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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

Minnesota schools "all over the board" with mask-wearing guidance

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Minnesota and federal health officials are urging universal masking in schools this fall, but not all local districts are following suit so far.

Driving the news: The Minnesota Department of Health issued new back-to-school guidance Wednesday, encouraging mask use indoors for students and teachers regardless of vaccination status.

  • Unlike last year, the state won't mandate mask use. Decisions will be up to local districts and school boards.
Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Simone Biles during the women's team final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Tuesday in Japan. Photo: Fred Lee/Getty Images

🤸🏾‍♀️: Simone Biles reacts to "love and support" after withdrawing from all-around gymnastics and team finals, citing her mental health

🏃: U.S. pole vaulter Sam Kendricks withdraws from Games after positive coronavirus test

🏊‍♂️: Caeleb Dressel wins gold in men's 100m freestyle —Bobby Finke wins gold in first men's Olympic 800m freestyle

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

🗓: The Olympic events to watch today

💵: Olympic athletes see more sponsorship opportunities

🏃‍: Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage - Medal tracker

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Giant earnings growth for the world's largest companies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Never in the history of capitalism have the world's biggest companies grown as fast as the tech giants in recent years.

Why it matters: A series of stunning earnings reports this week — with another one likely to arrive Thursday afternoon, from Amazon — has underscored the astonishing growth among a group of companies that were already some of the most profitable of all time.