When Daria Burke first moved to a new city she stressed over finding a stylist who understood the needs of her textured hair.
Coming up short on options she traveled over three hours back to Manhattan to a trusted salon. She resorted, as many of those with textured tresses do, to asking a woman on a street in her new neighborhood what stylist she used.
Now she’s making it easier for women with multitextured hair to find someone they can trust with their tresses with an app called Trest (trestbeauty.com). “It was my own personal experience of not being able to find anyone to do my hair that inspired me to create Trest,” she said of her new mobile app that leverages social networks to discover salons with high marks for textured styles. She added it is the first on-demand beauty app to “democratize” hair and tell the multitextural story. It isn’t just for multicultural consumers, but those with multitextured hair.
Uncovering the right stylist for textured hair is paramount. “It is important to find a stylist who understands and likes to work with texture,” explained Michelle Breyer, the president and founder of NaturallyCurly and a pioneer in bringing attention to the needs of textured hair. “It isn’t one-size-fits-all. Curly hair doesn’t play by the same rules and most women with textured hair have had a haircut nightmare.” Her company research reveals women are willing to travel two hours for the right stylist.
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Added Ouidad, the curl guru who has salons and products under her name, “For textured hair, it’s crucial to have the right cut because of its unique pattern which requires a knowledgeable stylist with the right techniques to give the hair shape and manageability. All too often, women with textured hair have had an unfavorable experience by going to stylists who were not trained in their hair type.”
Trest helps women find salons they can trust based on recommendations of friends in their social network. “You can find the salons and hidden gems rated by people who you know. You don’t have to have awkward conversations about how to wash your hair, or that you don’t just want a blow-out or to fear damage to your hair,” said Burke. “The trial-and-error approach to finding a hair salon simply isn’t an option for women with textured hair. And there still isn’t an easy way to share recommendations with friends who have similar concerns.”
By leveraging the Facebook SDK for iOS, Trest allows users a convenient way to discover salons and stylists the way they like to: through friends they trust. Trest is the first salon and hair-focused app to leverage community in this way, the company said.
At the recent Facebook Beauty Summit, Facebook’s U.S. industry lead for beauty and luxury indicated consumers are comfortable buying key products in their regimen online. She sees opportunity for social commerce where mobile plays a critical role in terms of discovery. Commerce is shifting to mobile, she stressed.
Market reports show that 82 percent of women now believe that social media drives style trends. People are influenced by the constant flow of information and opinion not only from trend setters or celebrities, but also from friends and friends of friends.
Burke added that Trest is also the first of its’ kind, from a technology standpoint, to leverage social media to help women find the salons they want, “the way they want to,” she noted. “Trest is the first salon and hair-focused app to leverage community in this way. Trest is about inclusivity and empowering women to define their own beauty and have a place to easily find recommendations from people they trust,” she explained.
To use Trest, users select a city where they want to find a salon. Then they click on the service desired and allow access to their location. Then Trest provides a list of recommended salons within three miles, starting with those vetted by friends in the users’ social network.
When the salon is identified, the user can call the salon to make an appointment or use the Trest Concierge to submit an appointment request including the service and preferred appointment date and time. Within one hour an email is sent confirming the details and if an appointment is available, the concierge provides options for nearby salons with open slots. “This was really built with the end-user in mind,” said Burke of the free iOS app that is planned to expand to android, too.
Attracting the multitextured consumer is paramount in the salon industry, which is riding a wave of growth pegged at a 6.5 percent compound annual growth rate. Hair represents the largest revenue stream. These women spend freely, about three times that of other female customers and shell out nine times more on beauty than the general market as far as products directly targeted to their hair type.
Burke is no stranger to fusing beauty and technology with a background including Estée Lauder and Rent the Runway.
The Trest iOS app will launch early October 2016 in select markets nationwide, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco with plans to add expand in new markets nationwide over the next six months. Featuring nearly 60 salons and over 60 stylists at launch, Trest will also add new features throughout the remainder of 2016.