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Published April 26, 2021
Published April 26, 2021

Building on a legacy of transforming the nail industry with its expansive line of “green” nail care, successful European expansion, and exponential global growth during the pandemic, Parisian nail brand Manucurist hits the US with a DTC strategy.

Manucurist was founded in 1996 in Paris as one of the city’s first “New York”-style nail bars. In 2015, Gaëlle Lebrat Personnaz left a corporate career in visual merchandising at fashion houses including YSL, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, taking over the family business with a passion to reposition the brand with a new, green ethos. The modern refresh aimed to revolutionize the brand and the entire nail industry. She set out to create the perfect nail polish that combines color, quality, long-lasting finish, and shine with a clean formulation.

Fast-forward to 2021—the product range consists of an extensive range of nail products to attend to the health of hands. Treating nail care like skincare, their plant-based nail care formulas prepare, protect, and care for the healthiest of nails. Manucurist’s formulas are clean and vegan with a strict blacklist of 12 no-go ingredients that are replaced with bioavailable alternatives to traditional nail polish ingredients. The brand’s green ethos is also carried through the packaging, which consists of biodegradable packing boxes, water-soluble foam cushioning, and recyclable glass bottles to house and ship their products.

The category innovation continues with a true feat of green engineering with the recent launch of Manucurist’s award-winning Green Flash range, consisting of an at-home, plant-based gel manicure routine that is cured with an LED lamp for up to 10 days’ wear, and removed like regular nail polish. The range is formulated with up to 84% biosourced ingredients, including sugar cane, manioc, corn, wheat, and cotton, sourced from vegetal biomass, and produced using renewable energy sources, to replace traditional and potentially harmful endocrine disruptors, allergen molecules, monomers, or hydroquinone. The collection’s Gel Polish Remover is 96.5 % bio-based and completely acetone free, making it much gentler and less harmful to nails while being completely safe to use at home.

The pandemic shutdown drove consumers to DIY professional salon services leading to exponential 800% YOY growth for the business, which expanded outside Europe for the first time in the brand’s 25-year history, all facilitated without any additional or external investment.

Up until 2015, Manucurist was only distributed in France through the brand’s website, salons, and its HQ – Green Club. In 2017 the business began expansion across Europe. In late 2020, Manucurist launched in Galeries Lafayette in Paris and the UK market. This year they’ve launched in Japan with its first “Green Club” outside France in the Kyoto department store BAL and the concept store Ron Herman in the spa at the W Hotel.

A sellout success immediately upon launching into the UK late last year, the brand’s expansion into the US market comes much sooner than anticipated, with founder Gaëlle Lebrat-Personnaz adding, ‘‘The US launch of Manucurist is a huge milestone in the brand’s history, and not something we thought we would be able to achieve so soon following the brand’s refresh, and launch of our DTC collections. It feels fantastic to be able to launch Manucurist into the country which inspired the brand’s original concept, all those years ago. Manucurist’s formulas have been relentlessly re-worked to achieve what we truly wanted—nail products which are as natural and respectful to the planet as possible, and I look forward to introducing our revolutionary, green concept and bio-sourced offerings to an American audience—one we know is highly engaged in the nail industry—and who we hope will resonate with our brand’s unique ethos. ”

Understanding the pandemic surge of consumers needing to care for their nails at home was the catalyst to Manicurist’s dramatic increase in sales. The team has been laser focused on capitalizing on the momentum of the nail category while developing a retention strategy to keep these new consumers as salons slowly reopen.


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