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Saturday, February 14, 2015

On the Shelves of Llarowe - the home of international nail polish





On a recent trip to Colorado I was lucky enough to make a pilgrimage to the mecca of exotic and international nail polish - LLAROWE.  In the sleepy town of Fort Lupton, 30 miles from the city of Denver, is where you'll find Llarowe's store front. While Llarowe has been open for business for 6 years online the retail storefront was recently opened in 2014. 

When I walked in the store itself my jaw just dropped and then I may have started giggling like a little kid in a candy store. Every where I turned were polishes and not just any polishes but THE BEST POLISHES FROM AROUND THE WORLD YOU GUYS!

photo by Polish & Plates
I walked around the store for a little while taking some pictures and just staring in awe at the ultimate polish stash I've ever seen. Leah Ann (as in Leah Ann LaRowe, the owner) was finishing up in her office and came out to meet me. She gave me a little over view of the store and I asked her lots of questions.

Barry M and Model's Own (UK)

I was surprised to learn that LLAROWE has only been operating for about 6 years. They offer 50+ brands from around the world, including her own line, Colors by Llarowe. The first lines Llarowe ever carried are Glitter Gal and then came A England (UK). Both are still mainstays of the menu today.

photo by Polish & Plates
With the large and growing world of indie polish I asked Leah Ann how many inquires she gets on average. She told me she gets on average 10-20 inquiries a DAY with brands asking her to try their products. Naturally that lead me to ask how she decides what to carry. She told me "I just know. I swatch the polish and I can just tell". Not only that but, Leah Ann and her staff put the samples they are sent from different brands through a series of their own quality tests. Leaving them out in the hot and cold, seeing if they separate, discolor, etc. Even though these brands are not her own, she is selling them and believes in providing her customers with a quality product.

new CbL Flakies Collection
As for her own brand, Colors by Llarowe, or CbL as commonly referred to by her fans - has been making polishes for 3 years. I was curious what made her make the leap into making her own polish. Essentially she told me that she wasn't seeing in the market what she wanted and decided to make it herself. I have a few of her polishes myself (My Big Girl Panties, Young Turks, Weeping Angels) and they are all fabulous. CbL has an almost cult like following for their strong linear holos. Valentines Day weekend CbL is launching the pre-order for her 'Ode to Bruno' Collection. Leah Ann recently saw Bruno Mars perform in Colorado at the legendary Red Rocks.  His band, the Hooligans, are the craziest, most energetic, most talented musicians she has ever seen and she was inspired to do a collection based on that inspiration.

Lilypad Lacquer (AUS)
But lets talk about the store for a minute. The store itself is warm and welcoming. The polishes are displayed by country, brand and collections on a mix of antique pieces.  How could someone not be happy here surrounded by all this beauty?


I was surprised when Leah Ann told me all the polishes I saw out were all testers. I did a double take - you mean I can open any one of these and go sit down and swatch it? Yep.  Leah Ann told me she wants the store to be a meeting place. Where you can come, check out the polishes and experiment. A place for polish lovers like herself. As if this wasn't a dream come true enough, to make the store even better they have been closed on the weekend since the start of the year to add a salon which will offer services such as manicures, pedicures and more.


Elevation Polish (US)
When I asked Leah Ann if she had a favorite polish at the moment she quickly grabbed the Esmaltes da Kelly Soap Bubbles Polishes (see here). Grabbing a swatch wheel, we sat at the table and played around seeing how it looked over various polishes. Of course I ended up buying one while I was there - I mean she is the expert, right?!

photo by Polish & Plates
Because I have a policy background the nerd in me was curious about the impact of rules and regulations of importing polishes from all around the world. For instance, I was curious about the amount of time it took for the shipment of Mundo de Unas stamping polishes from Mexico that had been caught up in customs for weeks. Or what challenges there were with importing Dance Legend from Russia with the geopolitical issues surrounding our country's relationship with them. She told me some about her experience with Customs and how things can get caught up for long periods of time. For me this is one of the reasons why I like to buy directly from Llarowe. I don't have to deal with international shipping wait times, spotty tracking or any other inconveniences. Not to mention I earn rewards from Llarowe to save money on future polish purchases!

