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Local Cosmetics Brand Achieves Success

Whats Up Beauty and Nails Features Non-Toxic, High Quality, and Fashion-Forward Cosmetics and Nail Art Products

Alena Monson’s love of cosmetics began when she was a young girl growing up in Minsk, Belarus.

“I can remember as young as 6 playing with my mom’s eyeshadows and my older sister painting my nails,” Monson says, adding that as a teenager, she continued to enjoy all types of cosmetics.

“I thought I was great at makeup, but my whole world turned upside down in 2012 when I moved to the United States when I was in my 20s.”

Feeling overwhelmed by the vast selection of products and brands that were now available to her, Monson turned to the internet for help.

“It took me watching quite a few makeup tutorials to even figure out what to buy and how to wear it, that it almost felt like I was starting over at 6 again,” she says.

Inspired by the tutorials, Monson decided to start her own social media account on Instagram, which now has over 390,000 followers.

While Monson’s knowledge about cosmetics improved, she still faced challenges in one area: how to do nail art at home.

“I could not find the right tools locally, and online stores were hit or miss with quality and usability,” she says, adding that these experiences inspired her to design and sell her own line of nail stencils.

The stencils were so popular with customers that in 2014, Monson decided to start her own company and brand called Whats Up Beauty and Nails, and expanded her inventory to include nail polishes.

In 2021, she expanded her brand again into cosmetics by adding eyeshadow palettes with coordinating nail polishes.

As Monson’s business grew online, she opened a pickup location for locals in her warehouse.

“The small showroom in our warehouse had moderate success, so I knew it was time to open the one-stop-shop I had previously been looking for,” she says.

Monson achieved her goal when she opened Whats Up Beauty and Nails at Chandler Fashion Center.

She sells all of her products at her store, including the newest additions, a collection of eyeshadow brushes and a mascara called Watch Me!

Monson says she enjoys speaking with her customers, who she says are very savvy when it comes to what they are putting on their skin and nails.

“Cosmetics consumers are smart, and they read ingredient lists and demand better from their products, and it is driving a demand for clean, non-toxic, sustainable, and cruelty-free ingredients,” she says, adding that customers are also eager to try “special effects” cosmetics including flash reflective polishes, and chrome and multi-chrome eyeshadow finishes.

“My products are right at the crossroads of these two trends, by mixing wearable colors and fun sophisticated finishes with cruelty-free and clean formulas to make great products people love,” she explains.

As for people who believe they can’t learn to do their own nails, and should only get professional manicures, Monson offers words of advice and reassurance.
“There is never a better time than now to do your own healthy groomed nails. There are so many resources and tutorials available online,” she says. “With some simple basics you can get started, and with consistency, you can grow long strong natural nails for a fraction of the cost of going to a salon.”

People can ask Monson for advice via her Instagram (@alena.monson) or visit the staff at the Chandler location.

Looking back, Monson is thrilled with her decision to launch her own line of beauty products and open her store.

“I love the creative process involved in making a great product, but I can’t compare anything else to the feeling I get watching happy customers use that product,” she says. “It’s great to see someone absolutely loves something I made and run to tell the world, about how it makes them feel beautiful and happy, on social media. The instant feedback you can receive today in business is astounding; even the fear of any negative feedback makes me a perfectionist and drives me to work harder every day.”

Whats Up Beauty and Nails is located in Chandler Fashion Center (by Bath & Body Works).