Five years ago when Kitiya King started her nail polish brand Mischo Beauty, she had no idea it was going to take her on the rollercoaster ride that she endured. Equipped with a degree in chemistry and cosmetology, she knew that she wanted to launch some sort of product line. When her quest for toxic-free nail polish came up short (while she was carrying her son) she had her “Aha!” moment. The journey was filled with highs, and what she considers lessons (not lows), and arrived at Mischo Beauty being picked amongst thousands of businesses to participate in The Workshop at Macy’s.
Now, the retail giant carries her nail polish line online, and soon will be expanding that to their partner companies Bloomingdales and Blue Mercury. With her success, the D.C. based businesswoman is still humble, and still hungry—eyeing a full color cosmetics line, and full service brick-and-mortar equipped with skincare and hair styling services for her brand’s expansion. We caught up with the nail polish mogul to find out more about her personal beauty quirks before she strapped in for her next business adventure.
In terms of your own skincare, hair care and more, what are the things that you can’t live without?
I live and swear by facials. They need to be a part of everybody’s skincare beauty regimen. They are relaxing and they’re pampering, but to get that professional cleansing, by a licensed esthetician, you literally walk out of a spa with new skin.
Is there any nail product or accessory that you are so in love with that you kind of wish you’d created?
I’m working on a non-acetone nail polish remover which will be launched this summer. It’s going to be soy based. It’s formulated with vitamins A, C, and E. So it’s going to remove the nail polish, but you’re going to get the moisture, you’re not going to have that chemical fit. I wish I had done this years ago, but it’s happening now and I can’t wait to get it out on the market.
Which nail influencers and artists do you follow and admire?
There are some amazing women doing some amazing things with nails. My absolute favorite is Nettie Davis. The artistry behind her work is mind blowing. She’s a celebrity manicurist, so she does all of your top celebs. And she is pro-Black female entrepreneur. There’s a group of us that she has embraced and taken under her wing, and you know she wants to see us win. Another is Mimi D. I mean, once you go through her Instagram feed, you will see why. Honestly, I am inspired by the two of them.
What’s your opinion on men dabbling in brightly colored nail polish?
I’ve always been pro ‘do you boo’ from the very beginning, and that goes with gels, acrylics, the toxic free nails options, and just in general. But I love it. For men wearing nail polish, if it makes you happy, if it enhances what you’re doing, your form of artistry, or what have you, go for it!
What’s one of the nail trends or practices that you see people often doing that you wish they would just stay away from?
Fish pedicures make me cringe. Being a licensed beauty professional all I see is sanitation and disinfection issues with that whole set up. That cannot be a clean, safe practice. I’m also super particular about cuticle clippers because the cuticle is natural protection for your nail against bacteria, dirt, debris, whatever. So you have to be very careful with cutting your cuticles. It’s always best to push them back then use a cuticle eraser that will kind of just dissolve your cuticles, as opposed to cutting them.
What advice would you give your younger self or someone coming up looking to do what you do?
You need to get started. You can’t sit around and let perfection delay you or stall you. What if I hadn’t started because I was stuck on perfecting a particular color, or the packaging, or the website, or the log?. I never had funding. I had a business plan, but it wasn’t super robust. So really it was me using the money that was within arm’s reach, making a to-do list, using the internet, and getting busy with finding out the information that I needed to find out how to get this started.