Author: Hannah Gordon
A Buffalo-based nail polish line released a new line of colors and is set to release a holiday collection in the next few weeks.
Gridlock Lacquer, owned and operated by Lisa Menchetti, designed the Buffalo Neighborhoods Collection of polish with 10 neighborhoods as a starting point. The names in the line thus far are: Allentown, Black Rock, Elmwood Village, Fruit Belt, West Side Warriors, Delaware Park, Kaisertown, South Buffalo, North Buffalo and Old First Ward.
“There are many neighborhoods not represented yet—it’s a work in progress,” Menchetti said. “Many people ask why there isn’t a polish named ‘East Side.’ It’s not a slight. East Buffalo is huge and covers something like 1/3 of the total land that makes up the city. I think it makes more sense to identify individual neighborhoods that make up the East Side.”
Menchetti said her favorite polish from the Buffalo Neighborhoods Collection is Kaisertown because it’s her neighborhood. Kaisertown is retro pink, rather than a Polish red because it’s difficult to achieve a true red nail polish, Menchetti said.
“I’m still working on it,” Menchetti said. “Until then, I went with a 1950s retro pink color. I love the retro vibe Kaisertown has. [It has] lots of mixed-use buildings with old school signage.”
Haunted at Central Terminal is the only polish released from the holiday collection, but That’s Snow Buffalo, Queen City Christmas and Electric Tower Ball Drop will be released throughout November.
Gridlock Lacquer is approaching its first anniversary in December. Menchetti, 34, said she was originally interested in making the nail polish because of the possibility for names.
“Cosmetic companies have taken their marketing in another direction and started selling as much by the individual product name as for the color,” Menchetti said. “I liked the idea of naming a color after a place. People in Buffalo have such a strong sense of place and so much pride in their city that it was really just an idea to take something national and make it local.”
Menchetti said Gridlock Lacquer is considered an “Indie Polish Company” because it’s homemade and not mass-produced. She develops and makes all of the product herself, taking input from friends and family with name wording and feedback from customers about color preference.
The process is comparable to making soap or candles, Menchetti said. She starts with a 5-free base substance, which means the base substance doesn’t contain 5 of the most toxic chemicals found in commercial nail polish, according to Menchetti. Then she alters it to create a custom look.
“It depends upon the finish that I’m hoping to achieve,” Menchetti said. “It’s a constant work in progress to achieve a better formula, texture, consistency, more brilliant color, more aesthetically pleasing blend of glitters and better manufacturing process. There are differences from batch to batch because everything is hand mixed not measured by machines.”
Gridlock Lacquer is available at 12 stores across Western New York. Menchetti sells the polishes at the Broadway Market at 999 Broadway, Buffalo every Saturday from October through Dyngus Day, April 6 next year, and extra times during the holiday season.
“I’ll continue with a presence at the Broadway Market for the foreseeable future as I love the history of the Market and hope to contribute to revitalization of the market and the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood,” Menchetti said. “The Broadway Market is the only place that customers can go look at all products and it’s usually the place where they’d find the best price.”
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