It’s an old expression that definitely rings true when you’re trying to get an impromptu hair trim or professional makeup application. Personalized beauty services have been popping up left and right, but it can be next to impossible to get an appointment — and even when you do, you can kiss your entire afternoon goodbye due to the inevitable waiting around. It was out of this frustration that Boston startup BeautyLynk was born. Makeup and beauty home.
Rica Elysee, a Boston native, had been working on a side project when she came up with the concept: Boston Naturals, a group primarily consisting of women of color who are empowered to embrace their natural hair state through educational workshops, networking events, and other experiences. Elysee says she began to notice a common problem that many women faced: Limited access to hair and other beauty appointments when they’re needed.
“Currently, to get personalized beauty services when and where you want means you would have to plan, find, hire, and pay a crew to come to a specific location at a certain time,” she told me in an email interview. “BeautyLynk takes that entire process, repackages it, and makes it available for individual services. It only takes a few clicks or taps through our website or app to get service.”
Here's how the Web app works: Users click “book now,” choose the service they’re seeking — whether a wax or a blowdry — select their desired time, and wait for the stylist to arrive.
Makeup and beauty home.com
Already, the startup has brought about 25 beauty professionals on board, and is in the process of continually adding more. But Elysee noted that there’s one key obstacle the startup faces: some clients may be somewhat reluctant to leave their current stylist to take a chance on a new one.
“We're attacking this challenge through multiple fronts, like creating a standardized recruitment and training process for our stylists,” she said. “We're also creating newly developed processes that will ensure seamless transition from stylist to stylist. We're developing new technology that will help ensure our service is consistent.”
Of course, this isn’t the first company to offer on-demand beauty services, but where BeautyLynk aims to distinguish itself is by gathering information about you—which enables better and more customized results. For example, one survey can identify potential health concerns.
BeautyLynk will be available in an invitation-only trial next month, and will then launch to the general public in July. The six-person team is moving into the MassChallenge space through June thanks to a new partnership with Women’s iLab — a community for female-led startups — and beyond that will be working out of a Roxbury incubator. Elysee told me that BeautyLynk is currently bootstrapping, but that the startup plans to start fundraising in the next few months, after the official consumer launch. The team has also identified several partnership opportunities, such as with schools, hotels, real-time apps (like Uber), and other businesses.