clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How LA Helped This ’90s Nail Polish Brand Become a Global Hit

Hard Candy Photo: Hard Candy

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

On the subject of throwbacks, one beauty brand that remains near and dear to '80s babies is Hard Candy. Founded by Dineh Mohajer and popularized in the '90s when Alicia Silverstone wore a sky blue shade on David Letterman, the brand has reached cult status over the years, so much so that Lena Dunham's newsletter, Lenny, recently penned a tribute.

The story features an interview with Mohajer, where the entrepreneur reveals that she begged her parents to "come to LA" to help her build the business in its very early days. They eventually funded $65,000 to get her started, and things really took off when a Nordstrom beauty director spotted Hard Candy's pastel polishes in Seventeen magazine, and brought it to the mega department store. "At that time, they weren’t as centralized, they had regional buyers, and then they all started calling me," Mohajer explains. "I had a little operation in the back of my house. There was an agency in downtown LA that helped me find workers. I hired three or four of them, and they worked out of the back garage attached to my college apartment."

Hard Candy went on to score a segment on MTV's House of Style, and landed on the shelves of — where else? — Fred Segal. "It’s like, What is going on?," Mohajer recalls thlinking during her whirlwind rise to fame. "It was surreal."

Read the full story here and marvel in the glory of this perfect Hard Candy ad from way back in the day.

Hard Candy Photo: Pinterest