(L-r) Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, Mary van Praag and George Schaeffer celebrate van Praag’s new role at OPI.

Not only does OPI hit the mark when it comes to nail products, but they also know how to throw a great media party. On January 21, the company introduced its new general manager, Mary van Praag, to members of the trade and consumer press in style. As DAYSPA’s editor, I was among the guests at the elegant luncheon, hosted by OPI’s public relations guru Harris Shepard in a private room at the Bistro Garden restaurant in Los Angeles’ celebrity-studded Studio City neighborhood.

Attendees included OPI founder George Schaeffer, who spoke about the bittersweet nature of leaving his self-created post. He also praised the incoming van Praag, explaining how her recent experience as general manager of Coty Canada makes her uniquely qualified for the new role. “I think that Mary’s going to be an incredible captain that’s going to steer this ship,” Schaeffer said. “If Coty chose anybody else, it wouldn’t be as good as the person they’ve hired.”

The warm and easygoing van Praag addressed the group briefly, expressing her gratitude and enthusiasm for this new career opportunity. “I absolutely love this brand, and I’m thrilled to be chartering its future,” she told the group. In more casual conversation, she expressed to a few editors how she was also thrilled to be moving from the frigid eastern U.S. to warm and sunny L.A.!

OPI artistic director and executive vice president Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, whose amusing polish color names have gained international renown over the years, expressed a special reason for her delight at welcoming van Praag: “As a woman, I’m so excited that OPI is now headed by a woman!” she crowed. Later, Weiss-Fischmann shared her secret for keeping those creative juices flowing: Each polish-naming meeting includes one new guest, she told her fellow diners. “It’s amazing what you find out about people’s personalities, how funny and creative they really are!” she marveled.

Other guests partaking in the festivities included Creative Age magazine publisher Deborah Carver; Nail It! editor-in-chief and Nailpro executive editor Stephanie Yaggy; Beauty Launchpad executive editor Amy Dodds; and Beauty Store Business executive editor Marc Birenbaum. —Linda Kossoff

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