Name: Josh Espley
Company: Alpha Nail
Location: Austin, Texas
What he does: Alpha Nail is changing the perception of nail polish with its line of 10 nail polish products designed specifically for men. “Everything about our products is geared toward men. Instead of using a dainty feminine brush to apply the polish, our product is a pen with a simple click mechanism that is easy for men to use and doesn’t require toe separators," Espley says. "We even use Citral and Ginseng, which specially help increase stability and prevent cracking in men’s nails. Our colors are very masculine, with both matte and metallic colors, along with a few nontraditional colors like Pirate Gold. Even our website makes it obvious that our products are for men.”
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How he started: Espley noticed that several of his male friends were wearing nail polish, and that even his friends in the fight industry were using nail polish to cover up their bruised and ugly toenails from their fights. “I saw that men in my social circle were getting more manicures and focusing more on grooming, but were often having to buy female products instead of products designed for them. I realized that there was a need for products designed by men for men," Espley says. "The men’s cosmetic industry really is wide open. Nail products aren’t inherently male or female, and we are showing that nail polish can actually be very masculine.”
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Why he's a game changer: “In addition to being the only nail polish product specifically for men, we are breaking the traditional mold of the cosmetic industry. A lot of the cosmetic products that are marketed towards men, such as body wash and lotions, are formulated from a women’s cosmetic company perspective. But Alpha Nail is giving men products that are geared specifically for their needs that are designed by other men. For a small company like ours to infiltrate the market with a niche that the big companies have not thought of is really a game changer."
What's next: Alpha Nail will soon be offering a clear coat nail polish for men who want to protect their nails without having color. The polish will include extra fibers designed specifically to strengthen men’s nails. The company is also planning to introduce a concealer product in the near future to allow men to cover under-eye circles, blemishes and scars without having to use a concealer designed for women.Meet more entrepreneurs in our Game Changers series.
Game Changers is a new series from OPEN Forum, spotlighting innovative entrepreneurs who are disrupting their industries or the business world as a whole. Know a Game Changer? Submit tips at email@example.com.
Jennifer Goforth Gregory is a journalist with over 17 years professional writing experience. Jennifer blogs via Contently.com.
Photos: Courtesy of Alpha Nail