Christina Kao might have been in Barcelona when we connected over video chat, but we still noticed her Fairy Floss light pink nail color through the phone screen. A few years ago she would have told us she’d taken time out of her work schedule to get a gel manicure and then go back to get it removed, paying $30-40 each time. But the one she was sporting as we chatted she did herself for the cost of a $35 kit—one that she just so happen to bring to the market herself a few years ago.
After working in advertising in New York City for and then Shanghai, Christina and her boyfriend François-Xavier Humbert, who had a background in the beauty business and purchasing in nail category, came up with the idea for Le Mini Macaron in 2015 to create an easy, inexpensive at-home gel manicure. A Kickstarter campaign and some business moves later, each set comes with a base coat, top coat and a color that corresponds to the color of a small lamp that looks like a macaron. Yep, the concept is all based around the colorful French confection. “The macaron is very iconic and flavorful, so our color names play on macaron flavors like Earl grey, raspberry and mint chocolate chip,” Christina says.
Today the manicure sets and polishes—including a new matte finish Christina is excited about—can be purchased on leminimacaron.com and at Ulta in the U.S., plus Sephora n a list of other retailers in Europe and Asia. You might have seen them on QVC recently too. Christina runs the business from Barcelona where she can easily connect with both European and U.S. markets and comes back to visit her mom (who lives near Mountain Brook High School), her dad (who owns Christopher House antiques) and friends she made from Cherokee Bend Elementary and MBJH and MBHS before she graduated high school in 1997. And she keeps up her own manicures for Le Mini Macaron photo shoots too.