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As a fashion blogger I feel it is our responsibility to be fully aware of where our products come from, how they influence our environment and our self-being. This is why I have fallen head over heels for Kester Black, a nail polish range created by the creative mind of Anna Ross. As someone who suffers from continuous allergies, products like Kester Black are essential for my day to day beauty routines. I was lucky enough to steal away a few minutes of her time to discuss the birth of Kester Black and their newly launched water based nail polish remover (it smells too wonderful!).

Items used in my shoot
Water Based Nail Polish – Get Here | Peach Melba Nail Polish – Get Here


TFH: Kester Black is such an innovative beauty product, what inspired you to create it?

AR: Kester Black actually began 4 years ago as a clothing label while I was studying a Bachelor of design, majoring in fashion in the South of New Zealand. When I graduated, my wise mother dearest suggested I broaden my horizons overseas which would bring more opportunities than staying at home and working on my label. I packed my bags and began searching for a job in Melbourne. The experience didn’t quite work out the way I was expecting it to.

After landing myself a job in retail, I thought I’d better get something creative happening to keep my portfolio growing. I began making jewellery and selling it back to New Zealand where that seemed to be quite successful for a few years. After a year in retail, I finally landed my dream job: design assistant for a well-known Australian fashion label. I worked in that role for just over a year until I was offered a production manager role for another large company in the industry. The pay they were offering was more than double what I was on, but the catch was that I would have to give up my own little business. I felt like I had worked so hard for the last two and a half years to just give it all up. So I turned down the job, and worked on building my business.

In the mean time, I had decided I was bored of merely working with sterling silver and began researching enamel paints to use on the jewellery I was making. It led me to looking into nail polish, and I really saw a gap in the market. I decided to manufacture and sell my own nail polish line to complement my jewellery. It was a major turning point in my career when, as the jewellery market had become really saturated and my nail polish sales were going through the roof, that I decided to focus solely on the nail polish side of things and lay the jewellery to rest.

TFH: What recyclable products do you use to make a Kester Black nail polish?

AR: All Kester Black products are packaged in recyclable materials. Maintaining our brands ethos is something we hold in the highest regard because it’s what keeps us feeling good about our name and about the environment!

TFH: How does it feel to be apart of the movement for animal cruelty free and sustainable beauty products?

AR: It feels great, like we are contributing to something hugely important.

I am a passionate believer in sustainable business practices. It seems to me that one of biggest factors facilitating environmental degradation is a lack of accountability.

I think one of the biggest challenges in changing people’s behaviour across a broad social spectrum is the “why me?” attitude. People resent being asked to make sacrifices if they see that people around them aren’t doing the same, even if those sacrifices are relevant to a greater good.

I believe that this attitude is what drives unethical business practices and also what enables consumers to justify supporting those businesses. It’s not as if people set out with the intention of buying toxic cosmetics that have been tested on animals, it’s just that they don’t necessarily recognise the implications of their choice.

I consider myself to be a conscious consumer and I am really aware of the fact that my purchasing decisions are one way that I exercise social influence. When I started Kester Black I had to address this social responsibility from the manufacturing side.

I didn’t want to participate in the exploitation of animals and natural resources for the sake of my profit margin and it was really important to me that my business reflected my values. At the end of the day, if manufacturers aren’t providing ethically produced options, consumers won’t have an alternative.

TFH: Where did you grow up?

AR: I was born in Dunedin NZ and grew up there too. My family has a holiday house in a tiny town called Hyde, in Central Otago (middle of the south island). We used to go there every weekend, so I spent a lot of time on our neighbours farms learning to drive (far too young), and riding horses to the river to swim.

I was a crazy child, choosing to dress myself from age 3, and refusing to let mum decide my outfits for me. I always loved to bake, however I would usually steal most of the mixture to eat before we got to the baking part.

I was also a tomboy! I played rugby for 14 years! After primary school I went to quite a prestigious all girls Anglican high school in Dunedin where I wasn’t very well liked, to say the least. I didn’t conform though, and I always spoke too loudly in class. I excelled in Photography and Design and dropped maths and English as soon as I was able!

TFH: What is your favourite colour combo of Kester Black nail polish?

AR: I’d love to quote my mother and give the very democratic answer of “I love all my children equally”, but I’ll be honest and say that Prenup, Lilac and Bubblegum are my three current favourites. We bring out so many colours though, so it’s bound to change soon.

I guess I love pastel shades because while they are soft and calming, they are also really cute and fun at the same time; these are rare characteristics to find all at once, but fantastic when they do suddenly come together.

TFH: Tell us about this new nail polish remover

AR: Our new Nail Polish Remover is a product we have been very excited to release to the public! It has a water base and a beautifully soft white peach fragrance. We are welcoming this product with open arms (and nostrils)!

It contains moisturising aloe vera and nourishing vitamin e to soften the skin and strengthen the nails while it removes colour, and is acetone and acetate free as well as non-flammable.

Like all Kester Black products, this one is Australian made and Choose Cruelty Free (CCF), Cruelty Free International and Vegan Society accredited. Its available at our online shop for the RRP of $20.

TFH: Will we see Kester Black branching out into makeup products?

AR: Makeup is an area we are yet to invest in, but we are currently spending a lot of our time on skincare and lifestyle product development and some great ideas are set to go into motion. It’s all very exciting!

Make sure to follow them on social media

Instagram @kesterblack | Facebook