Glamsquad is angling to become beauty’s next big retailer.
Amy Shecter, chief executive officer of Glamsquad who joined the company last year to both scale up and diversify the business’s revenue channels, coined a new term — “personal commerce” — to describe the start-up’s approach to retail that will begin to take shape in 2018.
“The level of intimacy that’s in the home, [coupled with] the beauty professional providing you the service, tips and tricks and the opportunity to sell product is a unique position for commerce in the future,” Shecter said. “It’s an opportunity for beauty brands because they don’t have this kind of access with education and trial in a department store or in specialty cosmetics. Everyone wants greater access to the customer in the home and more intimacy. We are in the most intimate position.”
A retail shift is occurring in the beauty landscape, where a stable of multibrand, specialty retailers continue to scoop up more and more market share from department stores with dwindling foot traffic. But Glamsquad is confident it can get in on the action, and due to its foundation as a service provider, Shecter believes the almost four-year-old start-up has an advantage.
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The reason is twofold. Due to the nature of on-demand services for hair, makeup and nails, stylists can touch consumers in the most private of environments — their homes — in a way that’s hands-on and allows them to truly and organically experience products. If a client loves the way her hair or makeup turns out, it’s likely she may want to purchase the exact skin care, makeup and hair serum and texturizing spray that got her there. And soon, the stylist will be able to help facilitate these transactions.
“That’s the future. The service is the start of our relationship and built on trust — but that just starts the relationship. Once our clients are accustomed to this 360-degree selling relationship…we think it can be 30, 40 or 50 percent of the business,” said David Goldweitz, cofounder and chief strategic officer of Glamsquad.
He declined to comment on whether the brand is looking to raise additional funding — the last raise was about $15 million in 2015 — but maintained that Glamsquad’s on track to turn a profit in little over two years from now.
He called Glamsquad a “tech business” with a consumer focus at its core, teasing an upcoming launch of a proprietary technology designed to aid in “intelligent matching.” A beauty professional app was introduced in the spring that informs stylists of clients’ past experiences — inclusive of styles they’ve gotten that they either did or didn’t like and photos of looks a client might have uploaded to their profile as inspiration — but the new technology will focus more on trying to match the client to the right beauty professional.
“It’s a high-touch, high cost of failure business. We want to make it better than the request you’re making. Unless you try all of our stylists, you won’t know who is the best for you,” Goldweitz said, noting that these tech upgrades will allow for “faster lead times” as well.
Hopefully, the current one-hour notice required to book an appointment will be shaved down to just 30, or even 15 minutes. The goal, he stated, is to become an Uber of sorts for beauty services, where even at absolute peak times the app will be able to accommodate same-day appointments in real time.
But elevated technology and an evolution from “just services” — which has been the only source of revenue since inception — are just two of several initiatives about to roll out across the company.
This week, Glamsquad’s web site and app got a facelift, entirely new branding (visually and linguistically) and updated photography. Gone is the cursive, flashy pink “Glamsquad” and corresponding branding once plastered site-wide that was more Elle Woods than the mid-20s to 30s urban professional woman the brand is trying to attract. In its place is a sleeker, minimal black logo that not only feels more elevated and mature, but will likely appeal to a broader client base. Also, a new tag line — “When you feel amazing you make amazing things happen” — is designed to illustrate the mission-based company’s support of women “on their own terms.”
There’s significant market expansion about to take place, too.
By the end of 2017, Glamsquad will have booked upward of 200,000 appointments (via 1,000 stylists) for the year — double that of last 2016, with plans to hit 400,000 appointments in 2018, according to Shecter. For her, this momentum crystalized the need — and demand — for the brand to expand nationwide, as well as increase presence in existing markets. Shecter’s plan is ambitious, and includes the opening of 15 to 20 markets through 2020 in cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, Atlanta and more. As far as existing markets, she identified Westchester County (Armonk and Scarsdale) and Long Island as potential additions to the New York area.
Services are offered in New York (and surrounding areas such as Brooklyn and Long Island City, N.Y., and Jersey City and Hoboken, N.J., and select areas of Queens as of this month), Los Angeles (Orange County and Manhattan Beach just opened and “we can easily expand up and down California from San Francisco to San Diego,” Shecter said), Miami and Washington, D.C.
Next year will also see the addition of a fifth service, following the rollout of nail care last year and face masks in May. Eyebrow services — including waxing, shaping and tinting — will become available in early 2018.
Shecter called this a highly repeatable service, explaining that a client can start using Glamsquad for eyebrow styling every three to four weeks — perhaps more often than they would for a blowout. She was secretive about which brand would be the launch partner — the deal isn’t finalized yet — but shared that the partnership would span products, training and protocol. Glamsquad already has partnerships with Kerastase for hair care, Dyson for blowdryers, Essie and CND for nails.
“We did a survey and inbound inquiry [showed clients] want eyebrows, eyelashes, Botox, spray tanning, hair treatments and mini facials — tons of services. I was actually surprised, Botox at home I wasn’t expecting,” Shecter said with a laugh. “But what I found interesting is it showed how much they trust us. A lot of requests were around massages. There are so many people out there doing massages. Why would you want a massage from us? It came back that they trust us, and the level of expertise we have with our professionals.”