Polish push: Nail Deck expects higher trajectory of growth for home manicures spurred by COVID-19
Nail Deck owns multiple nail care brands, including its eponymous brand of conventional nail polishes that are vegan and cruelty-free.
It also owns Light Lacquer, a nail polish that mimics the effects of gel nail polish that does not require extra base and topcoats.
The polish also dries down in seconds under any UV lamp and can be removed easily by peeling it off, reducing the damage on the nail bed.
These properties make it excellent for home use, an area in nail care that has been growing, albeit slowly.
Last April, when Singapore entered its ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown that lasted for over two months, Nail Deck experienced an instantaneous effect on its business.
From day one, its social channels were inundated with enquiries and requests as nail salons across the country shut down.
“For the last eight of nine years, we’ve always been targeting home users, and that’s been hard because most people still wanted to go to salons for treatment. The circuit breaker really helped to draw attention to our brand as nails were closed and people were looking for an alternative,” said founder Daryl Chew.
According to him, the newfound spotlight helped the brand quadruple its sales in 2020 and it ended the year growing over 40% more than its initial projections.
“We were very, very lucky. Those two months or so was quite unreal, we’ve never seen that kind of growth before. We could not have anticipated such a huge and sudden growth.”
While the firm has seen the initial spike settle down as the lockdowns and restrictions slowly began lifting, Chew believes there has ultimately been an increase in the adoption of home-use nail colours.
“On our socials, we’re getting unsolicited messages from customers telling us they didn’t know it was so easy and affordable to get their nails done at home. We’re definitely expecting a high trajectory compared to last year.”
Emerging trends in nail care
Aside from the home care segment, the company will be focusing on the development of clean formulations moving forward.
“I won’t even say it’s a trend and almost a requirement. This is the standard across the board for the beauty industry, so, it's something that we have to move towards,” said Chew.
Last year, the company launched the AquaJellie range, which features an odourless, peelable formula that only consists of four ingredients.
“We launched AquaJellie early on during the circuit breaker. As a father, I understood that many parents with young kids were struggling to find activities. With a clean formula, AquaJellie is great for kids and parents can let them play with it without worry,” said Chew.
This year, the company is set to launch another clean nail polish range, which it is aiming to get halal certified.
“What I have noticed is that halal has become more than just a religious thing. I think many people now recognise it has a high standard for cleanliness, ethics and transparency,” said Chew.
He noted, however, that it was challenging to get nail polish certified halal as some halal bodies simply do not recognise nail polish as a halal product regardless, as it is considered as an interference with Muslim praying rituals.
Furthermore, the company is also developing a nail care range, which it believes will grow in importance moving forward.
The company has ambitions to expand the business abroad and is currently available through distributors in Malaysia and Hong Kong.
While Chew is keen on expanding into new markets, the company faces challenges logistically as nail polish is considered a flammable product and it company incurs a premium just to ship it.
“Unlike new e-commerce brands, we face a big challenge as we have to go through that traditional route of finding distributors to get our products into the market. That can be very slow and time consuming.”