Great business ideas can start in the most unexpected places.
For me, it was at a hair salon.
I was getting my hair cut and asked my stylist about a new type of business I had noticed in the area: places where customers can get their hair done rather than cut. I was fascinated to learn that this was a huge market. Then, I started seeing similar businesses open that offered makeup services.
Soon after, a friend brought an idea to me. In Las Vegas, a former makeup artist with Mac Cosmetics could not accommodate all the VIPs who wanted her to do their makeup. She’d send them to salons, only to find that those were booked. That led to a smart new way to fill the demand.
It’s called beGlammed — also known as the Uber of beauty.
No salon. No waiting area. Just makeup, updos, downdos and blowouts, all in the comfort of your home. This new business I’m involved with lets customers book and pay for appointments with technicians through a smartphone app.
beGlammed started in Las Vegas is now in nearly major metropolitan areas in the U.S. and Canada.
The buzz on beGlammed
Here’s what Margaux Anbouba wrote on D Magazine’s Shop Talk blog:
“…by 8:50 a.m. I was sitting at my dining room table, watching The Wedding Planner while Jenn worked on my blowout and Dietra started on my natural makeup look. The stylists bring all of their supplies with them — all you need to do is show up with wet hair, a clean face, and a willingness to be pampered.
“In less than an hour (53 minutes to be exact) I had been glamified. I had requested a smooth, straight blowout, which was great except for a few hard-to-tame baby hairs. My makeup was also exactly what I wanted: very natural with minimal eyeliner and a strong brow. My look lasted throughout the day (multiple meetings and a party), only needing minimal touchups.
Thanks to beGlammed, it’s almost like I know what it’s like to be a Kardashian now. If only they could pick out what you wear as well—then, the app would be truly perfect.”
And Lynsey Eaton, who hosted a party to prepare for an event, wrote on Tomboy KC blog:
“Let me just say, there is nothing like getting ready in the comfort of your own home. Complete with loud music, Austin Cocktails and the beGlammed glam squad (shout-out to my new BFF Jenn), we partied like it was someone’s wedding day only at the end of the day we all looked like the bride (if the bride wore all black and culottes) and no one had to make vows other than to do this again sometime. It’s enough to make a girl dance around the kitchen while singing Fergie’s Glamorous nonstop at the top of her lungs (hashtag happened). We’re thinking the holidays. Who’s in?”
Unexpected inspiration, an undeniable opportunity
beGlammed can do much more than bring glamour to a customer’s doorstep. The unique business can teach us a lot about how to be successful entrepreneurs. Here are three lessons we can draw from my experience:
- Pay attention. One of the biggest things we can learn from beGlammed is to listen to consumers’ needs and expectations. beGlammed was started by a makeup artist who worked for clients staying in Las Vegas hotels. She had so many requests for a room service stylist; she had to turn away clients. I got involved with beGlammed after noticing a proliferation of shops that offer makeup services and hair styling rather than haircut services. The trend demonstrated the demand for a business like beGlammed, which takes the idea one step further to deliver these services at customers’ doorsteps.
- Solve a problem. Find creative ways to solve problems for consumers. Can you find a way to use technology to make life easier for people? Smartphones made it possible for Uber, Airbnb and beGlammed to connect customers with services they want and need. The great news for beGlammed customers is they don’t have to drive to the salon. They can get their hair and makeup done at home and on their own schedule.
- Cut out a middleman. Part of what makes beGlammed such a dazzling idea is that it makes business more efficient for independent hair and makeup stylists by connecting them directly with customers. The most talented hair stylists are 60 to 70 percent utilized, partly because of canceled appointments. beGlammed cuts out the salon. Business ideas that can do this have an advantage. As Brian Hamilton points out in Inc.: “The Internet has been a tremendously disruptive and devastating force against people who operate in ‘the middle.’ Ask real-estate brokers and travel agents about the impact of CraigsList and Travelocity on their business models. Anything that stands between the buyer and seller is being minimized, streamlined, or in some cases, totally leapfrogged. If your idea is cutting out an unnecessary step or (let’s face it) an unnecessary profession out of the equation, the odds are that it’s a pretty strong idea,” writes Hamilton.