Chinese startup gets its claws into new market for 3D-printed nails
This isn’t going to change people’s lives like that amazing 3D-printed robotic arm we looked at earlier in the week, but 3D-printed nail art is still pretty neat.
That’s what Clawz is all about. The Shanghai-based designs and produces 3D-printed press-on nails and then sells them around the world – well, that’s the plan once it launches soon and the first production run begins. Pre-orders are now open. The initial focus is on mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and the US.
“I’ve always dreamed of bringing a cool product to market. When I learned about 3D printing through my local makerspace, I was instantly hooked on the technology and wanted to enter that world,” says founder and CEO Avery-Anne Gervais, who hails from Canada. “While researching what’s hot in the market, I quickly realized it was a very crowded space of jewelry designers and artists making unique items.” That’s why she decided to focus on 3D printing nails and taking the concept global.
Gervais is sticking with Shanghai after taking the fledgling startup through Chinaccelerator last year. After validating the market and dropping the bit about customized 3D-printed nails, she took on a fellow Winnipegian, Chris Tweten, as co-founder.
Clawz’s 3D printed nails come in plastic and metal options and are priced from US$50 to US$150. They’re reusable so long as you don’t break or lose them, but the plastic ones are only designed for about five wears, so these are things you’ll probably save for fancy events and special days. The adhesive should keep them on for up to 12 hours.
The team uses the DLP (Direct Light Processing) method of printing to ensure precision down to 0.025mm. “We can print a set of nails in less than ten minutes. The main time suck is all the post-processing, which includes the removal of support structures and sanding down of any rough bits,” Gervais explains.
Once Clawz enters the US, it’ll find a rival in the form of Shapeways, except that it’s more of an Etsy-style marketplace for any kind of 3D-printed trinket – and where you might need to wait longer to get the goods. Gervais wants Clawz to be simpler and faster. To make the buying process more spontaneous, the startup is working with fashion retailers in Hong Kong and Korea to get the 3D-printed nails onto shelves.
Clawz was part of the top three in Seedstars Shanghai, which was held on June 12. Seedstars Shanghai was the latest round of the Asian chapter of Seedstars World, the global seed stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast growing startup scenes, now present in 52 countries.
The regional winner, Bitnexo, was selected as the best startup in China. The prize includes a flight and an all inclusive week in Switzerland in March 2016, where Bitnexo will pitch their idea with all the other winners from around to world, to compete for the US$500,000 equity prize.