Sydney-founded on-demand beauty startup Glamazon has secured a partnership with a multimillion-dollar global software platform MINDBODY, just five months after it raised $500,000 in seed funding.
On a mission “to really automate this beauty industry and allow an easier booking process”, Glamazon co-founders Lauren Silvers and Lisa Maree are taking on a market worth $5 billion in Australia alone.
Glamazon is “Australia’s first real-time bookings platform” for beauty consumers, salons and freelance stylists to connect through an Uber-like app, according to Silvers and Maree.
“We can deliver beauty like you get your pizza delivered,” Maree tells StartupSmart.
Consumers can use Glamazon to book appointments on-demand with “Glam X” stylists who are professionally qualified or “Glam Black” stylists that cater to elite, celebrity and bridal experiences.
“They’re all freelancers,” says Maree.
The Glamazon app, which launched in December 2016, is the result of a merger between two different startups. Maree was creating a booking app for freelancers in the beauty sector called Glam Crew, while Silvers had been doing the same since 2014 with a focus on salons under the Glamazon name.
Instead of becoming competitors, they chose to collaborate.
“We decided freelancers and salons should be together on one platform,” Maree says.
Since its launch, Glamazon has attracted more than 10,000 active consumers and 300 freelance stylists.
The startup is now in the process of onboarding 800 salons through its partnership with MINDBODY and a second partner the founders can’t name at this stage.
MINDBODY provides cloud-based management software for businesses in the beauty industries in more than 130 countries, and has forecasted annual revenue for 2017 of $US182 million ($242 million).
Its API integration with Glamazon will initially give the Australian startup access to more than 500 beauty salons across the country, with another 300 expected to come on board at the start of the next financial year.
By the end of this year, Silvers and Maree say Glamazon could bring in an additional $2.3 million of weekly revenue to Australia’s $5 billion beauty industry by enabling the salons it on-boards to fill in appointment gaps. They believe these salons are missing out on as many as 36,000 bookings a week.
“We have the potential to fill in all of those gaps for them,” says Maree.
Getting big business excited about your startup
Maree and Silvers say the partnership with MINDBODY comes after a year in talks with the global company.
“I was looking to partner with cloud-based, web-based software that was really growing [and] I was noticing MINDBODY was everywhere,” says Maree.
When Glamazon approached MINDBODY and showed the “huge database of beauty customers” it has as well as how complementary the two ventures are, Maree says, the big business was excited to collaborate.
The partnership will help MINDBODY gain access to a business-to-consumer base while enabling Glamazon to access business-to-business clients, she says.
“We’ll get exclusive access to all of their salons and real-time time data,” she says.
Maree and Silvers are continuing to speak with other software companies operating in the beauty industry in the hopes of securing four more integration partners by the end of the year.
They say having extensive, on-the-ground experience in fashion and the beauty industry enabled them to tackle a real pain point for the market.
In addition to Silvers’ background in fashion and public relations, Maree has built her own international swimwear brand.
During development of Glamazon’s app, Silvers says she would sit in salons and just watch how they operate to get a “micro level”, understanding of the issues they face and pick up on “small little idiosyncrasies”.
“It’s about learning about the industry as much as possible,” Silvers says.
Spending money wisely
Maree believes startups should have a “bootstrapped mentality”, even if they raise capital.
“The most pertinent point would be not to spend money like water,” she says.
Glamazon secured $500,000 in seed funding in 2016, from investors including Dominet VC, Holger Arians and Sean Collins of KindyNow, but Maree says the money was actually received in “dribs and drabs” until March this year.
“That really helped us to focus on certain priorities and spend the money wisely,” says Maree.
Glamazon used the investment mostly on tech development and building its team, which now includes around eight people.
When undertaking first hires, Maree and Silvers say it’s important that founders focus on recruiting people who can propel the business forward.
Don’t just bring in an “admin person who can do work for you”, Silver says.
“We hired someone who could really interpret our data and help tell us what’s going wrong and what’s going right,” says Maree.
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