GTPulse: Traverse City Woman Makes Nontoxic, Vegan Nail Polish

Nail polish, for me, is a connection I have to my sense of femininity and to childhood memories. My mom’s friends had rounded square acrylics that usually had some kind of design on them, my aunt kept it basic with bright shades of red and purple on her natural nails. I hardly ever wear nail polish or get my nails done (my torn up cuticles are proof) but I remember when my grandmother used to do my nails. I’d go over to her house to stay the night and she would let me pick a color for my fingers and a color for my toes. Miniature bottles of deep berry and jewel tones transitioned into beige and pinky nudes, her favorite shades to wear. As I got older I never kept up with keeping my nails painted, but I always appreciate the happy feeling associated with picking out a nail polish color, and having a shiny new manicure. KC Springberg works to bring people that feeling of happiness through fresh nail colors with her polishes, Northern Nail Polish.

KC is a Traverse City local and shared my sentiment towards nail polish colors.

“I enjoyed painting my own nails and found it to be a really therapeutic activity. I read an article about how toxic regular store-bought nail polishes are, so researching how to make my own healthier alternative became a real passion of mine,” she said.

Regular nail polish can be laden with all sorts of animal materials like fish scales, crushed beetles, guanine and animal fat. Many are also made with toxic ingredients like formaldehyde, phthalates and other harmful chemical ingredients. KC researched and experimented to find a formula that would be vegan and free of harmful chemicals. The first color she made was a shimmering greyed-taupe polish with scattered gunmetal hexagonal glitters that she named Petoskey Stone.

“Finding the correct ratios of ingredients to ensure the nail polish behaved just how you want it to was the hardest part. Making sure it dried fast, stayed on the nails for a long time, applied opaque in one to two coats, and creating the colors I desired.”

KC initially just made the polishes for herself. She loved painting her nails and wanted to do it in a way that was healthy and sustainable. She experimented with different colors and wore the polish just for herself before friends and family started asking questions about the polish. Soon, those same friends and family were wearing KC’s nail polish and she started thinking about expanding.

“Just made it at first for myself, then I began sharing it with family and friends, and all the positive encouragement I got from them made me want to go for it! Started selling online and at arts and craft shows locally.”

Starting a business is intimidating for anyone, but KC’s mind was slightly at ease due to a business bachelor’s degree she earned as well as having experience managing retail stores.

“It’s still a lot of hard work and commitment to launch your own business, especially when you are both the entrepreneur and the maker of the handmade product. It certainly adds more to the challenge. “

The big challenge for any new business owner is getting exposure. KC takes all the opportunities she can to grow the business. She regularly attends craft shows, markets and events locally and around the state as well as works with local boutiques who would sell her product.

Northern Nail Polish is a full time job for KC. She works from home sending out orders, making fresh inventory, creating new colors and collections, running her business’s social media and a handful of other administrative tasks that compete for her attention. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I am always busy and never have a dull moment! I have the opportunity to be creative in everything I do, I get to make my own hours working from my home studio, spend more time with my toddler, and travel on weekends to craft shows.”

When she’s not creating new shades or working on orders, KC also works as a photographer, enjoys spending time with her son, painting, and spending time outdoors camping, or skiing.

“The natural beauty we have here is second to none! I think that’s why our community is so great, because we all get to be around the freshwater lakes, enjoy all four seasons, and because of that, we have such an inspired creative community!”

KC has everything from metallic shades, shimmers, sheers, mattes and glossy. A theme that remains consistent through her shades is where she draws inspiration from and that’s from her home in northern Michigan.

“This summer I had the opportunity to vacation on Beaver Island, and I was snapping photos and thinking of nail polish names and shades along the way. My creative brain is always “ON” so I take advantage of that wherever I go.”

Northern Nail Polish is available locally at Eclectic Avenue, My Secret Stash, Wildflower Soapworks, Relish, and Adams Madams. It’s also available at the

With shades like Leland Blue, Petoskey Stone, White Pine and Cherry Festival it’s fun for Michiganders to have a little taste of home right at their fingertips.


Categories: GTPulse