As Its Portable Products Go Viral, Gel Nail Brand Le Mini Macaron Is On The Go At Retail With Ulta Beauty Rollout
In late 2021, just as gel nail polish brand Le Mini Macaron was entering 250 Target doors, a number that’s since increased to about 630, it turned to 15 TikTok content creators, including Adeeba Khan, who uses the handle yodeebs, to share news of its retail expansion and break down its signature gel nail kit for those unfamiliar with it.
“It’s perfect for beginners that want to get into gel polish, but don’t know where to start. You don’t need a base coat or top coat, but it still lasts and is super shiny,” said Khan in a straightforward TikTok video revealing the kit’s sold at Target and displaying results from its Cherry Red shade. “You get a gel polish, LED lamp, nail file, cuticle pusher, removal wraps, USB cable and instructions.”
Target reposted the video, and it became the retailer’s most viral TikTok video ever, collecting 5.3 million views to date. As a result, Le Mini Macaron’s Cherry Red Gel Manicure Kit sold out in two days and registered a 6X lift in sales.
Khan’s video wasn’t Le Mini Macaron’s only viral burst during its Target campaign. A video posted earlier this year by Elizabeth Gray, a TikToker with the handle thegraytergood, showing her doing her nails in the car with its Smoky Matcha shade drew 24 million views and 4.5 million likes. It caused the shade to pop into Le Mini Macacron’s top five items at Target.
Overall in 2022, Le Mini Macaron’s products prompted 15 viral videos garnering 80 million-plus impressions and led to it being sold out for four months. Today, the brand is gearing up to make a big splash on social media again timed with its August rollout across Ulta Beauty’s chain of around 1,350 stores, where its $38 Pearlescence Kit and $11 Lunegloss Single Gel Serum are landing in impulse sections at checkouts. A broader Ulta presence is expected later.
“In this day and age, it’s really up to the brand to do the heavy lifting when it comes to being successful at retail.”
“In this day and age, it’s really up to the brand to do the heavy lifting when it comes to being successful at retail, and I believe that, going into Target, we demonstrated it,” says Christina Kao, co-founder and co-CEO of Le Mini Macaron. “Now that we’re launching with many more stores with Ulta, we are taking all the learning, and we’re 10Xing the marketing campaign. It’s a super robust activity list, and now the brand has much more awareness than when we first launched in Target.”
Even before its physical store rollout at Ulta, Le Mini Macaron had been making noise at the retailer. The brand, which originally broke into Ulta online in 2017, introduced Pearlescence Gel Manicure Kit on the beauty specialty chain’s website in April. Fueled by the glazed donut manicure trend, Le Mini Macaron reports it’s become Ulta’s bestselling nail kit, and it’s the brand’s No. 1 product at Ulta. A TikTok video created by the brand on Pearlescence Gel Manicure Kit has attracted over 1.1 million views. All told, Le Mini Macaron has roughly 47,000 TikTok followers, 31,000 Facebook followers and 197,000 Instagram followers.
To support its arrival at Ulta stores, Le Mini Macaron is tapping 70 influencers and bringing seven paid macro-influencers into the mix. Along with advertising and organic posts on TikTok and other social media platforms, the brand will delve into direct mail, email and text marketing. In its Target efforts, a mere five influencers were paid, and Le Mini Macaron leaned into content creators known for spotlighting Target. In general, the brand dedicates 20% to 25% of its projected revenue to marketing.
On top of educating potential consumers on its kits via TikTok content, Le Mini Macaron is emphasizing their portability. Content creators polish off (pun intended) their gel manicures in planes and cars in videos with Le Mini Macaron products to convey how easy they are to use. The brand’s winning content strategies have drawn gen Zers, a group coveted by retailers, gravitating to its do-it-yourself concept. Previously, it had concentrated on millennial consumers.
“When gen Z thinks of nail, I want them to come to us.”
“Our gen Z consumer is really proud that they did this mani by themselves and saved money, and they’re just going to keep DIYing at home. They’re really into play and expressing themselves. So, it really allows us to have more accessories and playful items like stickers for them,” says Kao. “They see us on TikTok, and they look for the products when the videos are going viral. So, we’re able to drive that gen Z foot traffic into stores.” Ultimately, Kao adds, “When gen Z thinks of nail, I want them to come to us.”
Le Mini Macaron is headquartered in Barcelona and has a 35-member team in the city. Currently, the United States accounts for about 50% of its business, up from 20% in 2021. Europe accounts for 40%, and Latin America and Asia account for the rest. The brand is available in 30 markets. In the U.S., it’s carried by Nordstrom as well as Target and Ulta. Outside of the U.S., it’s stocked at Asos, Sephora France, Olive Young, Douglas, Zalando, El Corte Inglés, Primor and Rinascente.
Le Mini Macaron has 300 stockkeeping units in its assortment centered on gel nail manicures and care for them. It also extends into accessories such as nail stickers, brushes and merch. Pedicure care products are in the pipeline for upcoming releases. “I always tell people we do hand and foot, color and care,” says Kao. “We’re not going to start to do lipstick.”
She mentions Le Mini Macaron’s sales have been doubling annually, although she didn’t specify exact sales figures. In 2021, the brand informed Beauty Independent it was generating between $5 million and $10 million in sales. Given that amount, if sales are doubling yearly, Le Mini Macaron should reach between $20 million and $40 million in 2023 sales.
Le Mini Macaron has been bootstrapped from its beginning in 2015. “I don’t think there’s many beauty brands that can scale and do it themselves and launch into Target and Ulta and stay bootstrapped and profitable. At the moment, we’re not looking for investment, but never say never,” says Kao. “I think the landscape has changed so much, even just with iOS and marketing spend. It doesn’t go as far as it used to, and you need so much more resources to run digital marketing these days.”