A mother, a surgeon, and a nail polish guru. Who is this ambitious (and very busy) woman?! Calling all scrappy entrepreneurs looking for inspiration! We are so proud to launch the very first post of our brand spankin’ new series: GirlBoss On the Rise. Every month we’re introducing you to interesting, purpose-driven businesses, from around the country, and the incredible stories about the women who launched them.
This month we are featuring a Q&A with the brilliant (and funny) Dr. Cary Gannon who launched a green and clean company, AILA Cosmetics. Named after one of her daughters, AILA (pronounced eye-luh) strives to provide gorgeous, lasting nail lacquers without compromising nail health or polish performance.
As a green beauty fangirl and, frankly, a passionate collector of nail polish, I came across AILA Cosmetics on a blog I’ve been following for the last six years. After trying out one polish, I was hooked. Not only was AILA’s nail polish excellent (and I’ve tried many, many brands, both high-end and low-end), but the story behind each polish made them unique. I loved AILA so much, I even wore the color “Make Him Wait A Day” on my toes for my wedding (it seemed fitting).
I was lucky enough to get in contact with Dr. Cary Gannon directly after she personally reached out to me to let me know about a mix up in orders. Not only was that incredible from a customer service standpoint, but we went on to have a conversation about potential future AILA nail colors. I mentioned my love of mint green, one thing led to another, and the color “The Perfect Bean” was born (see image below). Aside from getting married, making a contribution towards the story and creation of a brand new nail polish was pretty much the best thing that ever happened to a nail addict like me.
So, in my frenzy to continue to spread the word about such an amazing nail polish, company, and founder, here we are - featuring Dr. Gannon’s story and wisdom.
Dr. Gannon is a podiatric surgeon based in Tennessee, and during a very difficult time in her life she decided to say “no more!” to nasty people, nasty health habits, and nasty chemicals. She transformed her stress and grief into something truly beautiful: a clean nail polish company that helps others look and feel gorgeous without compromising their self care.
Since then, her company has become increasingly popular - creating a dedicated tribe of loyal brand advocates. Her nail colors (and their accompanying stories) have won the hearts of bloggers, nail salons, and makeup artists alike. We’ve tried them out ourselves and can attest to the fact that the colors are truly stunning. Even better, AILA polishes apply and last as long as any high-end nail polish. Because Dr. Gannon is both a surgeon AND a nail polish extraordinaire, it’s safe to say she’s a true #GirlBossOntheRise.
We reached out to her to delve into some of that girlboss wisdom, and here’s what she had to say.
True Thoughts from a True #Boss
What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring #girlbosses?
The number one thing I would say to anyone is that the global currency is relationships. Focus on people and building personal relationships and success will follow. Not everyone will like what you are selling but they will remember the relationship. Chances are they know someone else who may be looking for a product like yours and they will connect you. The sale is never more important than the relationship.
What inspired you to start your clean nail polish product line?
I was selling an alternative brand of nail polish in my office. I thought they were being disingenuous about the chemistry of the product and the claims they were making about the product. I called them to ask them some questions and they wouldn't answer the questions. I tried to communicate with them for two weeks and they would not communicate with me. I finally just told them that I would no longer sell their product and that I would be making my own. Ha!
What made you decide to become a podiatric surgeon?
I ran track and cross country at Auburn University and while I was there I had to have two knee operations. Dr. James Andrews is a highly respected orthopaedic surgeon who cares for all of the athletes at Auburn. After my surgeries he invited me to shadow him at his sports medicine clinic. He told me that I am too small to manipulate hips and knees and shoulders of large people (I weighed 92 pounds at the time) and that I would be better suited to the smaller bones and joints of the hands or feet. Since I was a runner, feet just made sense.
Do you have a favorite quote that you live by?
'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight' - Proverbs 3:5-6
'Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny' - C.S. Lewis
What's your ultimate pump-up jam before a busy day at work?
C O F F E E and then more coffee. There is nothing else. I know you want a song, but coffee is it for me. I like it black and I buy snooty coffee from foreign countries LOL.
Thanks, Dr. Gannon, for taking the time to connect with us and share your girlboss wisdom! We can’t wait to see what colors and products you come up with next.
For all of you entrepreneurs out there, keep chipping away at your goals - we are so inspired by each and every one of you and we hope that this new series inspires YOU. So keep hustlin’!
To keep the magic going, visit Radiant’s Instagram @radiantmarketing and see how you can WIN two bottles of AILA nail polish today!
AILA Cosmetics - check them out! Like, immediately.
Instagram & Facebook: @ailacosmetics
Radiant is committed to helping your small business thrive. We want to see you succeed and become your own girlboss! Check out our Free Marketing Guide for more advice, thoughts, and (of course) inspiration to get you going and keep you glowing!