Finding a new hair stylist in a city is a challenging and very important task. For me, I happen to be very particular about how I like my hair cut, styled and highlighted. While Yelp provides a database of reviews for some hair salons and spas, Yelp’s salon pages don’t allow me to book an appointment, see pricing, or access more information about the stylists themselves. Enter StyleSeat, a startup launching today at TechCrunch Disrupt. Essentially the site aims to be a destination where the beauty and wellness industry can build consumer-facing sites that include all the information and functionality I mentioned above. It’s sort of like an OpenTable for hair salons and spas.
For salon and spa owners, StyleSeat offers a platform where they can create a site that includes location of the salon, stylists and their bios, pictures of haircuts and hair styles from stylists, recommendations from customers, and more. The site also allows consumers to book appointments, and StyleSeat will provide salons with daily schedules of customers appointments.
Additionally, the platform serves as SaaS for marketing. Salons can share content on Facebook, will be able to access analytics about conversions and traffic, and can send marketing emails to clients and post promotions and deals. For example, StyleSeat can tell a stylist how booked she is, when her lightest days are, and more. All of client’s information is in one place and stylists have mobile access to their schedules from iPhone and Android apps. The startup also plans to launch a rewards program that salons can offer customers.
On the consumer side, visitors can not only access all the relavent info on a salon’s stylists (including recommendations, photos and more) but they can search for stylists in their location by cost, type of hair or specialty. For example, if you have curly hair and need a stylist that specializes in cutting thick, curly hair, StyleSeat will be able to show you those salons in your area. Users can also book appointments at salon’s via StyleSeat will receive a text message and email reminder.
Here’s their presentation.
Founded by Melody McCloskey and Dan Levine, StyleSeat has already caught the eye of a number of well-known angel investors; recently raising $700,000 in funding from Chris Sacca, Jeff Clavier, Travis Kalanick, Dave Morin, Garrett Camp, Alfred Lin, Christoph Janz, Othman Laraki, Steve Lee, Paige Craig, Joe Stump, 500 Startups, and Team Europe Ventures.
According to McCloskey, there is a $22 billion market around the beauty industry, which is dominated by word-of-mouth recommendations; yet there are no comprehensive, integrated tools to manage customers relationships, offer online booking, market their services or acquire customers. StyleSeat hopes to fill this gap.
Q: How do you plan to scale?
A: It’s a niche sales arena, if you can get one partner, it’s helpful.
Q: How are you bringing clients leads?
A: That’s not part of the model, right now.
Q: Is this like OpenTable for the beauty industry?
A: It’s similar.
Q: I agree with the problem you are solving. I don’t know how to convince myself that you can get there fast.
Q: What’s the barrier to entry?
A: We’ve specialized the backend for the hair salon and stylist industry.