Zhoumin Li, Josephine Vericel, Milena Said

Essie Nail Polish Trade In

How might we promote sustainability while creating a community for Essie?

We aim to create a collection system that facilitates the recycling/reusing of empty nail polish bottles for individuals and salons whilst collaborating with artists. Individuals can drop off used nail polish bottles at the kiosks placed in retailers in exchange for various rewards such as free artist collaboration nail polish, manicure at participating nail salons, and many more. Selected nail salons will have an exclusive partnership with Essie by participating at the program while artists collaborate with Essie to create “new” nail polish packaging. This recycling program leaves no parts of used nail polish behind, even the paint inside will be converted into acrylic paint for the participating artists


With the midterm feedback on the need to include retailers into our system, we had to pivot to create a system that includes retailers while not compromising our proposition. We needed to do several rounds of field research and in person user testing to refine our idea but due to the current situation with Covid-19, our resources were limited


To validate our idea, we did virtual user testing through Facebook ads, sent out surveys, and got feedback from interviews. Our collection system will not only help recycle and reuse used nail polish, but also creates a community where everyone plays an important part of Essie’s sustainability system.

Parsons School of Design has offered students innovative approaches to education since its founding in 1896.  Today we’re the only American art and design school within a comprehensive university, The New School, which also houses a rigorous liberal arts college and a progressive performing arts school. Our undergraduate and graduate programs, offered through Parsons’ five schools, immerse students in focused training, interdisciplinary inquiry, and practice-based collaborative learning. Here creators and scholars master established art and design fields and advance emerging ones while studying a range of university disciplines.

All Rights Reserved © 2020. Parsons School of Design.