What if you could have a printer in your home that would allow you to print your own lipstick, eye shadow, blush, nail polish, and brow powder? Sound crazy? Not to thirty-year-old Grace Choi, who has created a printer called Mink.
While Grace never lacked the talent or credentials, she could not quite fit in to big company culture. After she finished Harvard Business School, she spent a brief three-month period working for Burger King in food innovation before quitting and going back to being an inventor. I can imagine that trying to come up with new ways to build the perfect Whopper can get pretty old.
Grace became interested in how cosmetics companies created their products and the hefty premium they put on top of ingredients that are actually really cheap to buy individually. The idea for the Mink printer was born and she began with using four computer printer colors (black, cyan, yellow, and magenta) to design a way for anyone to create their own makeup colors right in their own homes. "The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bullshit," explained Grace during her TechCrunch Disrupt presentation. "They charge a huge premium on something that tech provides for free. That one thing is color."
The Mink printer only puts a top layer of ink onto a blank shadow, cream or moisturizer. This allows the user to sample the top layer and see if it works. If it doesn’t, then the user just needs to scrape off the top layer and try again. Grace feels this is a far more efficient process than producing large batches of product that might have to be discarded.
Starting next summer, be on the lookout for the Mink printer that will be priced at $300. Grace Choi plans to disrupt the $55 billion a year beauty industry one printer at a time. Considering the prices people pay for makeup, the Mink Printer is looking like a pretty good deal.
For more information on Grace Choi and her Mink printer, please refer to the following articles:
- http://www.forbes.com/sites/deniserestauri/2014/06/30/a-harvard-woman-is-blowing-up-the-55-billion beauty-industry-with-3d-printed-makeup/
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