Interview Friday is back! We had the pleasure of talking to Annie Pham, Founder of Cirque Colors, a beauty brand that focuses on hand-blended nail lacquers.
Wonderland Organics: Tell us a little about your background.
Annie Pham: I’m originally from Fresno, California. I moved to Texas, then to New York. You could say that I’ve been surrounded by the entrepreneurial life since I was young, as my parents have owned a retail furniture store in Chinatown since 1988.
Wonderland Organics: That sounds like a wonderful introduction to becoming an entrepreneur yourself! How did Cirque Colors come about? What’s your favorite product?
Annie Pham: Cirque Colors started in 2012, but I did a year and a half for market research and R&D before starting it. I also have a partner, who has been with Cirque Colors for a year now. I started getting into beauty after college, when I had disposable income to buy things. Since then, I’ve been a beauty junkie in general, and nail polish is just an extension of that. I love bright lipsticks and nail art experimentation. I discovered [the site] Makeup Alley, matte cosmetics, and new brands, which really opened my eyes to beauty. I was in the IT industry, and I worked for software start-ups, Big Four accounting companies, and large PC manufacturers. IT work paid really well, but I was unsatisfied with my job.
To find something truly fulfilling, I wanted to accomplish something on my own. I’ve always known that I wanted to be a business owner, even when I was younger, and follow in my parents’ footsteps. I took a logical route, with a business undergraduate degree at MIS, then focused on the corporate side to figure things out on my own. That’s the satisfaction– doing it for myself. It’s also scary, but it’s okay, because everyone goes through it. Just being in IBN makes me feel better, because of this network of amazing entrepreneurs.
Cirque Colors started in my apartment in New York, with a burst of sparkles and glitter everywhere. Luckily, we’ve moved all of the operations away to a new location! My favorite product is our new monthly release. We release 1 new color a month, which keeps up our momentum online. This collection is based on New York, called the Metropolis Collection. They’re cream colors, flat colors, and more matte.
Wonderland Organics: We really like the La Vie Boheme color! What does a typical day look like?
Annie Pham: I do social media on a regular basis. If I don’t post every day, I’m always thinking of something to post. We get most of our sales through social media such as Facebook and Instagram, so having an online presence is important. I also do product development and formulate the colors for our nail lacquers. I’m constantly on Pinterest coming up with inspiration for colors. For marketing, we concentrate on branding a lot, and that’s where most of our marketing goes towards.
Wonderland Organics: Busy as usual! What inspires you?
Annie Pham: NYC inspires me: the city and the people. Before moving to New York, I was living in Houston and Austin, which gives off different vibes. There, I had never heard of anyone opening up a shop that had “Ultra Purified Water”. In New York, people come here and do things that you’ve never heard of. I met a lot of fashion and jewelry designers, and it’s inspiring to be the type of people who are trying to pursue something that’s their passion. Whether they succeed or not, it’s motivating to be around this type of environment. Taking the steps to be in this industry is quite eye-opening. On the more creative side, I’m always walking around the city for inspiration. I also go to museums for color combination ideas.
Wonderland Organics: We like that you’re so proactive about inspiration in your city. Do you have any advice for people looking to go the entrepreneurial route?
Annie Pham: Don’t rush things, and do things right. Know that it’s okay to make mistakes, but we all learn from it. Expect to make them, and accept that we’re not perfect. It’s okay to take your time, and it’s hard to rush creativity. Start to create a schedule and have tasks done by a certain time, which helps to keep your business running more smoothly. There’s no wrong or right way to do a business. The best thing is to make mistakes, learn from it, and move on. That’s what makes us stronger.
Wonderland Organics: Great tips, Annie! And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog/website?
Annie Pham: I love how professional everything looks! If I want to buy something, I want the product to look like I can’t make it myself. I love how much it took to develop the site. Makes people feel better going to a website.
Thanks so much to Annie for talking to us! Feel free to check out their website here! What’s your favorite Cirque Colors nail lacquer?