For Candace Henderson, founder of Cover Baddie Nails, nailcare started as a hobby and form of self-care. Fast-forward to today, her luxury press-on nails have been worn by celeb women like Ari Lennox and on the runway at New York Fashion Week.
If you look closely, you can see Cover Baddie Nails coming down the runway at Sergio Hudson, ALIÉTTE, Bibhu Mohapatra, and Anonlychild — a defining moment in Henderson’s blossoming career and she’s only getting started.
“Nails became my happy place where I could just relax and do some self-care after work,” says Henderson fresh off her debut at NYFW. “The challenge of having to paint within a very tiny canvas excited me and I wanted to learn more.”
So she took to Youtube, where she discovered a treasure trove of tutorial videos. She immersed herself in all things nails. As she developed her skill, she practiced on family members. “Everyone was blown away by what I learned in such a short period of time that I decided to launch Cover Baddie Nails, a high-quality press-on brand in December of 2020. It really worked out because it was a way for me to do nails and still be safe during the height of Covid.”
Henderson would catch her first big break when songstress Ari Lennox promoted her designs.
“I saw Ari Lennox tweeting about chocolate t****s (can I say that on here??? lol). I had just started Cover Baddie Nails, and made a chocolate brown set called ‘Blk Girl Nudes VOL 1’ so I shot my shot in her comments with a photo of my nails, link to my shop, and a caption “Speaking of chocolate…” She liked my tweet and in less than 10 minutes she placed an order for not just one, but two sets! Some celebs talk about supporting Black-owned businesses but don’t actually come through, Ari Lennox came through and I’m forever grateful to her for jump-starting my small business.
What’s Behind The Name
According to Henderson, “the Nail industry refers to neutrals and nudes for the nail bed as ‘cover colors,’ which aren’t always color inclusive.” And thus, Cover Baddie Nails was born.
“I came up with Cover Baddie Nails so folks with darker skin wouldn’t have to worry if our cover nudes would look good on them or not. I spend a lot of time researching nudes and how they look on us across the spectrum. I sometimes mix and make my own and test on family, buying from Black-owned nail brands also helps tremendously. It actually took me about 6 months to find the perfect nude for our ‘Cover Mani’ classic French because I refuse to slap just any color on a press-on and call it a nude.”
The 2020 pandemic became a launching pad for many aspiring entrepreneurs, who tapped into the need for services that were once easily accessible. Beauty shops and nail salons were deemed non-essential, creating a much-needed remedy to doing it yourself at home. We saw a rise in the popularity of at-home mani kits and press-on nails. Henderson is among dozens of other Black women who jumped into the business. But what differentiates Cover Baddie Nails from its competitor?
“Most high-end press-on brands make 10 nails..Cover Baddie Nails makes 28. And 16-18 for our custom baddie exclusives; it’s never just 10 nails. There’s also a reason press-ons have evolved..Nail Artists like myself are making them to not only last but reuse. Cover Baddie’s mission is to make high-quality nails that allow our customers to reuse more than the average press-on. Also, losing nails is very much a thing. The girls even lose acrylics! That’s why I make more than 10 nails with every order including replacements. Cover Baddie Nails are also exclusively designed by myself and you won’t find them anywhere else.”
Henderson, who enrolled in nail school this June, is one class away from graduation and getting her license. Henderson’s teacher would connect her to other students who have lent their talents to NYFW. “I shot my shot and she said yes!”
“Two days before the Sergio Hudson show, my teacher told me they needed press-ons with designs on every finger. She sent me the design, and I made 100 nails in about six hours. The problem was we needed 400 nails for 40 models, and there wasn’t enough time, so she decided our team paint the design on the models and use my press-ons as backup.”
Working with Sergio Hudson’s team was “exciting.” “His hair, makeup, and nail (Black-owned nail Polish brand Auda B.) team were all Black and POC so that was a great experience backstage. He also had a lot of top models like Chanel Iman, Winnie Harlow, Leomie, and Aoki in the show and I got to do nails on all of them. Chanel Iman, Leomie, and Aoki actually wore the press-ons I made so that was surreal. I got to paint Winnie’s nails and my team member did her design!
The high demand to create hundreds of nails was challenging, but Henderson got it done. “You have to be able to paint nails under the most extreme conditions,” she explained. It’s not like there’s chairs or tables backstage, so you have to get used to doing nails standing up, or sitting on the floor, sometimes under a table if you’re doing feet. You’re constantly getting bumped into because you’re working in small spaces, the models’ hands aren’t always still because they’re getting hair and makeup done, and you still need to somehow manage to paint accurately. You’re under a time crunch and have about five minutes to get both hands done. It’s nerve-wracking but also exciting because you really get to put your skills to the test.”
Shop Cover Baddie Nails, here.
Black-Owned Luxury Brand Cover Baddie Nails Had The Runway Covered At NYFW was originally published on hellobeautiful.com