Behind the Shelves: Meet the Founder Who is Redefining Nail Art

Behind the Shelves: Meet the Founder Who is Redefining Nail Art

Jan 17, 2024

Julianna Dahbura is the founder of Deco Miami, a brand dedicated to beautifying your nails with its signature nail art stickers. Deco also went viral for its nail sticker chair - 70,000 stickers on a clear, acrylic chair!  Julianna sat down with Shops Around The Corner to share the story of how she built Deco Miami and revealed her amazing showroom where all the magic goes down. 

Why did you start Deco? 

I was always interested in starting my own business and never had a “real” job. After college, I went straight to grad school and then into nail polish. Around this time,  it was the golden era of Instagram. You didn't need a million dollar marketing budget to succeed in the new world of Shopify and social media. When I first started Deco, I was selling to subscription box companies like FabFitFun, IPSY, etc.  It was going well, but I was still discovering my niche and looking for growth opportunities. I started working on nail stickers in 2020 and constructed a plan to bring the first iteration of stickers to market. I had everything produced and shipped to my studio, and then COVID happened. COVID created a new wave of nail enthusiasts who were excited to experiment with DIY manicures at home. The nail stickers launched to incredible demand.  

What stores are you in? 

I moved to NYC three years ago and it was the best decision I ever made. I live in Williamsburg, and there are neighborhood retailers that carry Deco! We also have hopes of expanding into big-box retailers. We currently work with Urban Outfitters and JC Penney. We also do a lot of partnerships with other brands. We’ve worked with Lisa Says Gah, Pura Vida, and Christie's Auction House!

Any neighborhood retailers you’re particularly excited about? 

I love my retail relationship with Red Pearl, a retailer in Williamsburg. They have a sister store called Driggs Mercantile, and I smile every time I pass that store. I met the owner of Driggs about two years ago, and we can’t fully communicate because we don’t speak the same language, so we always have friendly, minimal exchanges. One day I walked in to hand deliver an order, and the owner goes, “My customers really like boobs and butt things.” I started laughing because I was actually working on a new set of stickers called Golden Hour, which has boobs and butts. Driggs Mercantile always orders that set!

What’s your process of getting into small retail? 

We use the wholesale platform Faire. If a store in the neighborhood places an order, I’ll hand deliver the order and mention I live in the neighborhood. It really excites retailers to know that we’re a local brand. That human element of hand-delivering the order really seals the deal with the relationship. 

Talk to us about the Christie’s collab!

The Christie’s collab was very interesting! I was at a conference and met a VP in Christie’s marketing department. Usually, when I meet people, I’ll tell them about our brand collaborations, but for Christie’s, I didn’t really see the opportunity, so I didn’t mention it. After this event, Christie’s came to me and said they were launching a new department with streetwear and wanted to have a sticker activation at the event. They asked if I would do it. I stickered a skate deck as a live art activation and had a nail tech apply stickers to people's nails. 

Tell us about your showroom.

I love talking about this space! When I moved to New York, I was essentially keeping inventory in my coat closet. I needed to find something bigger, and I saw that an office space had opened up in my neighborhood. It was kind of scary to have a real office, but I was ready to go for it. I truly believe your environment is going to be a reflection of your productivity. Everything in the space is deco and a bit vintage. Everything is pretty much secondhand, except one IKEA closet. It's just been so fun to find the big pieces and make them my own, whether that’s painting or refinishing them. 

Are there any tools you rely on to run your business? 

Clickup is an incredible tool that I use for all of my life management. I also love this analytics tool called Peel. It sends me an email every morning with all my Shopify stats in terms of orders in the past 24 hours, stats from the last 30 days, and an overview of new and returning customers. I’m obsessed with it. I wake up to it while I'm in my bed.