Most brilliant ideas look obvious in hindsight. Grace Choi had such an idea when she realized 3D printing technology could be applied to makeup. She is working on Mink, a product that may greatly disrupt the makeup industry if it can deliver quality makeup. There is no theoretical reason why this will not work, 3D printers can use the same materials used in makeup provided by established companies – both at the high end of the market and ingredients for the cost conscious consumers. So let’s assume Grace releases Mink as a quality product that works as described.
I expect this will do very well with not only the target group (girls 13 to 21 years of age), but many women may also adopt. So long as Mink can provide quality equivalent to that of the established market, I believe Mink’s print-your-own makeup concept will succeed and dramatically disrupt the current makeup market. I expect Grace has already considered these options, but here are several ideas that would help Mink succeed. Product-wise, I’d recommend a software feature that allows Mink’s customers to scan colors (ideally with a smart phone) and then print that color of makeup without the need for a fancy art or photography program.
Market-wise, while some people will love the ability to print their own makeup, others will not want to buy and master yet another device. For these customers, there are two other business models Mink should consider. First, they could market a version of their makeup printer to department stores themselves. These stores could then print custom makeup for their regular customers, delivering better customization while reducing inventory. Second, Mink could also pursue an affiliate model where Mink certified specialists could resell makeup to their friends and acquaintances.