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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

ManiMe, a startup that sells stick-on gel nails, tells Axios that it has raised $6 million in venture capital funding led by Canaan Partners and Trinity Ventures.

Why it matters: Since the pandemic forced many beauty salons to close, manicure lovers have resorted to do-it-yourself and at-home alternatives.

  • ManiMe sells ready-to-wear stickers that are made of gel similar to that used for nail polish.
  • At $15-$25 a piece, the sets are laser-cut to fit the customer’s nail shapes based on photos uploaded when ordering online.

The big picture: "For many women, [a manicure is] a sign of confidence and feeling put together," co-founder David Miro Llopis tells Axios of the popularity of nail care products.

  • Since the pandemic started, ManiMe monthly sales have grown tenfold, according to co-founder and CEO Jooyeon Song, with more customers now purchasing additional products like cuticle oil pens to recreate a full nail care routine at home. About 40% of ManiMe's customer repurchase.
  • In recent years, some have noted that nail care has replaced lipstick as the affordable luxury consumers turn to during recessions (known as the "Lipstick Index," coined by Estee Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder in 2001).

The company is also hoping to capitalize on another trend: the rise of nail artists.

  • Thanks to social media and trendsetting celebrities touting their nail artists' work, a growing number of them are becoming influencers themselves.
  • During the pandemic, some have started to sell hand-painted sets of press-on nails via sites like Etsy and Instagram.
  • ManiMe has already partnered with 11 artists, with whom it splits sales revenue from their designs, and plans to expand the roster.

Editor's note: The story was updated to correct the spelling of Jooyeon Song's name.

Go deeper

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Credit: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

2 hours ago - World

Zelensky questions U.S. warnings of "imminent" invasion in Biden call

Biden and Zelensky at the White House last October. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a back-and-forth in their call this evening about just how "imminent" the threat of a Russian invasion might be, according to three sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Biden has said previously that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably "move in" to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that "an invasion could come at any time."