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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

14 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

16 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.