Just last week we were sent a very exciting email at our blog- we were invited to an event in Seattle from Marie Claire magazine! Unfortunately, Jessica lives in Wisconsin, but I relocated to a city about 2 hours away from Seattle a few months ago, so I was able to make it! Despite having a sick husband, a two week old baby, and an extra hour added to our trip due to fire/smoke detours (central Washington is a great smokey mess lately), we were able to make the trek. I see after tonight why new mothers are scared to venture into public shortly after giving birth- I nursed my baby in Nordstrom’s fitting room and almost didn’t make it to the event.
As if I didn’t already have enough to deal with, I flicked the power button off of my phone somehow and it broke off, so I don’t have any pictures from the event. I was told Marie Claire magazine’s Facebook page would have pictures posted of the event, and there were lots of photographers taking footage, so I’m sure I’ll be in some of them. Once the pictures make it online I will be sure to re-post this with some pictures included. They had one of those boards up like they have at red carpet events that you could stand in front of and have your picture taken, and I’m sure there are lots of horribly awkward pictures of me standing alone in front of it, as well as trying my hardest to mingle.
The event was very unique- it centered around Women in Business and is a series put on by Ruth’s Chris Steak House. I stumbled upon a NY Times article that describes in better detail what the series is about. Ruth is a woman who put it all on a limb, mortgaged her house and bought a steak house. It was in the 1960’s and a tough time for women in business. Ruth paved the way for women in the business industry, which is why it was important for her restaurants to celebrate entrepreneurs. The Q & A with Sasha Muir from butter LONDON was very inspiring and I learned so much!
Here are a few things I learned tonight (aside from the fact that I’ve been saying Marie Claire wrong all this time…it’s pronounced mahr-ee claire with an emphasis on “mahr”)
Sasha is the founder of butter LONDON. She wanted a name that was fresh, sexy, and luxurious. She chose to name her company after butter, because it’s so good and when you put too thick of a layer on your toast it’s a bit naughty. People told her the name would never catch on.
She was an engineering major and self professed geek and never considered the fashion market. She ended up in the nail polish business because she found a niche that hadn’t been filled. Nail polish in America in 2005 was ugly colors, unattractive bottles that you would want to put in the bottom drawer when you were through using, and very harmful. She wanted to create something that was 3 free (she was the first to sell nontoxic nail polish in the US) in a beautiful bottle that you would want to keep on your dresser.
Her business model included opening a location in the Sea-Tac airport. It’s a brilliant idea because think of how many millions of people pass through the airport from different countries- people from all corners of the world get a manicure during their layover and then they are dying to buy it!
Now that butter LONDON is a corporate company, Sasha is less involved than she was when she founded her company. She does not pick out nail polish colors for her own line anymore, but rather has a global director who makes decisions like that. She is branching out and starting to open more businesses instead, which is more of her passion. In the last few years, she opened a company for high-end children’s undergarments called Knickerbocker Glory as well. She says she stays just involved enough to feel like she’s still part of the company while maintaining some space to pursue other dreams of hers.
her fingers and toes
When asked if she frequently has her nails done, she said she always has her toes done, but her fingernails are only done every 2-3 weeks. As a mother, she said it’s impossible to always have them done, so it’s kind of for special occasion.
She lives in Seattle and has 3 kids at home, so how does she have the time? Sasha says she gets up super early and goes to bed super late but enjoys the flexibility her job gives her and wishes everyone could have the opportunities she does to be with her family. Gotta love it!
first sold at
The first places to sell butter LONDON were Nordstrom’s and Ulta.
If she had to pick a mistake she’s made with her company, it would be selling Knickerbocker Glory at all 17 Nordstrom’s locations at the same time right out the gate when they started. It was a lot of responsibility to have that much stock right away. Thankfully, the more businesses you have, the quicker you learn from your mistakes and as she mentioned, can see things coming from a mile away.
The economy affected her business negatively in 2008. She had to make a difficult decision to close all of her butter LONDON locations except for the Seattle ones in order to skate by.
She mentioned she wanted to be more involved in the community as a personal goal. She is currently working with rape victims as one of her interests in that vein. When asked if she would consider combining that platform with butter LONDON, she said she preferred to keep her business life and personal life separate.
She is currently working on opening a third business, of accessories! She refused to give any further comments on the matter. However, when prodded about it and asked how hers would be different than other accessories, she said that rather than breaking the mold, she prefers to tweak the mold.
taking it slow
In her businesses, she says she prefers to take things slow. For example, she will introduce certain products into her line at butter LONDON like the Lippy. She will launch it and see how the reception is, then bring it back in to tweak it, then try again. A danger in business is doing too many things at once, launching too many things at a time…taking it slow is a much better approach so you can see where interest is at.
I got the opportunity to shake her hand after the Q & A. She was thrilled to hear that we’ve blogged about her nail polishes and seemed genuinely appreciative that we cared to blog about her products.
- October issue of Marie Claire and a supplementary copy with Chelsea Handler on the cover, woot!
- A new Jergen’s Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer product
- Jurlique Hand Cream
- A wine cork that keeps your wine fresher
- butter LONDON nail polish and Lippy combo pack
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House gift card for $25
- a handful of mints