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10-Minute Robotic Manicures Arrive at JFK’s XpresSpa

Clockwork's $20 robotic manicures — called Minicures — have launched at the luxury airport spa company's JFK location, with additional expansions to follow.

Through its latest partnership, San Francisco-based start-up Clockwork is taking on-the-go manicures to a new level.

The AI-powered robot company has teamed with XpresSpa to offer its 10-minute automated manicure — called the Minicure — at the airport spa retailer’s JFK Terminal 4 location.

Not only does the landmark partnership signify the first time robotic manicures will be available at any airport, but it also marks Clockwork’s third official brick-and-mortar foray — one of many expansions planned for 2023.

“The partnership is significant for both of us — not only due to the novelty of [the service], but the actual need for it,” said Scott Milford, chief executive officer of XWell, parent company of XpresSpa. “Our focus for now and for the future is delivering an expedient experience that is an escape for travelers.”

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While travelers will still have the option to receive comprehensive nail services by a technician at XpresSpa, the Minicure, which consists of one coat of regular polish and costs $20, aims to serve those who are tight on time or simply curious about the technology.

Clockwork's founding team from left: Aaron Feldstein, Renuka Apte and Erik Sunden.
Clockwork’s founding team from left: Aaron Feldstein, Renuka Apte and Erik Sunden. courtesy photo

“Ninety percent of Clockwork’s customers have expressed they want to see us at the airport,” said Clockwork cofounder and CEO Renuka Apte, adding the company first debuted a beta version of its nail-painting robot in 2021, and has now finalized an iteration that operates end-to-end without an attendant, and even offers nail polish removal.

The company is working on implementing nail polish design capabilities and even longer-lasting polish, both per consumer demand, and in the next few months will roll out to two Tishman Speyer locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively.

So, too, will it land at a yet-undecided number of other XpresSpa locations nationwide.

“It’s win-win for the customer at the end of the day,” said Milford, adding XpresSpa is looking to delve further into AI-powered services, like robotic massages, to complement its existing offerings. “It alleviates our technicians from having to carry all of the manicures folks want and focus on more full-service appointments, and helps us serve more customers while we’re still filling our [pandemic-induced] labor gap.”