BIT Startup Of The Week: BeautyLynk “Bringing the Salon to you”
Salons and barbershops have always been plagued with scheduling woes and the customers always seem to be on the losing end of that battle. Then there is the issue of waiting even longer when you get to your appointment.
Thirty minute to an hour wait times are not at all out of the question when waiting for your appointment to begin. Wouldn’t it be better if the salon/barbershop came to you,? On your own time? How about even coming to your house? Well, a company called BeautyLynk is doing just that and eliminating the bad scheduling experiences of the salon/barbershop by providing an on demand beauty service.
Q: Who Founded your company?
A: BeautyLynk consists of the following people:
Rica Elysée (Founder and Chief Executive Officer): Prior to launching BeautyLynk, Rica founded Boston Naturals, a local meetup group for natural hair women, which has grown to include more than 1,200 members on the ground and 25,000 online. During that time, she noticed the lack of salons that employed experienced stylists who specialize in multi-textured hair. Through her work with Boston Naturals, she discovered these stylists and created BeautyLynk as a way to connect these local professionals with her underserved community of beauty enthusiasts.
Q: Give us a brief summary of your background in tech
A: Rica has built out several digital platforms with WordPress prior to starting BeautyLynk. She has played an instrumental role as the Product lead while building out the BeautyLynk Platform
Q: Tell us about your company, what does your company do or make?
A: BeautyLynk provides on-demand beauty services to any and every woman. Our team of licensed hairstylists and experienced makeup professionals is handpicked by a special committee after undergoing a rigorous threestep vetting process. From blowouts to wedding looks to braided extensions and more, our service offerings include a wide array of trending and traditional multicultural looks. We are passionate about empowering both beauty professionals and their clients using technology that is user-friendly and effective. Our passion is helping women look and feel their best without the hassle.
Q: What problem does your company aim to solve?
A: We aim to eliminate the often tedious and inconvenient process of going to a hair salon. Our professionals provide high quality beauty services at the convenience of the client’s home, hotel, etc. Unlike many salons, our beauty professionals also serve women of all hair textures who are seeking a wide variety of hairstyles. So, whether you have thick hair, long hair, short hair, bone straight hair, curly hair, natural hair, kinky hair or relaxed hair, we’ve got you covered. And, the same goes for makeup and catering to skin colors of all hues.
Q: How does the current version of your product solve that problem?
A: We bring the salon to the client by providing convenient online booking capabilities and deploying our beauty professionals to the client’s location. These services include everything from the basics (blowouts) to the advanced (bridal makeovers) to the culturally-specific (Marley twists.) Our personalized appointment structure ensures that each client gets the VIP treatment she deserves, regardless of hair texture or skin complexion.
Q: What is your company’s mission?
A: BeautyLynk is committed to helping beauty professionals earn more money & freedom, while helping women of all backgrounds feel beautiful, included and empowered.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge as a startup founder?
A: The biggest challenge has been getting the necessary funding to effectively scale the business. Other challenges include the growing pains of building an all-star team from the ground up that will allow me to transition from working “in” the business to working more strategically “on” the business and our long term road map.
Q: Did you ever feel like giving up?
A: Yes, I did consider giving up, but I had to become smarter and more resourceful with available funds, instead of stressing out over what I did not have.
Q: What lessons did you learn from that challenge?
A: At this point, I’ve launched several different ventures, so one of the biggest lessons for me has been learning how to flesh out the difference between opinions and actionable advice. When you tell people you’re starting or already have a business, people will offer up a lot of their opinions about what you should or shouldn’t be doing and it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by all of that. So, I had to develop the skills that would allow me to take all of it in but to only extract the really potent, actionable and relevant advice for whatever business or venture I’m working on at the moment.
Q: What has been your biggest victory?
A: Creating a professional development workshop for homeless women and children in Arizona. 50% of the participants were able to get jobs thanks to the workshop. It was all about being able to put the tools in front of them to get the jobs they needed. Tools like how to dress and documents to have.
Q: How did it make you feel?
A: I truly learned the power of one. I developed the entire workshop on my own. Thus, I felt very accomplished that I had the capability to positively impact other women’s’ lives.
Q: What lessons have you learned from your successes?
A: Hire slow, fire fast.
Q: If you could only give one piece of advice to an aspiring tech startup founder, what would it be?
A: Learn to flesh out the difference between opinions and actionable advice.
Q: Has your company received funding? If so, what type of funding? From who?
A: We are a client-funded business, meaning we are able to keep this thing going because we have women who are booking services through our platform! However, we are also actively meeting with investors and exploring other means of raising startup capital.
Q: How can users find more info on your company?
Q: How can they sign up for your service?
A: There are 5 easy steps:
- Go to beautylynk.com
- Pick your service
- Choose your professional (or leave it to us!)
- Select your appointment day and time
- Knock, Knock. It’s your BeautyLynk pro!
Q: How can people contact/follow you/your company?
A: Twitter: @BeautyLynk
Blacks In Technology’s Startup of the Week focuses on spotlighting and promoting Tech based startup companies founded by PoC or have PoC in top leadership positions. Want your startup company featured as our SoW? Submit your company now by completing the following form.
- BIT Hangouts On Air event – Outreachy Internships Pay Underrepresented Groups to Work in Open Source Software w/ guest Tony Sebro
- BIT Startup Of The Week: Abacus – “Helping students using real time data”
- Upcoming Twin Cities Blacks In Technology Software and Tech Meetup – “Leaders In Tech and Tech Pathways”
- #BITTechTalk ep. #105 w/ Amanda Spann
- BIT Startup Of The Week: Socialgive – “Making donating easier through social media”