Co-Founder and Style Director, Creative Nail Design
Posted on: June 10, 2012 | Go to profile
Jan’s career began accidently after her father, then a practicing dentist and chemist, discovered a liquid coating that could strengthen and beautify nails. Following the success of SolarNail™ Liquid, the Nordstram family formed the company Creative Nail Design, with Jan focusing on marketing and education. CND, now with global distribution in 92 countries and over 400 SKUs, continues to provide innovative and reliable nail products, empowering education in the industry, and practical business building tools.
Q: Please share with us the story of how your professional journey began and has brought you to where you are today.
A: Circa 1979, my father, a dentist and a chemist, discovered a cross-linked polymer coating that enhances and beautifies nails. He sought help from his family in order to determine business feasibility and a marketing plan. We built a family triad: Dad continued to invent, my brother worked out manufacturing and distribution while I built the marketing and educational aspects. Dad gave the original formula to his kids as a gift but vowed no seed money to build the business. This forced us to learn the industry, adopt Dad’s scientific philosophies and bring his innovation into the market through offering education for nail professionals. We moved into our first manufacturing facility within months. Dad died two years later. But his legacy lives strong in our company today, with global distribution in 92 countries, over 400 SKUs, real innovation backed by education and a family culture that fosters a committed team.
Q: What are 3 characteristics that you believe define great leadership?
A: Passion, Vision, People
Q: If a business has several, viable ways to grow and innovate, how do you pick the best road to take?
A: For sustainable growth, you must stay true to your vision and mission. You have to know who you are and stay true to it. There are many temptations that try to veer you off the path of business. Staying absolutely focused on the needs of your customer will make your choices clearer.
Q: What’s your best advice for an entrepreneur in an early/bootstrapping phase? Or in a growth/need to ‘now scale’ phase?
A: Building a business requires hard work, total commitment, your eyes on the vision and a tenacious belief in your cause.
Q: It’s hard to focus on the “big picture” sometimes because we can get caught in the weeds of work and life. When does visioning come clearest or easiest for you? Or what inspires your vision?
A: My customers and colleagues inspire my vision. I spend a lot of time interacting, observing and listening.
Q: A great negotiation can be game changing for one’s business or life. Studies have shown that men are much more comfortable negotiating and asking for what they want compared to women. What’s your advice to women who are uncomfortable negotiating?
A: I believe that a good negotiation is win-win. I have never tried to win in order to see the other party lose. I believe in partnerships and in staying loyal to good ones. Women are naturally good at partnerships.
Q: What do you believe makes a great brand?
A: A great brand must have consistency, dependability, excitement and availability.
ON Letting go
Q: Can you share an example of how letting go enabled you to reach something new?
A: I carefully nurture the early vision of a project and the early start of a budding talent. Once both take hold, I let go. This allows me to pioneer something new.
Q: Oprah has that great section in her magazine “What I know for sure.” What do you know for sure?
A: I know for sure that success requires hard work, passion and humility.
Q: What are the top 3 things that you do to stay healthy?
A: I eat very clean colorful foods, I run every day and I stay inspired through family, nature and art.
Q: In the world…what are your 3 Favorite Destinations?
A: Russia, Turkey, and Cuba; I love places that are expressing themselves through newfound freedom.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style is androgynous and eclectic.
Q: What are the beauty items you could not live without?
A: SolarOil, for nails and cuticles, LaVita RX skin care, and the Sonicare toothbrush.