What started as a passion project for a mom and a $50,000 investment has transformed into a multi-million-dollar brand. Piggy Paint shows that entrepreneurs don’t need a lot of capital to build a strong brand--just tenacity, determination, and a great product.
Melanie Hurley was an elementary school teacher when she had the idea for Piggy Paint in 2008. After seeing the issues caused by the chemicals in typical nail polish, Melanie set out to create a brand of non-toxic nail polish that was safe for all ages—especially her two young daughters.
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With no business experience, Melanie found a chemist online who helped her create the formula. Every decision at the beginning of the company was made with her daughters in mind.
Melanie and her husband invested around $50,000 upfront and were incredibly scrappy to grow Piggy Paint. Melanie focused on organic growth and sending samples to bloggers to spread the word, all while fulfilling orders and preparing for trade shows from her basement.
At one early trade show, Melanie shared a booth with a friend and spent days peddling products on her tiny table. She ended with ten wholesale orders, each around $150, and was ecstatic with the results.
It’s a far cry from where Piggy Paint is today, with multiple product lines, 20 employees, a network of sales reps, and products in 1,000 stores across the country. In 2021 alone, the company is on track to sell 2 million bottles of nail polish.
But it wasn’t always smooth sailing and steady growth. One of Melanie’s goals was to get Piggy Paint into Target stores. She got the chance in 2013 with a holiday promotion, but the program wasn’t executed well and the products didn’t sell. Melanie was discouraged thinking she had blown her big chance. It took several years of waiting for the right time, but the brand was able to get back in Target stores in 2017, where it is now a permanent fixture. The experience showed Melanie the importance of not giving up.
Melanie credits hard work and passion for the company’s success. Through the ups and downs, she hasn’t given up and worked hard every single year on her passion project.
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