Color Club (US)
Leah Ann also explained to me that in places like the UK and Australia businesses need to have a hazardous materials license to ship internationally. This is something that can be expensive for small businesses and difficult to obtain due to regulations. That is why I can't order Emily de Molly (AUS) polishes only stamping plates from her site. Leah Ann said France and Canada were easier to send/exchange good with. Hopefully that means that the Il était un vernis polishes from France may soon make their way state-side to Llarowe. 

piCture pOlish (AUS)
If you ever make it to Colorado I hope you can drop in on the store for a visit.  I am really grateful to Leah Ann for being so generous with her time and insight for me to write this article.  Be sure to stay tuned because Llarowe has a lot of exciting things planned this year! I'll be bringing you some new product reviews on the LeaLaC XL stamping plates, Mundo de Unas stamping polishes and Minx nail wraps and base wraps!

Don't worry if you can't visit in person because you can always shop online! Be sure to LIKE Llarowe on Facebook and "Get Notifications" so you never miss a restock!

Whats you're favorite international indie polish? Have you ever been to Llarowe? What CbL's do you love! Tell me below! I'd love to hear from you! 

Mundo de Unas Stamping Polish (MEX)
Contrary Polish














34 comments:

  1. Looks great! Hope you have a great Valentine's Day! :)

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  2. That's a lot of nail polish the options are endless. Hope it was easy to pick which one you wanted. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Wonderful post! I live just south of Denver and have yet to make it up there. Your post makes me want to go right now!

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    1. You really should! I can't wait to go back!

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  4. This place is awesome. <3 I'm obsessed with my nails and I love going to nail salons. :)

    x, shekinahjoy.com

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    1. Its a must on a polish addicts bucket list!

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  5. Wow! That is awesome! How nice thay she was able to come out and talk with you. :0) It would be great to be able to visit someday!

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  6. Wow I'm so envious! This is a great post.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading!! I appreciate the compliment as I enjoy your nail art!

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  7. Wow! I didn't even know a place like this existed! Awesome!

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    1. I would call it my Happy Place :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I'm green with envy! It looks like such a beautiful place!

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  9. Options are so many!!! loved them :)

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    Replies
    1. and the collections are always growing and changing! It really is limitless!

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  10. Oh man, I wanna go!! Anyone up for a field trip??

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    1. You totally should! I'm going back in April - can't wait!

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  11. Wow! This looks insane! We have nothing like that here! Very cool article :)

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    1. Llarowe is really a pioneer in this area so I am not sure there is anything else like her store anywhere! Luckily you can always visit online :)

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  12. You are so lucky! Great read. I'm excited about the Bruno collection, I am OBSESSED with him :D

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    1. I preordered Having Bruno's Babies this weekend and it already shipped!

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  13. wow! its always great experience to visit nail polish store in person. Its like nail polish heaven and we are spoiled for choice. I love Llarowe online store for their collection of Indie brands. Their own polish collection is beautiful as well.

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  14. It is soooo homey looking!! I just want to go there and curl up with a book, surrounded by all of the beauty (and nail polish!)!! I just ordered from Llarowe and I have yet to actually try her polish, but I have a feeling, based on what the polish looks like in the bottle, that I am going to love it. Thank you for sharing!!

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  15. Damn! I'm so jealous you got to go!! It looks awesome! I would be in "BUY ALL THE THINGS" mode.

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  16. Sounds like a fun visit! Being to see all our favorite indie brands in one place must be amazing!

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  17. You are such a lucky girl. I wish I could visit too. Love their store and collection

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  18. Sounds like an awesome day! I hope to go to Denver sometime and see the store - it's great that there is a bricks and mortar place to buy indie polish in the US.

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  19. That sounds like the best shopping experience ever!

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  20. That so amazing. I had no idea Llarowe had a storefront, you're so lucky. I hope I can get to go one day.

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  21. That Color Club display was awesome! I don't like to travel and haven't in a good 7 years, but maybe someday I will get out there. In the meantime I just order order order! I have 72 Colors by Llarowe polishes (wow did not realize it was so many, that's what's on the spreadsheet)....love the whole store selection...

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