Meet ManiMe’s cofounders: Jooyeon Song and David Miró Llopis
Get to know the two brains behind ManiMe and its custom-fit, long-lasting nail gels.
Launched in October 2019, ManiMe set out to change the beauty world by pioneering the at-home gel nail experience of the future. Fast forward to today, ManiMe delivers long-lasting, custom-fit, vegan gel manis and pedis to your door. But, have you ever wondered who was behind ManiMe? We’d like to formally introduce our two co-founders, Jooyeon Song and David Miró Llopis, to The Top Coat. Read on to learn what inspired them to start ManiMe, what they were doing before they decided to revolutionize gel nails, and so much more.
What’s the inspiration for ManiMe?
Jooyeon Song: ManiMe eliminates the antiquated rituals of the nail industry including time-consuming application and damaging treatments. As an avid beauty lover, I dreamed of changing my nails as easily as changing my shoes without being tied to hours-long salon appointments and exposure to toxic chemicals. Through this dream, David and I partnered up during their time at Stanford to invent the at-home nail experience of the future: customized, accessible, easy-to-use, and non-damaging. Our solution is the first-ever, custom-fit stick on gels, developed through our proprietary machine learning, and laser cutting technologies. Inspired by the innovation and quality of Korean beauty, ManiMe gels are vegan, 10-free, Leaping Bunny Certified, and are applied/removed without carcinogenic UV light or chemicals. ManiMe’s custom-fit, stick-on gels can be applied in minutes and are often designed in collaboration with our exclusive community of trendsetting professional nail artists and enthusiasts.
What makes ManiMe different from other brands?
David Miró Llopis: While more brands are popping up in this space, we are the first and only brand to use and develop patent-pending 3D modeling and machine learning technologies allowing us to create custom, stick on gels for every person’s unique nail shape, size, and arch. We also recognize the growing prominence of nail artists and are the first to provide a platform for them to digitize and monetize their nail art. With ManiMe, nail artists now have the opportunity to expand their reach beyond their physical clientele and earn additional income for their craft. We currently partner with 15+ artists and have the intention to significantly expand our roster over the coming year. ManiMe is on the forefront of beauty, thanks to our community of nail artists, long-lasting gel formula, and custom-fit technology.
Can you explain your roles within the company?
Jooyeon Song: At Manime, we marry beauty and tech to delight consumers with a high-quality experience and uplift nail artists. From day one, David and I have been partners. We tackle many of our most pressing priorities together and we both can speak to the many unique aspects of our company. As CEO, I specifically oversee the development and marketing of our products. In fact, we recently established a new R&D lab in Pangyo, Korea, allowing us to be on the cutting edge of the K-beauty scene.
David Miró Llopis: As Jooyeon mentioned, we work closely on all aspects of our company. We are both passionate about creating an inclusive working culture at ManiMe and we have both deeply enjoyed building our team. With my background, one of my primary focuses right now is constructing the best consumer experience possible. I am working across all of our teams to iterate and improve wherever we can. One of my favorite elements of a leading startup is our nimbleness and ability to adapt to today’s trends.
What were both of you studying (or on a path to pursue) before ManiMe?
Jooyeon Song: After completing my undergraduate degree at Seoul National University, I started my career as a management consultant. Through this path, I developed an expertise in business, marketing, and 3D modeling technology. As an avid beauty lover and busy young professional, I knew that I could change the nail experience to fit into the schedule and meet the needs of today’s consumer: customized, accessible, easy-to-use, and non-damaging . It wasn’t until I attended Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and met my co-founder David Miró Llopis that I realized I could act on this idea.
David Miró Llopis: My background is in industrial engineering and economics; however, I found my passion for online marketplaces while completing my MBA at Stanford. When I met Jooyeon and she described her innovative idea, I knew that my experience could help make ManiMe a reality. I loved the idea of disrupting the nail industry, a $10 billion market, and pioneering the at-home nail experience of the future. Using my previous experience as a founding team member of Frubana, Jooyeon and I embarked on the process of launching ManiMe. Now we are working together to nurture and grow our business.
Can you share your best tips & tricks of applying ManiMe?
Jooyeon Song: Avoid using lotion or cuticle oil directly before or after you apply gels. Oil is the enemy here and can impact the longevity of the gels. We also recommend leaving a tiny gap between the nail gel and your cuticle for the strongest hold and best-looking results.
David Miró Llopis: It is also helpful to limit your contact with the adhesive side. Try to hold it at the tip when aligning it on your nail. Our gels’ adhesive is also activated by pressure so remember to firm press your gel nail once it is aligned on your nail. Another recommendation I would give for people with shorter nails is use a nail clipper to trim the excess gel instead of the nail file.
What’s one of your favorite ManiMe Solids or gel nail designs?
Jooyeon Song: I am in love with the ManiMe x Marrow capsule, our first ever brand partnership and collection of wedding-centric designs. Champagne Bubbles could be worn for so many different occasions.