Harvard Business student, Grace Choi, has invented a 3-D printer called the Mink that has the ability to connect to any computer and print out eye shadow, lip, and blush colors. Right now the Mink is set to retail for $300. This means that if someone purchases this $300 printer, they will then have the ability to print out their own make-up colors at their own convenience. This becomes a huge threat to the make-up industry for many reasons.
Grace Choi claims that her Mink printer can print out any FDA approved ink used by make-up companies. The best part about the printer that Choi markets is the fact that someone can be searching the web and see an appealing color that they would like their make-up to be, and they can simply just copy and past this color into a program such as Photoshop, and click print. This will activate the Mink printer and begin the printing process of the color that the user just found on the Internet.
Considering that 3-D printers for regular everyday objects cost thousands of dollars, this $300 price range is looking pretty good. Any regular make-up consumer knows how expensive make up can truly become. Choi points out a phenomenon within the make-up industry in her presentation of the Mink. She explains how the high-end make up stores like Sephora are able to charge so much for their products. She claims that if you walk into a Walmart there are many brands of make-up available for cheaper prices. However, the reason they are able to afford these cheaper prices is due to the color selection. At Walmart, you are likely to find only a few color choices of each brand. This explains why when someone walks into a Sephora and sees hundreds of colors, they are willing to pay more for this make-up than at a Walmart due to the color selection you are presented with.
Much of Choi’s research had to do with color. She discovered the phenomenon of many color options, and also looked into the study of pigments in the tech industry that is free to all Internet users. Choi drew the connection between copy and pasting colors that one finds online, to the make-up industry, and created her tangible results using her new printer, the Mink. It will be interesting to see what kind of toll this takes on the $55 billion dollar beauty industry.