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Lacquerous takes the subscription sampling trend to a whole new level

By Michelle Yeomans , 28-Nov-2012
Last updated on 03-May-2013 at 10:51 GMT2013-05-03T10:51:02Z

The US-based subscription sampling company is offering consumers what it describes is “the Netflix of nail polish” services, whereby members can rent high-end nail polishes for up to a month, a practice the founders say is identical to a traditional nail salon, where staff share polish amongst clients

According to the women behind the brand Ashlene Nand and Liza Kindred, nail lacquer is one of the few things that can be shared and the service is similar to a salon where you pull a bottle of polish off the wall, share it and put it back up again. "Once people realize this it tends to set them at ease."

The idea behind the sampling program is said to have come from Nand who developed a penchant for nail art, particularly luxury nail polishes while running an online consignment business.

But I couldn’t afford to keep buying $30 bottles, so I Googled ‘rent nail polish’ and nothing came up. That’s when I started working on a deck to present the idea,” she explains.

Subscription sampling is arguably this year’s hottest trend due to its ability to better connect the consumer to the brand, enable the sampler to find what product really works for them whilst also offering up and coming brands the opportunity to reach potential buyers.

How does something like this work?

Each month subscribers pay $18 to gain access to three polishes from a selection of 70 colors including those by luxury brands like Chanel and Dior and special limited edition collections. Then, after 30 days members return those colors using a prepaid envelope and select three more.

Sounds straightforward, but this publication questioned hygiene standards for the next consumer receiving those polishes. To this, Kindred says that precautions are taken inbetween rentals such as inspecting the bottles for impurities and unsanitary conditions, before sending on to the next client.

Bacteria can’t live for long in a bottle of nail polish. You are probably more likely to get an infection in the salon itself,” she adds.  

Start small - grow big

Still very much a young business, the founders of Lacquerous say that they eventually hope to work with nail polish companies to be able to offer full bottles to customers who tried a color and loved it.

Interest though is still said to be high despite the service being in its early days, and the women are currently testing out the service in a small group of about 100 people whilst "roughly 2,000 have requested access to the service and 10,000 in total have signed up for updates about the company’s products."

The entrepreneurs are said to be keeping things small in order to determine how best to maintain quality control, manage member expectations and handle bad customer behavior.

"We will have to decide how to deal with people who keep bottles too long, try to siphon out polish or commit other misdeeds," they concluded.

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