Several weeks ago my facebook feed began to display images of fingernails. Friends around the country were enthusing about Jamberry – a US nail company about to launch in NZ.
As someone suffering the consequences of a childhood spent nail biting, my interest was piqued. I paint my nails from time to time and once even had acrylic nails. But these days I would never pay money to have my nails “done” at a salon. My polish usually chips within a day or two leaving me with messy nails that I then have to patch up or start again. I also hate waiting for nail polish to dry. Impatient personality = smeary nails. These Jamberry nail wraps seemed appealing – no drying time, no smudges or mess, lots of cool designs. Could they possibly redeem my weak, peeling, bendy nails in a cheaper and less smelly way than a salon manicure? I found a consultant-to-be and requested my own sample. Here’s what I received from generous consultant, Louise, based in Christchurch:
Jamberry encourages customers to take the “Seven Day Challenge,” applying a Jamberry nail wrap to one or more nails and painting the rest with your favourite nail polish. You then compare how well the two products withstand your daily life during the 7 days.
The wrap were quite easy to apply, needing a heat source to activate the adhesive (hairdryer is suggested), scissors, cuticle stick and nail file. The instructions warned that the wraps wouldn’t adhere well to cuticles and so I dutifully pushed my neglected ones back. The wraps flapped around a bit in the hairdryer and stuck to the tweezers I was using to hold them which was a bit awkward. But in the end I really liked the way they looked on my nails! Really, really liked them – so much that I joined the fans posting images on facebook!
They lasted brilliantly compared to the nail polish I chose. Admittedly, that polish was cheap ol’ LA Colors brand so I’m not sure how much of a competition it was. I’m curious to try Jamberry’s own nail lacquer for comparison. I failed to take a picture on day 1 but below is an image of how my nails looked after 5 days. (2 coats of polish + a top coat vs the Jamberry wraps)
Jamberry suggests that the wraps should last up to two weeks on fingers. After about ten days three of the samples had started lifting a little at the cuticle edge and sides. They still looked great and felt secure but my hair got caught in them when I tied it up. This bothered me a little. I was able to reheat and stick them back down (youtube has hundreds of tutorials on this and every aspect of Jamberry nails!). One of the samples, however, lasted through 17 days of laundry, gardening, dishes, scrubbing the shower etc without coming unstuck at all. I was impressed. I went online and made a wishlist. I booked two parties. I started spreading the word!
Since then I have applied Jamberry samples to several other friend’s nails and am getting better at it. While Jamberry would love you to believe that it’s a quick job, I have found that it pays off to apply them carefully – with a good amount of heat and pressure. (While I haven’t actually timed it, I estimate that the Jamberries would be quicker than applying 2 coats of traditional nail polish and a top coat). There are lots of tutorials with different application methods using plastic bags, wheat bags etc but I couldn’t be bothered with such complexity! The hair dryer worked well although I can see that a Jamberry mini heater would be great for times when a quieter heat source is desirable! Another useful item was a plastic (rubber?) cuticle pusher which I bought at the Warehouse for about $2. This helped the wraps stick on really well. Jamberry include them as part of the application pack that you can buy.
I’m now on day seven of my second 7 Day Challenge and there is no sign that the Jamberries are shifting at all! I’m looking forward to moving on from samples and ordering several full sets now that I’m convinced of their quality.
However, in the midst of all this positivity I can’t help but feel that Jamberry is not making it easy for NZ customers to actually get hold of their product! Jamberry is a direct marketing company and the products are ordered online, through a consultant’s website and then shipped to the customer. This is where my disappointment kicks in. The shipping is a whopping great NZ$10.95 on orders less than NZ$72.99. One sheet of wraps costs NZ$24. Shipping therefore adds 45% to the cost of a single sheet of wraps! Jamberry actively promotes their ongoing “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” offer which sees four sheets of wraps cost NZ$72 and is definitely better value. But even then, a customer is still looking at adding nearly NZ$11 to ship their order. To qualify for free shipping you have to place a rather substantial NZ$216 order all at once! Personally, I think this is a real obstacle for people wanting to try them out.
I am currently putting together a bulk order in the hope that I can help friends and family avoid the crazy shipping costs. This involves a bit of inconvenience – collecting money and distributing the wraps once they arrive. Customers should not have to act as “distributors” in order to save on shipping, nor should consultants, who are acting as marketers for the company, have to absorb these costs themselves in order to sell the product. I intend to take advantage of B3G1 but the price of shipping means I am unlikely to “top up” with an extra sheet or two later on. I doubt I’ll buy any more until I am ready for another bulk order – in a year? Two years? Jamberry needs to revisit their shipping strategy if they are serious about repeat customers which will be vital in a smaller population market like NZ.
Shipping issues aside, I do love Jamberry nail wraps! They are durable, easy to apply and above all, beautiful! It’s amazing how a little bit of pretty can brighten my day! There are more than 300 different designs with something to suit many tastes and contexts – from the office to weddings – geometrics, florals, chevrons, solid colours, French tips, themed wraps…
My 10 and 12 year old daughters love them, too, and have added most of the available designs to my wish list! They are both currently sporting 11 day old samples which are still stuck firmly on. At this age, they are ok with having their cuticles pushed back a bit for application. I’m not sure how that would go with younger girls but Jamberry do have a gorgeous range of Jamberry Juniors sized for girls 9 and under. I’m hoping that there will be some young, hip girls to try them out at my home party!
Alicia, my wonderful Dunedin based Jamberry consultant, is doing an outstanding job of answering my questions, running fun, interactive parties (both in home and online), providing samples and promoting these great products as she launches her Jamberry business. I appreciate her positive, upbeat style, authenticity and honesty. All the best with Jamberry, Alicia!
Now, as for me, I should try to tone down my Jamberry enthusiasm! Perhaps back to posting photos of children and birthday cakes…