Grace Choi was at Harvard Business School when she decided to disrupt the beauty industry. She did a little research and realised that beauty brands create then majorly mark up their products by mixing lots of colours.
“The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bulls**t,” Choi said at TechCrunch Disrupt this week. “They charge a huge premium on something that tech provides for free. That one thing is colour.”
By that, she means colour printers are available to everyone, and the ink they have is the same as the ink makeup companies use in their products. She also says the ink is FDA approved.
Choi created a mini home printer, Mink, that will retail for $US300 and allow anyone to print makeup by ripping the colour code off colour photos on the Internet.
She demonstrated how it works, then brushed some of the freshly-printed makeup onto her hand. She answered a lot of the tough questions about how she’ll move beyond powders to creamier products and partner with traditional printing companies in the video below.
Here’s how Mink, Choi’s makeup-printing machine, works.
First, find a colour you want to print. Choi says her machine will print creamy lipsticks or powdery eye shadows.
Use the colour picker to copy the hex code of the colour you’ve chosen. In this demo, Choi chose pink.
Using Microsoft Paint or Photoshop, paste the hex code into a new document. You’ll see the colour you want to print pop up.
Print the colour, like you’d print any other document on your computer.
Here Choi is, printing out the pink eye shadow.
This is what the finished product looks like. It comes in a little Mink-provided container that looks just like eye shadow.
Choi dips a makeup brush in the freshly-printed powder to show it really is makeup.
Then she brushes the pink on her hand. “Mink enables the web to become the biggest beauty store in the world,” says Choi. “We’re going to live in a world where you can take a picture of your friend’s lipstick and print it out.”
Now check out the video demo and listen to Choi answer tough questions about how she’ll bring the printer to market, below: