A Startup like No Other- Disrupting Beauty On Demand and Startups alike
Tap an App and summon your own staff – what used to sounds revolutionary, only five short years ago is now common parlance right?
The On Demand and instant gratification economy that we live in today is beyond what anyone expected. While some time ago this was a sole prerogative of the wealthy, is now available for the everyman. Technology has democratized services and enabled entrepreneurs to create marketplaces providing services at an affordable cost.
What makes these startups disruptive is the fact that they make an existing way of interaction between the end users and the service providers much more efficient.
Mobile Beauty or Beauty on Demand refers to bringing salon services to your home or office. From the client perspective, this has been great as it allows stylists and practitioners to arrive at your doorstep whenever you desire!
This is what celebrities do, right?
Whether it is a stay at home parent or a busy professional looking to fit in an appointment during the lunch hour or anyone looking to spend a lazy day not having to step out of the door, the convenience aspect makes a lot of sense. But what is making the concept viable now is that this service comes at an affordable cost too.
Last year there were 1.2 million professionals – hairdressers, stylists and cosmetologists in the US alone. Self-employment rate is 28% for these professionals compared to 7% of the overall workforce in US. There is also a sizable proportion among the remaining 70 odd percent who want to freelance but a difficulty in marketing themselves makes it difficult to take a step in this direction. [Professional Beauty Association – Economic Snapshot of Salon Industry Report, 2013]. This clearly indicates that there is a lot of excess and idle capacity that can be leveraged by these on demand startups either in the form of ‘no strings attached’ additional demand for freelancers or more formal association where the freelancers work under contracts to provide on-site services. Moreover, it can also be expected that the overall demand for the personal appearance services will increase as it becomes easier to access them. As a result of this supply-side dynamic, these services can be provided at similar costs to those available in the salons.
In addition, if we analyze the concept further, quality is also baked into the platform. For any mobile beauty platform to be successful, the quality of services has to be top notch to ensure that the customer acquisition costs are minimal with the majority of requests coming from satisfied customers.
On Demand Business Model for Beauty
We have established that the industry dynamics make it viable from both the end users and the suppliers perspective for the interaction model to continue to shift to the on demand.
Some of the existing players
Stylebee- Was founded by Anna Santeramo and was based on On demand – on-site direct match model. Stylebee has undisclosed funding from investors including Shervin Pishevar of Sherpa Ventures. The startup provides blowouts, updos, face paintings, makeup and massage services to users based out of SF, LA and San Jose with the click of an app. With costs that are comparable to on-site salon appointments for similar services, the app provides a need-based service to Stay at Home moms, weddings, special events and date nights.
Glamsquad founded by Victoria Eisner and now headed by Gilt Group co-founder Alexandra W. Wilson raised $7 million in Series A funding last week to add to the $2 million in seed funding. Glamsquad is also based on the model of bringing beauty at your doorstep. Offerings can be chosen from a menu of What you get is What you See based makeup and hairstyle choices.
It exists in the so-called “Uber for X” category which involves on-demand services that you can order spontaneously at the push of a button on your on mobile phone. Arguably, this is a better model for meeting consumer demand when it comes to services that involve transportation, like Uber or Lyft, as advanced technology on the backend can more efficiently route drivers to where clients are located.
On Demand Business Model for Fat Loss
So it is very surprising to see that C'MERE ( www.cmereapp.com) is the first nonsurgical fat loss on demand app. We order fat to our door in the shape of food so why not Fat Loss? With a few simple taps of the app or on the website and you choose what fat you want to get rid of a qualified aesthetic practitioner arrives at your door to get rid of it.
Its that simple.
While the advantages to the client are obvious — No driving to a clinic, salon or slimming centre, no workouts at the gym, crazy diets and having the schedule nightmares of taking time out for travel— there are wider benefits for the client and the practitioner. You see the practitioners, are not freelancers and most enjoy being able to work whenever they want, and the pay is significantly higher but this gets stranger as this new London Startup is like no other tech start-up as most lean on the idea of the “gig economy.” Most startups staff up rapidly with freelancers, who are both cheaper to hire and more flexible (they can work as much or as little as needed). It’s the model Uber has used to upend the taxi business.
That model is also fueling a global debate over worker protections. Uber, with 1.1 million active drivers who has just been banned in London who argued that they should be classified as employees. Similar suits continue all around the world.
In a fairy-tale version of the C'MERE story, the company is betting on employees.
“What we’ve done with employees has pressured the business,” Jason Allan Scott, CEO of C'MERE, said.
C'MERE is still in its early days, and prospective venture fund investors have walked away, saying that betting on full-time employees was a deal killer for them. Its hiring strategy has slowed the company’s growth but he believes it will win in the end.
“I think Silicon Valley is still a pioneer of workforce models — but the model we use one that provides more and allows our workforce of laborers to participate in the wealth that we create going forward,” Scott argues that full-time employees allow him to offer better customer service. C'MERE believes technology is still as important as its people. “The barriers to entry to market are low,” says Scott, “but the barriers to scale are huge. Our satisfaction ratings, even while we’ve grown, have remained at 95 percent, but that’s only because we have the behind-the-scenes technology, data, and are currently working on Chat Boxes to help further with great service and bedside manner.” With technology and the adding of AI via the app, which will enable it to manage the process and make it better and better I feel C'MERE will take away more than fat but the lack of security that comes from the Gig-economy and the freelance affair many of us find ourselves in.
Sadly, an app to stop you eating the wrong foods, at the wrong times and that forces you to move is yet to be developed. Until that time, you might have to just use C'MERE and some education.