Meet the entrepreneur behind the vegan nail polish actress Issa Rae adores

Pear Nova founder Rachel James (Photo credit: Charles Andre Thomas)

Veganism is about more than the food on your plate; it’s a lifestyle.

Chicago native Rachel James understands that and has created a line of vegan-friendly, cruelty-free nail lacquer called Pear Nova for those who care about the ingredients in the polish they wear.


After graduating from the International Academy of Design & Technology in 2012, James pursued entrepreneurship full time. The Chicago native combined her passion for beauty and fashion to create the high-quality creme nail polish brand. Her polishes come in a variety of hues and have exciting names like “Dianna Boss” and “Michelle Our Mama.”

James is all about beauty and wellness, priding her Pear Nova brand on its “five-free commitment” to offer nail lacquers free from formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP).


Today, Pear Nova has garnered the attention of many, including “Insecure” star Issa RaeWe caught up with the entrepreneur to discuss the inspiration behind her brand and being a minority business owner.

What was the driving force behind creating Pear Nova?

My driving force behind creating Pear Nova is my love for fashion and beauty. It was also my entrepreneurial passions and the hope that I could create something that my children’s children can benefit from.

What is the inspiration behind your collections?

The inspiration for my collections changes with each season. Fashion will always be at the core, but I am heavily influenced by world travel, art, music and creative women.

What is the process like creating vegan and cruelty-free nail lacquers?

Luckily with the vegan and cruelty-free trend, it isn’t too difficult. Manufacturers are understanding of what consumers need. It was a more difficult process creating the custom colors that Pear Nova is known for.

Pear Nova Collection (Photo credit: Charles Andre Thomas)

What has been your biggest challenge as a Black female entrepreneur?

My biggest challenge is finding resources. Being an entrepreneur as a Black woman might be the “thing” right now, but we still aren’t getting the support we deserve or need.

Actress Issa Rae flaunts your nail lacquer regularly. What was it like to watch her on a platform like the “Today” show showcasing your brand?

It’s always surreal when women that I’m a fan of wear Pear Nova. I faithfully watch “Insecure,” and I read Issa’s book, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. She’s a goal and my homegirl in my head, so it’s like, “OMG, she has on Pear Nova!” But also, “Duh, that’s bae. Why wouldn’t she have on Pear Nova?” 

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?

Do your research, dream bigger than big, and be your biggest supporter. No one knows you’re the best as much as you do.

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