Changing your nails should be as easy as changing shoes– and ManiMe can help
By Jooyeon Song
David Miro Llopis and I are the founders of ManiMe. We created this company to make accessible, healthy and easy-to-change manicures — all words that rarely describe traditional manicures. Our solution is the first-ever custom-fit gel nail adhesives developed with proprietary 3D technology. They can be self-applied or removed in moments, making time-consuming and damaging treatments a ritual of the past. Investors agree, which is how we raised $2.6 million led by Canaan, with participation from Trinity Ventures, Techstars and NFX.
I started the search for accessible manicure solutions while attending Stanford Business School. I’m originally from Korea where we have a deep appreciation for beauty services and treatments. However, I was tired of immobilizing my hands for two hours in a salon saturated in chemicals. I dreamed that changing my nail style could be as simple as changing my shoes. And while I explored the limited selection of “stick-on” nails, they weren’t a seamless fit for my nail size and I didn’t want to sacrifice quality.
I mentioned this challenge to my classmate David and he embraced the opportunity to find a solution. David is well-versed in online marketplaces, and as a bonus, he is a painter and passionate about self-expression. He was particularly excited about building a community around nail art and promoting this form of self-expression. At Stanford we became “Manicure Girl” and “Manicure Boy”, always wearing our ManiMe prototypes and hosting manicure parties.
The U.S. manicure market is a $10 billion industry, bigger than the men’s grooming market in its entirety. In fact, #nails trends almost three times more than #pizza on social media. Yet this market has seen little innovation. Currently, the best nail artists can reach only the customers at a nail salon, and their health suffers due to chemicals, along with their customers’ and other manicurists’.
In our efforts to disrupt this status quo, David and I developed a proprietary technology that enables 3D digital reconstruction of nail dimensions. This gave us the ability to customize ready-to-wear nails for each individual’s nail shape. It requires just a smartphone to take five simple photos, choose a design and finalize the order. And we found manufacturing partners who can create semi-cured gel sheets based on our designs and requirements that they are free of the 10 most toxic chemicals found in many other gel manicure products.
Applying ManiMe adhesives takes just five minutes and peeling them off requires even less time. Not to mention the entire removal process is free of chemicals. And we’re able to deliver the nails within four days.
Design choice is an important part of our product, which is why we are partnering with nail designers to create our collections. These partnerships are critical to our collections that cover every occasion, from a professional meeting to a wedding celebration. It’s also a new opportunity for nail artisans to partner professionally.
This is the reason we chose the ManiMe name. It merges “mani” and “many,” a reference to the nail design varieties we unlock. While “Me” reflects our personalization capabilities and means beauty in Asian characters (美 미).
ManiMe is officially live. We’re thrilled to bring our high-tech on-the-go gel manicures to these individuals and every person who does, or will, appreciate a perfect mani. We can’t wait to see how ManiMe can change manicure expectations in the U.S. and beyond!