New Economic Realities   //   May 17, 2024

Nailboo is tripling its presence in Walmart amid an at-home nail-care boom

Nailboo, an at-home manicure kit brand, is polishing its wholesale strategy as it looks beyond direct-to-consumer.

Nailboo is nearly tripling its presence in Walmart locations nationwide this week. The brand — which makes products including dip powders, gel polishes and LED lamps — will now stock its dip powder starter kits in 2,200 Walmart stores, up from 900.

Nailboo’s Walmart expansion aligns with its overall ambitions beyond DTC. When Nailboo launched in 2018, it sold its products via its website and generated most of its traffic through social media. Over the past couple of years, Nailboo has branched out into Amazon, Sally Beauty and TikTok Shop as it looks to grow its customer base. Right now, approximately 25% of Nailboo’s business is from wholesale channels, Nailboo co-founder and CEO Raz Romanescu told Modern Retail. Nailboo has approximately 1 million customers to date, and Romanescu said the brand will bring in a “mid-to-low eight-figure revenue range” this year.

Nailboo’s dip starter kits tend to retail for $15 to $30, although customers can build larger kits on Nailboo’s website for around $100. In contrast, a dip powder manicure at a salon typically costs $30 to $60. Many of Nailboo’s customers find out about the brand from social media like TikTok or Instagram, then buy the products afterward, Romanescu said. Nailboo wants to make retail a larger part of that process, he said.

“We are very specific in terms of what retailers we want to enter,” Romanescu said. “We always wanted to have that premium brand in terms of quality feel and packaging, but not at the Sephora price point, for example, or [that of] some of the more prestige retailers. We wanted to be able to go into mass.”

Nailboo is currently the fifth most popular nail brand at Sally Beauty, and its assortment there dwarfs Walmart’s. While Nailboo sells dip and gel products at Sally Beauty, it only sells dip products at Walmart. It is, however, planning to expand the number of colors of dip powders it includes in its Walmart kits later this year. Nailboo decided to do this, Romanescu said, after noticing that customers at Sally Beauty and its online store bought additional dip powder colors along with their starter kits.

Romanescu said Nailboo hopes to eventually sell gel products at Walmart and expand into European wholesalers. He added that Nailboo has spent six months getting the certificates to sell in Europe. “We’re growing fast in North America [and] we don’t want somebody else to replicate our model there without us participating,” he said. Nailboo also sells six colors of dip powders via CVS’s website and is targeting a larger rollout there in the coming years.

Polly Wong, president of marketing agency Belardi Wong, told Modern Retail that compared to DTC, wholesale may be a more appealing channel for beauty brands like Nailboo. “Over the last decade, we‘ve seen the beauty category try to lean into DTC, but we’ve found that consumers are still more likely to buy beauty products as part of a larger basket of goods either in physical stores and/or on marketplaces like Amazon,” she said via email.

Nailboo’s wholesale expansion also comes as more customers opt to do manicures at home. While many people still go to salons, the pandemic drove a boom in do-it-yourself nail products that still exists today. Last year, Olive & June, which began as a salon but now exclusively sells at-home nail products, was on track to cross $100 million in annual revenue, per Business of Fashion. Chillhouse, which sells press-on acrylic nails, doubled sales last year, as well. Overall, the nail-care product market is worth some $2 billion, according to Circana data.

Inflation likely also plays a role in the popularity of at-home nail kits, experts say. These tend to retail for less than salon treatments, which may make them more appealing to those on a budget. Advantage Solution’s 2024 Shopper Outlook report found that 61% of shoppers planned to spend “about the same” or “more” on at-home salon or spa products in the next six months.

“When it comes to in-home versus out-of-home services, many consumers are shifting to more economical in-home services, such as doing their own nails and hair color,” Jill Blanchard, president of enterprise client solutions at Advantage Solutions, told Modern Retail. “Consumers still want to treat themselves, but now in a more economical manner — whether it’s a culinary treat, health care or beauty.”

Amanda Vitale, a beauty and style blogger and influencer, told Modern Retail that she’s seen a surge in interest among consumers for at-home nail products. “The market is saturated with all things gel nails and dip powder,” she said. “The kits actually work well and slash costs in half or more.” Vitale discusses nail kits on her blog and said she has seen her tutorials “jump to be the top-performing blog posts steadily post-pandemic.”

Nailboo’s Romanescu acknowledged that at-home nail products aren’t new, but said he sees Nailboo filling a gap in the market for education around how to use dip powder or gel polish. When customers buy a Nailboo product, they get access to a multimedia database of training videos and at-home tutorials the company calls “Nailflix.” Nailboo also operates a private Facebook group called “Nailboo Fam” for members to share manicure and pedicure tips and tricks. That group has some 90,000 members.

“We’re really trying to just make [at-home manicures] approachable in a sense,” Romanescu said.

This story has been updated to reflect that Nailboo is expanding to 2,200 Walmart locations.