When Caitlin Billy, a member of the Mvskoke Nation, looked at the nail business, she saw something missing: Native representation.
She could find "Native” print nails, but the sellers were not indigenous people.
That is why she started IndioNails in September 2020, building on a nail design hobby that she had been cultivating for about a year.
As a Native woman, Billy understands the power of representation in the beauty business. She also sees nail design as an important form of art.
“Nails can be more than just pretty, they can represent our beliefs and make a statement. I love finding creative ways to incorporate indigenous issues into my designs,” she commented.
One set on her Etsy shop features a red hand symbol, which is often used to represent the movement for justice for murdered and missing indigenous women. In 2016 alone, there were 5,712 incidents of missing or murdered indigenous women.
The brand name comes from her identity as a Native and Mexican women. “Indio” is Spanish for Native American.
“I wanted a brand name that would represent that side of me,” Billy remarked.
She cites support from other indigenous artists and customers for her success and hopes to see more growth in the Native nail tech community.
“I’ve experienced so much love and support from other Native artist and just Native consumers in general. I owe any success I have to them. It just goes to show how strong the indigenous community is and what power they have.”