Frustrated with the cumbersome process of booking beauty appointments—you know the drill, you call various salons to find your desired stylists and time slots not available and end up with an unknown and a disastrous hair cut—Melody McCloskey joined forces in 2011 with her Current TV colleague Dan Levine to found StyleSeat, an online marketplace for beauty and wellness services. Prior to StyleSeat, Melody led digital distribution for Current TV. With more than 250,000 stylists in over 15,000 cities across the U.S. and more than 5 million beauty appointments booked in 2013 through StyleSeat, Melody has not gone unnoticed by the press. She has been named one of the Top Women in Tech to Watch by Inc. Magazine, one of the Most Stylish People in Silicon Valley by Business Insider, and one of the Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company.
Here, Melody shares her experience in launching a startup company and how StyleSeat can hook you up with the stylist of your dreams.
Tell us a bit about your background. What inspired you to create StyleSeat?
My personal experience was what initially drove the idea for StyleSeat. A few years ago I went to three salons in San Francisco for a cut and color and left feeling really disappointed with how I looked. I knew there had to be a better way to discover a great stylist, book, and pay for the appointment. Before we existed there were reviews sites, which weren’t great and focused on a business, not the individual professionals. Recommendations from friends were hit or miss. StyleSeat lets you search for the service you’re looking for, sort by things like price or neighborhood, browse stylist profiles, photos, and reviews and book online or from your mobile phone.
I mentioned that initially my personal experience drove the idea for StyleSeat, but as I began to talk with beauty professionals, it was really eye-opening how huge the opportunity was to help them grow their businesses, too. StyleSeat serves both beauty professionals and consumers. We provide free business tools to stylists and make it easy for them to manage their businesses from their mobile phones, just as we have made it easier for consumers to discover, book, and pay for appointments with amazing beauty professionals.
How does StyleSeat differ from other online beauty booking sites?
We have more than 250,000 stylists and salons in more than 15,000 cities across the US, so we’re by far the biggest platform. We also make it so easy to search for a stylist or beauty pro. Users can search by specific services such as color, blowout, or braids, as well as by availability for a specific time. For example, someone can search for a stylist available to do a blowout at 4:00 pm today in Chicago.
StyleSeat also makes it incredibly easy for people to manage all their beauty appointments in one place. Clients can schedule, cancel, rebook, and see all the appointments they have booked with various beauty professionals over time. They can also pay for their services right through the StyleSeat app or website.
What was the biggest challenge in creating StyleSeat?
Every startup has many challenges, but I’d say our primary one was convincing our first few investors that a company in the beauty industry that supports beauty professionals could get big. Ultimately, we found a great group of investors who really believe in what we are doing and have helped us grow quickly.
What types of services can be booked through StyleSeat and how far is its reach?
Appointments with hair stylists are the leading type of service booked through StyleSeat. We have a growing number of estheticians, nail artists, and massage therapists on our platform, as well. More than 250,000 beauty professionals across more than 15,000 cities across the US are on StyleSeat. More than 8 million beauty appointments have been booked through StyleSeat since we launched.
Have you ever been involved with a startup before? What surprised you the most?
When I started StyleSeat, I worked seven days a week, from 10:00 am till 2:00 am for the first year and a half. I spent zero time with friends or family and worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life. Despite that, it was 10 times more fulfilling than any job I’d had previously, and I was happiest during that time than I’d ever been. That was surprising.
What’s next for StyleSeat?
We just launched a new and improved app that I’m SO excited about. It has a whole new design and a lot more functionality for clients than we’ve never had before. We also have a lot of features that we’ll be launching soon to give consumers even more reasons to use StyleSeat to book their services. I can’t talk much about it but I’m pretty pumped up. We have the beauty pros, so now is the time to focus on the consumer experience and growth in a big way, so it’s a really important time for the company.
“The best beauty secret is to feel confident; if you feel beautiful you’ll have a beautiful day,” says Achelle Dunaway, the creative director for the uber fun and accessibly priced e.l.f. cosmetics brand. Since joining e.l.f. in 2005, Achelle has made the process of gaining confidence through beauty easier and easier with the introduction of the e.l.f. Mineral and Studio Collections, as well as expanding into the nail and bath & body categories.
