Spas have a strange reputation. Often associated with luxury, overindulgence, and excess, they do provide some services like facials that we should have in our everyday lives – only if was more accessible without a high price tag. Noticing this incongruity, Heyday brings the facial out of the spa setting and to the masses with their design-focused physical locations. Currently in NYC with 4 locations (a 5th slated to open later this month) with plans to expand outside of Gotham, Heyday offers a transparent pricing model, a setting that is conducive to your lifestyle with phone chargers, ambient music to set the mood, and comfortable chairs. This NYC startup makes receiving a facial and skin-care treatment as seamless as booking a haircut. The company also produces their own skin care products. The Heyday experience redefines skin care as an element of self care that does need to be reserved for the luxury market.
AlleyWatch chatted with CEO and cofounder Adam Ross about the Startup and discussed the company’s most recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Lerer Hippeau, the premier Seed fund in NY, led our seed round of $3M. Other investment groups included Rosecliff Ventures and Kal Vepuri’s Brainchild.
Tell us about your product or service.
We’re a facial shop, looking to take facials out of the spa and bring them into peoples’ lifestyles by making them more accessible. We’re focused on the brand and creating a personalized consumer experience. We have several retail locations and we sell a curated range of skincare products at our shops and on our website.
The gold standard of great skincare is a professional facial – so to do this we needed a physical location – but importantly, it’s a very different in-store experience than the traditional spa.
How is it different?
There’s a lot we do differently – from our in-shop design, to our Skin Therapist team (and training), to our pricing model and to our use of technology to drive customized skincare solutions for our clients. This is an industry that’s been slower to adapt to evolving consumer needs compared to others – and we want to change that. People will engage more regularly with skincare (particularly a younger demographic) when you address their current friction points of time, cost and convenience. This is evident in our client behavior – about 40% of our clients come to Heyday every month.
Also, our positioning really focuses on self-care. We talk internally about taking the facial out of the spa and into peoples’ lives. When people hear the word “spa” it usually connotes beauty, pampering and indulgence (and there’s nothing wrong with that). But our clients think about us through a self-care lens, as in this is something they should be doing regularly as part of their wellness routine like exercise and diet.
Our name – Heyday – is a term used more by our parents, and refers the best periods in their lives. At Heyday, we’re here to help people be the best version of themselves and have the best possible skin.
What inspired you to start the company?
In my prior life in investment banking, I was doing a lot of work for beauty companies who focused on pushing products rather than helping consumers do what’s needed for their skin. And personally, looking after my skin was increasingly confusing, expensive and time consuming. In speaking with my friends, everyone was equally frustrated, so I became convinced that there had to be a better way. Access to professional skincare service and knowing how to look after your skin with the right products should be available to everyone, especially given the cumulative benefits of great skincare. Consumers want, and need, a much better option than what currently exists. So we’re setting out to provide that.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
There’s a growing ~$6B fragmented facial category that sits between the Spa channel and Salon channel. Interestingly, approximately 50% of our clients have never had a facial before, so while there’s certainly an element of industry disruption we’re creatively innovating to grow the category.
Parallels can be drawn from other great brands such as DryBar, Soul Cycle, and Warby Parker that have addressed structurally challenged industries to free friction points and a service (also concurrently offering a fundamentally superior value proposition). We’re doing that with facials.
What’s your business model?
We’re looking to be a complete skincare solution for clients. This is a combination of both professional treatments performed in our shops, coupled with customized skincare routines at home. Our business model is both service and product (also through our website) – for men and women.
What was the funding process like?
Like a long trip to the dentist! Ha. On a more serious note, it was fine. I used to work in M&A so having had this experience was very valuable and served me well.
We had been in discussions with the team at Lerer Hippeau for a while and knew that we wanted to work with them. They really understand consumer brands and using technology to personalize the retail experience.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
I think it was less about the fundraising process itself, but more about juggling that with the daily demands of the business – you’re essentially performing 2 jobs.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
I think we can do something very special with Heyday. There’s a substantial market that wants to have great skin and there’s so much fatigue and confusion that currently exists in the market. Leading with service as a differentiator and complementing this with customized skincare recommendations leads to fantastic results. Layering on data and technology so we can elevate the discussion in skincare and take personalization and customization to the next level is a real opportunity that excites us and our investors.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We just opened our 4th shop on the Upper West Side and have our 5th door opening towards the end of November, so focusing on strong openings is a key focus. We’re also making some investment into our online experience to better have this align with our in-shop experience.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
I think if you have limited capital, I’d say focus on proving your concept with client/customer/market depth not breadth – the right investment partner can then extrapolate. Someone told me the other day how excited they were going into all 1,700 Targets nationwide. I’d would rather focus on 100-200 – learn and innovate around executing these with excellence, before committing to something broader.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We see such a substantial opportunity to expand across the US, with the near term focus on the some of the larger, more primary markets. We’re in the process of exploring a couple of options right now – Los Angeles is at the top of the list right now.
Where is your favorite fall destination in the city?
Upstate around the Woodstock / Phoenicia area.