OPI founder has her finger on the pulse of what women want.
- Written byRachel Heller
Maybe you’ve soaked up the Spanish coastal breeze with “Malaga Wine” on your fingertips. Or danced the night away at a Parisian discothèque in “You Don’t Know Jacques.” If you’re a woman who’s worn nail polish in the last three decades, you probably know OPI nail lacquers. However, you might not be aware of a provocative company motto not found on any bottle: Made in the Valley.
Based in north Hollywood, OPI is now celebrating 30 years as a leader in fashion-forward nail color under the creative guidance of executive vice president and artistic director Suzi Weiss-Fischmann. Known in the beauty industry as the “First Lady of Nails,” Weiss-Fischmann single-handedly concocts every OPI nail color to hit shelves based on each season’s fashion trends.
“I’ve always had a good sense of color,” says Weiss-Fischmann, an Encino resident. “I love fashion and decorating. Color has always been a big part of who I am.”
Her artistic impulse is matched by her entrepreneurial spirit. Fresh from a stint in New York City’s garment industry, the Hungarian-born Weiss-Fischmann moved to L.A. in 1981, just as acrylic nails were taking salons by storm. She teamed up with her brother-in-law, who ran a dental-supply business, and crafted an acrylic extension that made women’s toes curl with delight.
Eight years later, OPI was a household name with a consumer line that made eye-popping colors available worldwide. From the best-selling “I’m Not Really a Waitress” to “Lincoln Park After Dark,” Weiss-Fischmann has so far createdmore than 1,500 unique shades.
She directs her boundless energy to good causes too. When a friend was diagnosed with cancer, she formulated “Breathe Life,” a shimmery, sky blue shade, and donated proceeds to the Lung Cancer Foundation of America.
Outside the lab, this mother of two is a self-professed hamburger addict at The Counter in Studio City and can also be found perusing style forecasts from Paris to Milan to create new lacquers. Job ever get boring? Nope, she says, adding, “There’s always a new red.”