My name is Lara Hill, and I am the Marketing Director for InSite Solutions /  That’s my thumb in the picture below. Any guesses as to why I took a picture of my thumb to post as the subject of a blog post?

stop painting

It’s not to show my “thumbs up” approval of And as much as I would like to brag, I am not showing off my new glittery gold manicure, that I did all by myself.  The theme of this blog actually ties into the most important underlying theme of our company, which is “why it makes sense to stop painting”.

But bear with me while I tie in my thumb selfie.

Over the weekend, I decided to try an alternative to nail polish. I found some peel and stick strips that were advertised to “last up to ten days”.  I was waiting for my son to finish soccer practice, and looking for a way to entertain my daughter and myself for another hour. So I bought a box for each of us.

I typically don’t paint my fingernails because the paint doesn’t stay looking perfect for more than a day or two. By day three, the paint from even the best professional manicure starts chipping away, leaving nails that look worse than if they were unpainted. Even if I do want my nails to enjoy a day or two of color, the painting process is so tedious. I have to have good ventilation, I have to apply multiple coats, and my hands are rendered useless until my nails are completely dry.  Even when the paint looks and seems dry, sometimes it hasn’t fully cured, and I end up with scratches and smudges that look like a 4 year old painted them.

So, I decide to try these new “polish strips”. For those of you wondering, I got them at Walgreens for about $5. But the price point is not, well, the point at all.

alternative to painting

I should have known better than to leave my 9 year old daughter unsupervised with a new pack of nail decorations. I found her later, and was worried my $5 was wasted by her futile attempts at proper application. I was wrong. She came over smiling, to show me her new pink sparkly nails. She had put hers on all by herself, and they looked great.  I was amazed. I asked her, “Did you read the instructions?” “Yea, I did, after I was finished putting them on.” (Any mother of a young girl should appreciate this. We have been through many painful episodes involving screaming and nail polish stains.)

I put on my nail polish strips and they looked better than expected. I thought, “Ok, this is cool for now, but how long will this hold up to my daily routine?” Sometimes my life seems like an alternating pattern of typing and dishwashing. Hence my lack of enthusiasm to shell out $30 for a professional manicure.  Just not worth the time, money, and effort for a few days of fresh paint.

So, a week has passed and here I am taking photos of my nails and blogging about them. Nine out of ten of my nails still look good. Not perfect, mind you, but much better than nail polish would have looked at this point. One of the strips did partially peel off my left pinky nail. But all I had to do to fix it was pull off the old strip, and peel and stick down a new strip. I didn’t have to bother with acetone and cotton balls, I didn’t have to wait for a couple coats of new paint to dry. In fact, I fixed it while laying on the couch.

If I want to paint my nails, I have to have all the right conditions in place: a well ventilated room (or nice weather to go outside), plus enough time to complete the whole process, including dry time. I have to have a window of time where I can afford the luxury of not using my hands at all.  Can’t cook, clean, work, or even eat. And then, a couple days later when they need to be touched up, I have to line up all those conditions again.

As a busy working mom, I appreciated a system that allowed me to do my nails any time, any place. I wanted to be able to do my nails in those random pockets of downtime that unexpectedly present themselves, like when ballet rehearsal runs over, or I’m stuck in the carpool lane.

And then it hit me how similar this whole thing was to the value proposition of a product that, in my working life, I have been working hard to promote for years:  Superior Mark floor tape.  At work, we are always striving to communicate these exact points to our prospective customers, who need a way to mark the floors of busy industrial facilities. Painting lines on the floor takes a really long time, and it requires a lot of coordination between various people/departments. The area has to be closed to traffic, production has to shut down, and not just for the painting part. Preparing the floor for the paint requires surface preparation methods like shot blasting, grinding, or acid etching.

Then, after the paint finally dries, and the daily routine starts back up, there is inevitable maintenance. It won’t stay looking perfect for long. But it becomes about the percentage that needs to be redone, and how convenient it is to do that. I was so satisfied with the polish strips because, after a week, only 10% needed replacement. That’s what we try to explain to our customers. The reality is that in industrial facilities, there is heavy traffic that can, at times, damage sections of the tape. But if it’s only 10% that gets damaged, and you can fix it in minutes without having to coordinate anything with anyone, doesn’t the convenience of the process make the decision to stop painting an easy one?

It’s all about convenience. Our customers often have last minute notice on audits, safety inspections, and important visitors. They want their floor markings to look great, but the process of getting to that point has to be convenient. Quick, easy, dummy proof even. A nine year old should be able to do it unsupervised without reading the instructions.