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Anna Ross, Founder of Kester Black

Georgia chats to Anna Ross from Kester Black, and learns the story behind the iconic nail polish brand.

G: You’re originally from New Zealand, when did you move to Melbourne?

A: I moved to Melbourne eight years ago. I studied Fashion in New Zealand, and then realised there were no jobs over there! So I moved to Melbourne and ended up landing a job as a design assistant for a well-known Australian label. I really didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t like the work or the industry, so I left. I had started making sterling silver jewellery when I arrived in 2009, so I decided to continue this while working part time at an optometrists association. The nail polish started as an add-on sale for our rings, but after tripling our turn over in just three months on the polish alone, I decided to focus solely on nail polish.
G: How many colours did you start off with?

A: Kester Black started with 6 colours, now we have about 60. We do collaborations too, which have been really fun. In 2014 we collaborated with O&M Hair Care who produced 8 colours; these were sold throughout Scandinavia, which was very exciting for us. We also partner with Trophy Wife to release 2 colab colours each year, which are always a lot of fun.

G: All the product is made in Australia, is it made locally in Melbourne?

A: Nearly everything is made here in Melbourne, which is awesome for us because all of our manufacturers are only a short drive away. I was surprised that you can even get plastic bottles made here in Melbourne. All of our little cardboard boxes that our nail polishes are shipped out in are made just a few suburbs away! We get all our skincare bottles made from scratch; they aren’t just a standard mould. That was really important to us, having that point of difference; we wouldn’t have bothered doing it otherwise.

G: What have you been working on recently?

A: We just released four new winter colours earlier this month, with our new breathable base. Not only is breathable polish much better for you, it can also make your manicure last longer. The breathable polish allows oils from your nail to pass through it, rather than build up underneath which can cause your manicure to chip and/or peel off. Consequentially these chemical changes to the molecular structure of the polish also allow water to permeate the nail polish layer which means it is also suitable for Muslim women who choose to wear nail polish. Next up is a new gel range for a 14+ day wear, keep your eyes peeled for this release in August!

G: Do a have a favourite place to visit in Melbourne?

A: Loose Leaf. We buy our flowers from here every week. We buy flowers for everybody here, but we always purchase flowers for our office. They make the staff feel good, and they help create a beautiful space and a comfortable working environment.

For more on Anna Ross and Kester Black, visit


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