Tech startup Crave was founded by two former Google employees who met in 2012.
In the years since, Crave has grown to become one of the most popular beauty brands in the US.
But Crave’s founders realized that their new vending machine had a lot more to offer than just a cute name.
In fact, it was the first vending machine to use the technology behind Google’s $10 billion Glass, which lets people wear an eye-tracking device to look at objects.
“We realized that this was something that we could put into a vending kiosk and use for all of our customers,” cofounder and CEO Nick Rader said in an interview with Recode.
“If you look at Glass, we were using a lot of these same technologies to make a vending device.”
With Glass, customers can use their glasses to buy a set of cosmetics, then look at the device and interact with it in order to pay for what they’re looking for.
And with Crave, customers could purchase whatever cosmetics they wanted, whether they wanted one or two, and pay with their credit card.
Crave launched its first kiosk in November 2017, and Rader says the machine has grown by 50% since then.
Now, the company has over 50,000 kiosks around the world.
The idea for the machine came to Rader from the time he was working in the fashion industry, when he saw a bunch of women using their phones to shop online for makeup, according to Recode’s Kara Swisher.
After he saw the beauty trend, he thought it was only a matter of time before a beauty retailer would be using this technology to sell makeup.
“It’s a really exciting time right now for tech startups because they’re not used to seeing the use cases for technology they’re already building,” Rader told Recode in an email.
“And when you do something like this, it’s like, ‘Holy shit, this is going to be really revolutionary.'”
The idea came from an email Rader received from an investor, who said he was interested in a company that would make cosmetics accessible to the general public, according a Recode story.
The founder suggested the idea to Rade, and they set out to build a vending business together.
Rader wanted to make sure Crave wouldn’t be dependent on the success of its beauty-centric business to fund itself.
“The thing that really drove us to go into this venture was that we wanted to be able to be profitable,” Rade said.
“You don’t have to be a big company like Google to be successful, you just need to make the right product and do a good product at the right price point.
And we wanted that to be our legacy.”
Crave had its first major milestone when it sold more than a million cosmetics in the first six months of 2018, with an average price per sale of about $1,500.
This wasn’t a company-wide breakthrough, though, as Rader acknowledged in the interview.
“That’s just a small portion of the beauty business,” he said.
But the company was able to sell a ton of cosmetics because it could make the machines more powerful.
Cravings machines use a lot less power than standard machines, and the machines also have different sizes.
The Crave vending machine can be customized to look for specific cosmetics, such as eyeshadow shades, but it doesn’t use much power.
The beauty machine costs $2,500 to make and costs $25,000 to install.
With the machines, customers are given the option of paying with a credit card or cash, and when they get their products they can then scan their credit cards to pay with the machine, which uses sensors to track their eyes.
Crescendo Crave is one of many beauty businesses using technology to build their business models.
The first to do this was makeup brand Ulta, which was one of Recode #1 brands last year.
Ulta has more than 500,000 customers, but just over 10% of those customers pay with credit cards, and that’s because the beauty products aren’t sold in a store, which is costly.
Ultas new machine lets people pay with money that is stored in a bank account, rather than in a storefront.
“Ulta has always been about offering beauty to people who have a different lifestyle than ours, and our new machine is an example of that,” said Rachel Hensley, marketing director at Ulta USA, in a statement.
“When we launched our Beauty Shop in 2018, we did so with the goal of bringing more women to Ulta than any other brand.
We saw the opportunity to leverage this new technology in our Beauty shop, and now we’re excited to introduce the next step in our strategy.”
The new beauty kiosk uses similar technology to Ultas beauty products, but Ulta doesn’t make them available to