Dr. Lyn Lam and Terry Lam, co-founders of Kapa Nui Nails, prioritized listening to the concerns, needs, and wants of women throughout their careers.
After decades in health care, the Lams’ passion for educating women overflowed to a new industry—beauty, with a line of healthy nail polish products.
The decision to create Kapa Nui Nails was fueled by the discovery of a body-safe and environmentally-safe formula of nail polish. After researching the nascent water-based polish market, the Lams learned how damaging, and environmentally hazardous traditional nail lacquers are. They also learned how limited the market was for safer options.
“The more we learned, the more we thought, 'Why don't women know about this?'" says Terry Lam. "Just because a company says they’re 'non-toxic' doesn't necessarily mean they are...they can still contain harmful chemicals.”
"All of our products are truly non-toxic," Lyn Lam says. "If you take any of our products and you were to pour it into the ocean or on land, it does no harm. This chemical does not harm aquatic or terrestrial life."
Kapa Nui nail polish is made of only three ingredients—water, acrylates copolymer, and mineral pigments–the number of components in their recipe is far fewer than the traditional. This has allowed their consumer base to span all age groups and demographics including children, pregnant women, and people with cancer.
From their ingredients to their packaging, the Lams are also conscientious of what they use. The two work to minimize packaging and use as little plastic as possible.
Currently, Kapa Nui Nails' products are primarily sold in their e-commerce store and on Amazon. The company also has some wholesale accounts in health food stores on the Big Island.
"One of our challenges is that there is a central negative connotation associated with water-based polish - that they don't last," Terry Lam says.
But the Lams’ patented products disprove this perception. Together, Kapa Nui Nails’ Base & Top Coat Sealer provides chip resistance for 10-14 days.
"We want women to have something that they can be successful at right away," Terry Lam says about Kapa Nui Nails’ start set option."If you get two weeks out of traditional lacquer, you'll get the same out of ours."
The Kapa Nui Nail Polish Starter Set contains a starter size nail polish, Kapa Nui Base & Top Coat, Kapa Nui Remover, manicure sticks, remover pads, and a burlap travel bag.
The company also offers a Non-Toxic Nail Polish Remover that works on all lacquers.
"Even if you like your lacquer, go ahead and make one healthy choice," Terry Lam says, noting she hopes all nail polish lovers will start with integrating their healthy polish remover.
The Lams say their attitude toward launching their business was, "do it right the first time." They spent a year refining the products, branding and building their online store.
"The reception has been wonderful. So encouraging," Terry Lam says.
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Hawaiian Airlines® Bank of Hawaii World Elite Mastercard and Mana Up announce the third season of the Meet the Makers series featuring rising Hawai‘i entrepreneurs and their unique stories.