As a makeup artist, Achelle has worked on celebrities, musicians, and entertainment personalities. Here, she shares some easy-to-adapt makeup tips with Beauty in the Bag.
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you become a makeup artist?
I started at e.l.f. in 2005 and it has been and continues to be an exciting journey to which I feel very blessed to participate in. I became a certified makeup artist shortly after I started with e.l.f. to get a deeper understanding of professional application techniques.
Our readers always want to know how to make makeup last. Any tips?
This is a great question! To keep makeup lasting longer apply a primer as your base for your eyeshadow and foundation, this will act as a holding agent for your makeup. You can also use a setting spray that is a “hairspray” for your makeup, if you will. Also waterproof eyeliner and mascara is a great way to keep makeup lasting, as well as using a lip stain/marker to saturate your lips with color for long-lasting wear.
Do you have any other at-home makeup tips?
Always, always wash your face before bed and moisturize morning and night. This is key to helping keep skin hydrated and supple. A great trick for making sure you have the perfect look is to apply makeup by your window for the best natural light. This will give you an accurate read on how your foundation looks and how dramatic your eyeshadow colors are.
Concealing dark under eye shadows is always a challenge. What do you suggest?
A quick way to look bright eyed and well rested is to apply under eye concealer with skin brighteners. This helps to conceal any dark under-eye circles and creates a youthful glow to the face. First apply a moisturizer like e.l.f. Eye Refresh to hydrate the skin. Then use a concealer; I like the e.l.f. HD Lifting Concealer—the formula is infused with key ingredients vitamin C, green tea, and mulberry for lifting and soothing benefits, and helps improve skin texture. Afterwards, set the concealer with a powder like e.l.f. Undereye Setting Powder; this light-diffusing powder camouflages fine lines, dark circles, and imperfections with a brightening pearlized effect that attracts light for a natural glow, while the vitamin C & K infused formula helps to restore and strengthen skin for a revitalized appearance.
The mission of e.l.f. is to market makeup at very reasonable prices. How does the company keep costs down yet offer quality products?
We often ask the question, “Why do other brands overcharge?” We pride ourselves on luxury products at an affordable price. We keep costs down by not marking up with attributed celebrity endorsements and huge advertising costs. We also purchase in large quantities, which help absorb costs.
If you could create any beauty product, what would it do?
Well that’s pretty much my job but if I could have super powers I would love to create a natural non-invasive way to be able to “photoshop” your face to look your ideal flawless self without needing any makeup. Sign me up for that!
For our latest Gorgeous Giveaway, glo·therapeutics has graciously offered one set of its newest mineral-based skin care launches. This anti-aging foursome has a total value of $329, making it one of our most generous beauty giveaways ever.
A highlight of this giveaway is the new glo·therapeutics Cyto-Luxe system, three products to help turn back the clock and create glowing, firm skin. This system includes:
Cyto-Luxe Vitamin C+: Start the repair with this potent concentration of 20% L-ascorbic acid and plant stem cells to strengthen and firm skin. As cells are strengthened and repaired, skin becomes denser and more hydrated creating a plumping action to smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
Cyto-Luxe Hydration+: The secret behind this uber hydrator is Dermatein® HyA Mini, a type of hyaluronic acid that has a smaller molecular size so it penetrates deeper into the skin than many alternatives. The HA plumps the cellular matrix while plant stem cells derived from sweet iris work to rejuvenate and rebalance.
Cyto-Luxe Eye Serum: This silky serum helps slow the aging process by supporting the cells that keep you looking young. Plant stem cells work to hydrate, reduce puffiness, and diminish dark circles.
In addition to the Cyto-Luxe trio, this beauty giveaway includes:
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Together, these four products will help reduce summer’s damage and set you up with glowing, beautiful skin.
To Enter: It’s nearly fall. Tell us how you change your skin care routine when the season changes.
COMMENT post your response in the comment section of this post
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Open to US residents only. Contest begins 9/1 at 11 AM ET and ends 9/14 at 11 PM ET.
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