COCOBelle: Black Girl Magic At It’s Finest, Ginger + Liz

When Ginger Johnson and Liz Pickett met in 2006, the two had an immediate connection bonding over all things beauty with a particular obsession with nail lacquer and living a vegan lifestyle. During a conversation at brunch, the ladies shared that they’d both had harsh reactions to toxic ingredients in nail polish when they were teenagers. Suddenly a light bulb went off and Ginger + Liz Colour Collection was born. The non-toxic and 5-Free nail lacquer brand launched in 2010. Since then, their nail lacquer has been distributed in more than 1,000 locations nationwide. Get your daily dose of black girl magic below.

How did you guys meet?
Liz: We met through mutual friends years ago. People said, "You guys should meet! You have so much in common" - they were totally right!

How did the idea to start a business together come about?
Ginger: We both have always had dreams of owning a beauty brand since we were kids, something that we learned when we became friends in our early twenties. We would often brainstorm on various ideas and had the “aha” moment one Saturday afternoon sneaking in last minute manicures before going to a brunch party. We knew nail polish was universal, every woman wears it, and that there was room for improvement in the category.

Liz: Once we had the "aha" moment Ginger mentioned we literally hit the ground running and started planning our first color release and photoshoot. We were so filled with passion and couldn't wait to get working on our vision.
Where their any concerns being friends and starting a business together?
Ginger: We threw caution to the wind in that regard. I think we both acknowledge that we have a unique situation and we are on the same page when it comes to work/life balance, especially since we both have families.

Liz: Although we are friends we are fortunate to have a mutual understanding that the business needs come first. What helps with that is we are very passionate about the business of beauty so it is what we love to talk about and bond over anyway!

What has been some of the challenges that you both have faced starting and running the business? Ginger: As most business owners would attest, finances are a challenge in the early stages of business. It can be difficult to realize your dreams on a shoestring budget but can be done with careful planning and determination.

Liz: We have solo entrepreneur friends and see them become drained by the day-to-day non-stop life of being an entrepreneur. It is helpful to have a business partner AND friend to help you get through those inevitable challenging entrepreneur moments.

How do you manage a personal and professional relationship?

Ginger: We have a lot in common personally and professionally so it’s quite honestly a blessing.

Where the business is concerned what has been the most rewarding experience?
Ginger: The most rewarding experience where the business is concerned was when we got our opening order for Ulta Beauty. Three months later, Ginger + Liz was in over 1,500 locations across the nation.

Liz: I love when we receive tweets or IG captions and customers say "This is the best polish I've ever used!" When developing our formula and colors we wanted to have our customers feel this way so when they do we are thrilled - mission accomplished. Also, last month we were named Centric TVs "16 Women To Watch in 2016" which was very cool.

What is your business motto - words that you live by?
Ginger: How you start is how you finish. Start strong.

Liz: Relationships are everything

Please tell us about a day in your life. What is your favorite part of what you do?
Ginger: The mornings are a marathon! I try to get myself ready before my daughter wakes up but I usually haven’t gotten very far along when I hear little feet pitter patting down the hallway. And, just when I think I’m ahead of schedule, I get in the car and look at the clock and wonder what happened to the time! Liz and I usually are in the office around 9:30 and get right to work. 2-3 days a week we travel to Long Island, NY to visit our fulfillment warehouse to check on inventory and to oversee the shipment of online and retail orders. I wrap the first part of my day up around 5pm to go pick up my little one and focus on family fun, dinner etc. until her bedtime. Around 10pm I get my second wind and crack back open the laptop, usually with TV in the background, or else I’ll never catch an episode of anything! My favorite part about what I do is brainstorming, coming up with ideas to expand the brand is very exciting for me and seeing those visions through is the ultimate satisfaction.

Liz: Mornings can be unpredictable with toddlers (my daughter is 2 1/2) so waking up before they do is key for our sanity. It allows me time to mediate, get centered, plan and get a few things done before the "rat race" starts. Once my daughter is dropped off at school I quickly check emails and then dive into the top priority to-dos. The day is typically divided up by urgent ttds, connecting with our team, strategizing and planning, creative and social media. On days where my schedule is moving according to plan I have to get a work out in - lately I've been into Cycling.

Tell us about your self-care routine. How do you incorporate eating well and exercising into your busy schedule?
Ginger: I maintain a mostly vegan diet and over the years have learned a lot about how my skin, nails, and hair respond to certain foods. I usually start the day with old-fashioned oatmeal with fruit and agave or a fruit smoothie with spinach, coconut milk and flaxseed. Having a busy 3 year old makes exercising regularly a challenge so sometimes I get her involved. She thinks its fun to lift her legs and jump around. Meanwhile, I can get in a good 20 minutes. I need to be about that squat life though - the post baby body is so different!

Liz: I enjoy having a vegetable based diet because it really helps keep my energy up. Sometimes I will do food prep on Sunday so me and my family stay on course and eat well during the week. Since having my daughter I've learned I have to carve out time for exercise and "just do it" even if for only 30mins.

What 3 products are in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal? Those Holy Grail products you just can't live without?
Sircuit Skin’s Sircuit Addict+, a facial serum that moisturizes and gives a lovely dewy glow

Anastasia brow pencil. I can’t leave home without a little touchup.

Ginger + Liz Hand Toning Crème with tamanu oil. I have mild excema and have dealt with dry skin since childhood. Our hand crème is very rich and moisturizing without leaving a greasy feel, lasts long, and is non-irritating.


Ginger + Liz Argan oil remover wipes because they have a great smell and are extremely hydrating. I always have them in my purse

I'm always experimenting with new face creams, serums and mask but recently I fell in love with Derma E Smoothing Moisturizing Creme because it is paraben free, 100% vegan and really evened out my skin tone.

For more information about Ginger + Liz and to keep up with the brand, follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Ondrea Lee is an Operations Manger at Gold Label Cosmetics. When she's not busy helping run a blossoming start up, Ondrea enjoys blogging about her beauty and fashion favorites. And she is a big foodie. Instagram / Twitter / Blog