Ainsley J Fox is a Portland local who grew up in a family of creatives, so it's no surprise that this self-professed foodie has combined her love of tasty treats with her love of nail polish. Visit Bridge City Mercantile soon to see all of the amazing colors we have in stock.
Tell me a little bit about some of your major influences growing up and how you eventually made your own company doing something that you love.
I’ve always been surrounded by creative ladies in my family, my Aunt owns a jewelry business (Peach Treats) and my Gram was a school teacher for many years, she's still creating something handmade every time I see her! My mom had dozens of bottles of nail polish growing up and when I started wearing nail polish it became a hobby to collect myself. Shortly I, too, had accumulated hundred(s) of bottles. My whole life I’ve been into gourmet foods and eating out or cooking with my family at home. One day it came to me that combining foods and nail polish could be a “thing”.
Who first encouraged you to become an artist?
My gram definitely sprouted my interest to dabble in art. She made it easy to pick up little crafts and fun sewing projects.
What is the process of creating nail polish? Do you have a studio at home?
At first I was making nail polish for myself at home by mixing minerals to topcoats, but when I decided to go full force and sell my product online and in stores I knew that I would need a manufacturer to help produce my product in large numbers. It typically starts with a name or idea of which food I want to create a color after, then we curate formulas together to fabricate those colors. Aside from mixing and pouring, everything else I do from my home here in Portland.
You mention that your “…line is 5-free, excluding the toxic chemicals: toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin and camphor.” When you began your work, were you aware of the toxic chemicals found in nail polish?
Being aware of what I put into my body has always been important to me. I slowly stopped eating meat throughout my teenage years and would read ingredient labels of everything I purchased. The same goes for beauty products, I didn’t want to know just want I was putting IN my body, but also what I was putting ON my body. I started exclusively buying OPI and Essie polishes because I knew they were 3-free. It wasn’t until really researching how to make nail polish that I found 5-free (excluding two extra toxic chemicals) was an option. All signs at that time pointed to GO FOR IT.
On your blog you write that you’re both a “foodie” and a “travel bug.” Is there any particular place or any particular food that you draw the most inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from everywhere: foods I’ve always loved, pictures I see on social media, a new fruit or vegetable I try during my travels. Every food has potential of being turned into a nail polish color!
What color has been most popular this season?
Ooh, that’s really hard. Neutrals are always very popular during the fall and winter months. I’d have to say Chai Tea Latte and Nori do very well this time of year, but so does Gold Gumdrop! Everyone loves a little glitter!
Click on any of the pretty bottles below to see more of Ainsley's Instagram pics!
Photography: Ainsley J. Fox