Summer 2011 Nailing a New Idea

At Fancy Nail’s Bar, customers can choose from 7,000 designs or create their own on a computer screen, and voila, the machine prints the ready-to-apply design.

With nail ornaments, customers are generally limited to the patterns and colors that a retailer has in stock. Not with the Fancy Nail’s Bar, where customers can choose from about 7,000 designs on a computer screen, or design their own, perhaps incorporating a photo.

Polished designs

Custom or stock designs—which range from flowers to butterflies to bold patterns with geometric shapes in a vast array of colors—are then printed out as an acrylic material using the nails printer. The final transfer of design onto the nails works in one of three ways. The pattern chosen by the customer can be printed directly onto fake nails, which are then applied to the customer’s fingers. Customers who want the pattern printed directly onto their own nails can place their fingers one-by-one in a specific spot on the machine. Finally, the pattern can be printed directly onto nail tips, which are then applied to the customer’s nails along with acrylic and gel.

The nail product comes in four sizes, which are short tips, long tips, half-cover nail tips and toenail tips. Depending on the size and how they’re applied, the nail ornaments can last anywhere from 7 to 10 days—up to about 30 days.

Erick Garcia, president of Gunler Inc., developed the kiosk concept with a Japanese company that created the technology for the nail printer that has a very intuitive user interface. Based in The Woodlands, TX, Gunler is 
a 14-year-old manufacturer, importer and distributor of various products, including sauces and vitamins.

In addition to the 7,000 designs and custom design capability, Fancy Nail’s Bar kiosks stock 500 ready-to-apply designs for customers who don’t want to take the time to select and print their own.

Gunler’s first company-operated kiosk opened in Barton Creek Square, a Simon mall in Austin, TX, in March. The company owns and operates four kiosks and is looking to open an inline, full-service salon in The Woodlands Mall in The Woodlands, TX. “We’re not allowed to apply nail polish at the kiosks, so we are looking to expand our mix to include full-service salons, too,” Garcia says.

Turnkey packages

The company offers its concept to independent retailers, who can purchase product wholesale in three ways. The platinum package, which costs about $45,300, includes four cabinets, three nail printers, marquis, three months’ inventory of consumables (including nail tips, files and adhesives), training, a three-year warranty and a point-of-sale software system. The gold package, for about $35,900, is similar, but with three cabinets and two nail printers. Retailers can also buy the products a la carte. One nail printer costs about $5,200. The company will supply inline retailers with nail polishes and related accessories, as well. “We realize that many people will want to buy the whole concept, but others will just want to add the nail printer to their existing products,” Garcia says.

Garcia hopes to develop strong relationships with retailers. He says training will include trouble-shooting for simple machine failures. In the case of a failure that the retailer cannot correct, a nail printer can be shipped to Gunler for speedy repair.

This is the first specialty retail project for Gunler, and things are happening fast, Garcia says. “We’re getting more than 20 calls a day,” he says. Gunler projects that it will have 800 Fancy Nail’s Bar retailers in North and South America by the end of the year.