueled your success?

Then and now, most nail professionals are female business owners. These women were building a new industry in the 1980s as CND was making its start -- and I found that I loved working with them. They were smart and precise in their work, yet creative and fun, too. This blend of personality traits is what makes nail professionals so good at their jobs. I see them as the most influential of all salon professionals in the beauty industry.

What are your thoughts on building a business with family?

Family-owned businesses can be beautiful, especially when each person has a clearly defined role. In our case, Dad was our chief chemist, my brother was the manufacturing and finance guy and I was the go-to girl for creative marketing and client education. Our individual strengths came together in a unique way. It was especially sweet that we could disagree passionately during the business day, then sit down together at night to enjoy a family dinner, united as one.

What does a great manicure do for a woman’s confidence?

CND Shellac™ is one of the most important beauty breakthroughs of the last 4 decades. This product solved the problem of chipping, sheet marks, dulling, peeling, cracking and color fading. When a busy, active woman wears Shellac, she knows her nails will look great for 14 days or more! Perfectly polished nails say something powerful about us. They express pride in our attention to detail, our love of color, and the fact that when we shake hands and express ourselves, others notice how our hands look. And let’s be honest … it’s just a thrill when our nails look great! 

What has been your greatest source of personal strength as your company has grown and changed? 

Staying healthy and happy.  If you take good care of yourself and stay inspired personally, then you are free to support others in a generous way.

Could you ever have imagined becoming part of Revlon? What are your reflections on this latest chapter in your company’s history?

It’s stunning to think that our new parent company actually invented nail polish in 1932! Charles Revson’s original formula hadn’t changed significantly until we came out with Shellac, which revolutionized nail color as a product category. Revlon is an iconic beauty company and we are so proud to have their support and clout behind us.

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