The founders of a new app think they can get the average person to pay for expert style advice by making it accessible with the tap of a touchscreen.
That’s the premise of the Tipster app, created by actress Skyler Samuels and Andrew Duplessie. Daniel Taylor, who currently serves as chief operating officer, was later added to the team with the cofounder designation. The app connects people with stylists in fashion, hair and beauty. Thirty minutes of consulting runs, on average, about $20, although rates vary depending on the stylist. What’s dubbed as “instant service” is cheaper at $1.99 and involves answering a set of questions and then uploading a photo to be reviewed by a stylist of one’s choice. The latter is good for quick runs to CVS when a user might want advice on what eye shadow palette to pick up based on eye color, Samuels pointed out by way of example.
The company’s founders raised a $500,000 friends-and-family round late last year. They count about 20 workers companywide, divided between the company’s Los Angeles headquarters and New York office.
While the service offered through the app is consumer facing, the two also hope to sell the business to stylists and brands.
“A lot of our stylists have 15,000 to almost a million followers and they’re having trouble monetizing,” said Duplessie, who serves as chief executive officer.
The company, which began beta testing the app about a year ago, has already mapped out an aggressive path to growing revenue based on findings from those tests.
“We saw that during our beta testing [users] really take the stylists’ opinion seriously,” Duplessie said.
That trust will help pave the way for additional features and more ways for artists who may have existing partnerships with beauty, hair or other brands to use the app.
An Android version of Tipster is expected to launch in August. Live-streaming within the app for makeup artists and hair stylists to offer tutorials is expected to roll out in the fall, around the same time an in-app shopping capability will be added.
The app’s targeting users in the 13- to 19-year-old bracket. “Tipster fits nicely into that demographic,” Samuels said. “That’s the way they shop now and discover beauty and fashion.”
Tipster’s roster of stylists currently totals around “several hundred,” according to Duplessie. Those artists are accepted into the fold based on factors such as whether or not they have a web site, are signed to an agency or have a minimum of 5,000 Instagram or Facebook followers.
The company is now generating revenue with the app and expects to be profitable by the end of this year, according to Duplessie. The company declined to provide a specific revenue projection for 2017, which would be its first full year in business, with Duplessie saying they’re projecting to have about 500,000 users by the end of 2016.