Or how, one day, two entrepreneurs had the crazy idea of creating a vending machine to sell nail polish rather than cans of soda or cereal bars…
Boris and Lilian meet for the first time in Paris in 2004. The former has a background in the cosmetics industry (Black Up, By Terry, Rouge Baiser, Deborah group) and the latter is a self-taught all rounder who has worked in communication and music shows. In search of new challenges, they share the dream of many start-up founders: finding THE BIG IDEA. Boris wants to shake up the beauty business by creating something that’s never been seen before.
THE BIG IDEA
A burgeoning sector in the beauty industry calls to them: nail polish. But nail polish is associated with beauty halls—which means merciless competitors, well-established challengers and very little room for manoeuvre. Large retailers remain unavoidable intermediaries of influence to reach nail polish fans. But are they really unavoidable? Lilian and Boris find the BIG IDEA by bringing together two uber-fashionable phenomena: nail polish and vending machines!
FIRST ON THE SCENE
An idea this good must have already occurred to someone, surely? You can imagine this type of machine in the fashionable neighbourhoods of Shibuya in Japan or in a giant mall in Abu Dabi. But, no, Lilian and Boris get there first! Nailmatic also creates its own market with a new space to be conquered: fashion.
Two men getting into the nail polish business is perfectly acceptable—a positive point, even. But a vending machine? Isn’t that a bit impersonal? Not if it’s completely made to measure and is turned into an object of design: a miniature travelling store that represents nailmatic like an emblem or a mascot! In addition to displaying all of our colours in the best light, this low-tech display case stores the nail polishes at the optimum temperature of 14°C.
Automatic vending machines, however—now that’s another story. An enormous risk. A bespoke machine is needed that is capable of managing 60-something products from the outset—a rainbow of colours to really create a wow effect. To respond to the requirements of a digital market, the machine must offer a wide range of payment options (prepaid gift cards, smartphone payments, etc.).
So, what do clients get out of this, exactly? Well, quite simply, everything! By cutting out the middleman, the NailmaTeam reduces its costs and offers a professional quality nail polish at an incredibly accessible price point. All of the polishes are available all of the time—the whole colour range—which would be inconceivable in traditional sales outlets.
Boris and Lilian’s vision is clear: the polish must not cost more than €10, and its role is that of fashion accessory, to complement a look. The act of buying becomes sacred again: the customer partakes in a feel-good ritual, can spoil themselves, and collect the polishes. A vending machine that distributes awesomeness!
Garance Doré, the most influential fashion blogger in the world, can’t be wrong: “The most awesome thing I’ve ever bought in a vending machine. Paris, you are so lucky.”
Following on from the grabbing claw machine at the fun fair, nailmatic has developed a vending machine especially for kids—the only difference is, with this one, they’re sure to win with every turn! A fun tradition that references the vintage prize machines at the fairground, creating happy nostalgia for a fun and cool service.