You can book nearly anything online these days but why not beauty services? That is where BeautyBooked comes in. The founders, both L’Oreal alum, found that there’s a a void in the market when it came to the beauty online and launched their startup. BeautyBooked now allows consumers to make appointments in over 20k salons and spas via its website and app. In addition, the startup has introduced a new offering that allows for unlimited beauty services under a monthly subscription – saving users time and money.
The founders Ritika and Hillary join us today to tell us the latest about BeautyBooked and where its going.
Tell us about the product or service.
BeautyBooked is the premier digital booking platform for scheduling beauty services. Referred to as “the OpenTable for salons” by The New York Times, BeautyBooked is the only app that provides consumers with 24/7 real-time access to thousands of top salons and spas nationwide. In April 2015, the company expanded and launched BeautyPass, a monthly subscription product for unlimited beauty services under the BeautyBooked umbrella. The first product offering is Unlimited Blowouts for $99 / month in NYC and the company will be launching additional Pass products later this year.
What inspired you to start the company?
After we received our MBAs from Cornell (Ritika) and London Business School (Hillary), we both worked at L’Oreal where we managed $100MM+ brands. Given our busy lifestyles, we were accustomed to managing all areas of our lives online – from restaurant reservations, to travel to doctors’ appointments. We couldn’t understand why an online booking solution for beauty services didn’t exist, despite the size of the market ($42B) and frequency of appointments booked (national average is 4x/month).
Before starting the company, we conducted comprehensive consumer research and identified 4 key problems with the status quo:
1) Calling to book appointments is time consuming and inconvenient. NO ONE likes to call to book a bikini wax from their office cubicle!
2) There is zero visibility into appointment availabilities.
3) Women are overwhelmed by the salon & spa choices available to them and don’t know where to go or whom to trust.
4) Women want value in their beauty services, but are frustrated with the inconsistency in quality that comes with daily deals.
We took these key insights and developed the BeautyBooked website & mobile app which provide 24/7 access to top salons & spas so users can discover vetted beauty spots, read editorial reviews and book appointments instantly in real-time. In April 2015, we also launched BeautyPass, a monthly subscription for unlimited beauty services to bring more value to consumers. The first product offering is Unlimited Blowouts for $99 / month in NYC and the company will be launching additional Pass products later this year.
How is it different?
BeautyBooked is the only player in the space to offer real-time online booking at salons & spas. We’ve developed a proprietary tech infrastructure that enables us to communicate with the scheduling software systems of salons & spas in real-time. The salon software market is very fragmented with the top 10 providers owning 51% of the market. Through our integrations with these providers (including several exclusive agreements) we currently have access to over 20K salons & spas across the US and by Year 3 will have access to over 50K (more than 50% of the market). Given how fragmented the salon software market is, our approach is not easily replicable and has created a high barrier to entry. In addition, we have secured an exclusive partnership with the #1 US Beauty publication, Conde Nast’s Allure Magazine. Other confirmed partnerships include the Greater Miami Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, the New York City Hotel Concierge Association and luxury concierge service Quintessentially.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
$42B US beauty services market
What is the business model?
For BeautyBooked, we charge salons & spas a percentage per appointment booked through our platform. For BeautyPass we charge a monthly subscription fee.
What’s the most popular service, that you’ve noticed so far?
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Over the next 6 months, we plan to grow our technology team, scale our BeautyBooked and BeautyPass products and launch in additional markets.
You’ve raised a seed round of funding – what was that like and who are your investors?
Our fundraising process was a very positive experience. We were able to connect with fantastic investors (many of which are based in NYC), who instantly believed in our team and idea.
We’re fortunate to be backed by top investors like the New York Angels Entrepreneurial Catalyst Fund, Marty Nealon (former President of HSN) Sara Christensen (Raptor Group), Alicia Syrett (Founder, Pantegrion Capital) and Nisa Amoils (Co-founder vBeaute & NY Angels).
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
We’re big fans of Barbara Corcoran – she’s an expert in building and scaling successful brands as well as an inspirational leader. We would love to sit down and have coffee with Barbara.
Why did you launch in New York?
NYC is the beauty capital of the country, if not the world!
What beautiful NY area beach do you hit on a hot summer day?
Ritika: Coopers Beach in Southampton!
Hillary: Shelter Island’s Sunset Beach
Luckily, we just launched BeautyPass in the Hamptons so we’ll have great salons nearby for post-beach blowouts!