'NAILING' CHINA

Written on the 25 September 2015 by Laura Daquino

'NAILING' CHINA

CHINA is prime for more than commodities and agribusiness, as a startup sprung from Sunnybank has discovered by tapping into a young female market at least 30 million people-strong.

Metaverse Makeovers has identified a lucrative market for nail polish - but not just any nail polish - a pattern recognition augmented reality product.

The business has engineered hyper-real designs of unicorns and prints that come to life on screens - an 'appcessory' if you will - which a 'self-expressive' market in China is 'going crazy for'.

It sounds like a unicorn business story to date, with Metaverse Makeovers raising more than $750,000 in seed funding from QUT Creative Enterprise Australia's Creative Enterprise Fund and Commercialisation Australia, as well as investors in Melbourne and China.

Co-founder and CEO Thea Baumann, a QUT alumnus, says despite finding a lucrative market, overcoming scepticism is an ongoing challenge.

"It's such a new product and we are experimenting with really nascent augmented reality technology," says Baumann.

"There's scepticism, but I did my market research and found the size of the market is actually 93 million young girls in China who would express themselves through social media and in that, 34 per cent would actually buy and download an app that would help them be more self-expressive through their nails.

"Girls go to nail bars, play apps and take photos of their nails. I needed to take this to the source - Vietnam and China - and commercialise the art experiment."

Baumann has split her time between Shanghai, Hong Kong and Melbourne for the past two and a half years, establishing early on that Australia just wasn't a large enough market.

She says, however, Sunnybank provided great impetus for inspiration in Metaverse Makeover's early days.

"Sunnybank is such a multi-culturally diverse suburb with lots of Asian businesses and female-led nail salons," says Baumann.

"Our whole approach is working alongside individual nail salons and being extremely collaborative, forming close relationships with manufacturers - and if we didn't do that in China, we would be dead in the water really.

"The secret technology behind what we are doing is called fashion pattern recognition so if the app doesn't recognise the pattern, there's a high risk the nails won't 'pop' our holograms so to speak.

"We spend extensive amount of time engineering individual patterns so each one we design will pop holograms through our mobile app and then be shareable through social media like WeChat, which has 45 million users in China.

"Every girl who works on the factory line receives one of our apps to individually test that it triggers virtual content. We are now in the process of testing how this technology can be applied across industry - fashion and automotive come to mind to begin with."

Baumann says being a young woman navigating the cut-throat Chinese business landscape can be difficult, on top of having to do everything at super-seed to break through 'The Great Firewall'.

"I sometimes think it doesn't matter where you are, that being a little green and fuelled just by passion can work in your favour," says Baumann.

"I think the Chinese liked my chutzpah from the beginning.

"They also respect that Metaverse Makeovers isn't 'Made in China', we're 'Made with China' - we are incredibly collaborative with local artists and manufacturers and that makes a huge difference."
 


Author: Laura Daquino Connect via: Twitter LinkedIn

Latest News

CROMWELL CALLS FOR FULL DISCLOSURE FROM INVESTA

CROMWELL Property Group (ASX:CRM) has claimed Investa Office Fund (ASX:IOF) has not disclosed material information ab...

FRAUD CAUSES SILVER CHEF PROFIT SLIDE

EQUIPMENT financier Silver Chef (ASX:SIV) has seen its half-year profit slide due to fraud.

The Brisbane company r...

MEGAPORT QUADRUPLES REVENUE AND INVESTS IN EXPANSION

MEGAPORT (ASX: MP1) increased revenue 345 per cent to $4.46 million in the six months to 31 December 2016, the com...

IN-STORE VETS BOOST GREENCROSS' PROFIT

GREENCROSS Limited (ASX: GXL) shares lifted 5 per cent in trading today after the Brisbane-based company posted a ...

Related News

WHY EMPLOYEE-OWNED COMPANIES ARE BEATING ASX200 SHARE PRICES

EMPLOYEE-owned companies command a higher share price than their publicly listed peers, reaping a 17 per cent prem...

RISE OF THE MACHINES HAS WORKERS SWEATING

UP TO 3.8 million Australian workers are fearful their job may soon be terminated by a robot, a new survey has shown....

LESS TALK, MORE SMALL BUSINESS ACTION IN 2017

THE future growth and prosperity of Australian SMEs could be undermined if governments lose sight of the sector...

TEST DRIVE A POST GRAD AT BOND

THERE'S only one way to really move your career into the fast lane, says Bond University, and 'test driving...

Contact us

Email News Update Sign Up Contact Details
Subscriptions

PO Box 2087
Brisbane QLD 4001

LoginTell a FriendSign Up to Newsletter