Our latest Nails of New York profile features co-founder of FigureNY and branding genius, Shira Wheeler. She can usually be found riding her bike to work with her husband, Sam, or wearing a vintage bathing suit of her mother's as a shirt tucked into boyfriend jeans. She was instrumental in the initial launch of Paintbox, and she continues to be a dear client, as she firmly believes that taking the time to be kind to yourself is essential. And one of those ways for her to treat herself is through her nails.
Shira is a rarity in that she has fallen into exactly what she's studied–studio art, advertising, and marketing. She has this impeccable ability to listen deeply to the person in front of her, whether it be a client or friend, and reflect back to help them communicate their messages in unique and authentic ways. Woven throughout is a passion for building teams. This, combined with lifelong suggestions from her mother, inspired her more recent project, Oddo, a beautiful women's underwear line that'll be launching next year.
Why do you paint your nails?
When I was a little girl, no matter how busy my mom was with two kids and a full-time job, her nails were always perfectly done (usually painted with a bright orange-red color). To me, manicuring your nails represents a sense of being polished and at your best. It means that you've taken the time to treat yourself. I read this great quote somewhere that said, "We're all fighting a great battle." I think taking the time to be kind to yourself is really important. Sitting at Paintbox, sipping wine or sparkling water represents that to me.
Do you have a go-to nail color?'
Polish color really depends on what's going on in my life at the moment. I love a classic red with a simple variation (like a stud) or a subtle design like a metallic moon. Red always makes me feel strong and confident. Nudes are also great because they go with everything.
How did you get into branding?
My first job out of college was an internship that turned into an associate position at an art gallery in Wynwood. This gig was really the beginning of an ongoing theme throughout my career-exploring the blending of art and commerce, distilling ideas into a results-driven creative strategy, and helping brands craft distinctive stories. So much of what I learned there informed what I do now.
Once I moved to New York, I began my career in branding at the world-renowned media agency, Radical Media. Then I went on to build and direct RoAndCo, an award-winning design studio. In the summer of 2013, I founded FIGURENY, a brand strategy consulting firm that specializes in launch and e-commerce strategy. Paintbox was one of my first clients! Over the years, I've worked with clients, such as Refinery29, Altuzarra, Grey Goose, Bird, Simon Miller, Nike, and Zappos.
A sneak peak at the logo and packaging for Oddo.
Tell us a little bit about your latest project.
The idea to start an underwear line came seven years ago. I had recently moved back to the states from Paris, and I was having a really hard time finding 100-percent cotton underwear (that my mom insisted I wear growing up) that was also sexy. I think women associate cotton underwear with a kind of naiveté, and the market has responded to that. Most of what is out there today that is thought of as "sexy" is synthetic or a cotton/nylon blend.
Over the years I developed the brand as a side project and with a lot of pressure and support from colleagues, friends, and family to launch it, I finally have the time and momentum to bring it to life. In the process of having all of these conversations about underwear with so many people, I've realized that it represents so much more than a simple basic.
So, early next year, I'll be launching Oddo. Oddo uses 100-percent organic cotton underwear (and eventually other women's products) as a tool to promote a normative connectedness to our sexuality and health.
Left: Shira's necklaces are sentimental gifts from both her mother and husband.