Meet Nonie Creme — the mixologist with the mohawk. She’s the creative director of butter London and the girl about fashion town. When she isn’t doing business from her company headquarters in Seattle or romancing with her husband in London you can probably find her hanging around backstage at fashion shows mixing her own colours. Nonie’s created colors for anyone from Alexander Wang to Yigal and she just can’t be stopped, but who would want to stop her anyway? She’s keeping the ladies nails unique and probably some of the gentleman’s too. We got a chance to chat with Nonie about life, work and the fun behind butter London.
What is butter LONDON all about? And who is your target audience?
butter LONDON is all about exceptional colour. Colour with a difference, colour that we hope you’ve never really seen or thought of for your nails before. Our target audience isn’t really age specific, it’s more aimed at people who love fashion, and want to be able to join in on “behind the scenes” beauty moments from the shows. I designed most of our shades with specific designers for specific seasons. Those that aren’t straight off the catwalk are still designed around emergent trend coming out of those shows.
Why do you think so many celebrities are keyed in to your products and services?
A couple of reasons I guess. First – I’m old! I’ve been around for ages! I’ve been behind the scenes hand mixing colour for 15 years, long before butter LONDON was born. I was very fortunate in my career to have a high level of exposure to celebrities and fashion folks, and have made a fair few friends along the way. People are very keen on our non–toxic formulations as well. We always use the EU standard as our baseline for formulation, making our products the safest of their kind. Finally – the colours are irresistible!
Whose the strangest celebrity you’ve ever heard of using your products?
I am often backstage at the MTV Awards, where I get to work with music people I wouldn’t normally hang out with. Snoop Dogg was utterly charming and loved his manicure. Jesse J had a false nail drama that required me to scour backstage for a falsie, and Justin Beiber’s crew were so into our nail area that we ended up getting a butter LONDON serenade. One of Lady Gaga’s minions was sent out to collect Royal Navy and British Racing Green, but the Grande Dame did not leave her dressing room. Brilliant!
How do you decide the name and color palettes of your products?
I have been a life long student of fashion and colour. I have a Fine Arts degree, and did my work experience for Vivienne Westwood when I was a kid….she’s my hero. I pay close attention to everything I see and do when I work with a designer, and base our palettes on what I see happening in the fashion world. The names are kind of made up as I go along. My husband is a proper Londoner, with the most hilarious vocabulary – he’s quite the inspiration!
What’s your success story? From a manicurist to creative director of butter London, that’s pretty impressive.
That’s very kind, thank you. I studied Fine Arts and Art History, and a fair bit of colour theory. Colour is really it’s own language, and I’m just lucky I can speak it! I ran away from home when I left school and was suddenly living with “the band” in West London, disinherited by my posh parents. So, I did the best I could, and decided to learn how to do nails until my boyfriend could become a rich rockstar and support me…….
It was extremely rare at that time (1996) to use manicurists on fashion/celeb shoots, but I got talent spotted by an agent, who launched me into session work. Soon I was on set with the editors who would help me make my name as a”mixologist” of nail colour – a skill I used to create nail shades for everyone from Gucci to Jimmy Choo. A product range was always my dream, and finally I met a young British entrepreneur in 2006 who could help me realize it and run the business side of the company.
PS: I married the Rocker. 18 years and counting, but still no Ferraris I’m afraid!
Falling in love with a rock star must be fun. What’s that lifestyle like?
Well, he’ll be VERY pleased to hear you call him that! It was his dad who was the “proper” rockstar. (Lol Creme, 10cc) We were young and profoundly naive in many ways, so it was as messy as you’d imagine. I followed Arkarna (his band) all over the world, and there were plenty of groupies, fights, tears, and laughs – the boys still say I split up the band – as IF. Miraculously, we’re all still friends!
Can you explain the names of some of your polishes? Saucy Jack? Dosh? Minger?
Saucy Jack: Nickname for Jack the Ripper, as coined in the legendary film, ‘This Is Spinal Tap’.
Dosh: Dosh is Brit slang for money or cash. “Can I have a bit of dosh, love? I fancy a kebab.”
Minger: British street slang for an ugly person. “Did you see that face? What a minger!”
Do you have any other environmentally friendly products in the works?
YES! Watch out for our first range of lipgloss coming to Ulta stores in February. It’s incredibly dense, colour driven gloss that does NOT contain parabens, petroleum, phthalates, sulphates, or bismuth, and matches your favourite lacquer shades. Epic.
What’s your nail art of choice?
Gotta be the “freehand ombre” from last season’s Yigal Azrouel/Cut25 show. Snoop it – it’s beautiful.
Out of all the design houses you’ve worked with, which one is the most fun?
With February show looming, I’d better not answer that! They’re all so different to work with, some very quiet and serious, and others just totally out there. What I love the most is being able to sit and talk to the designer first hand about their inspiration, their muse, and how to mix a nail shade that helps complete her.