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Today, when everything – whether it’s food, education or shopping – is making a shift towards digital world then how can the beauty and wellness space lack behind. There was a time when women use to book appointments a week in advance or visit the local beauty salon for a haircut. But today, in this digital era, salons and spas are just a click away. All credit goes to the start-ups emerging in this space, like Vyomo, MangeMySpa, Nykaa.com, VanityCube, Purplle and many more, who have transformed the beauty and wellness industry drastically. According to the reports, the beauty industry is over $4.8 billion in India and is expanding at a rapid pace with increasing disposable income.
Gurgaon based on-demand beauty service start-up VanityCube, with a motto to become the ‘Uber for Beauty’ is one such example. Founded by Renu Bisht and Pragya Upadhyay in 2014, the venture claims to deliver on-demand professional and affordable beauty services at your doorstep within 90 minutes. “Spending hours in salon during weekends was not making sense and we started looking out for service providers, who can provide similar services at home. To our surprise, we found none and the existing ones were very low on quality or not professional enough. It took us few months to do the research, develop the business model, talk to beauticians and bringing them on board,” said Renu Bisht, Co-founder, VanityCube.
VanityCube works on a hybrid model, where they have beauticians on their payroll and also work with artists on 30 per cent commission basis on their earning in services like makeup, where the product offering is more standard and organised.
Apart from this, in their B2B segment, they work with over ten corporate companies in Delhi-NCR to provide beauty services in office premises. To ensure authenticity and trust in the system, every beautician carries an ID card, VanityCube’s kit, uniform and is duly verified by the company. Services can be accessed anytime between 9 am to 9 pm on all seven days of the week.
Currently operational in Delhi-NCR, the company processes 1,000 orders on a monthly basis with an average transaction size of Rs 800 – Rs 1,000. Within a span of six months, the start-up had already added 60 people on board and today, it has a strong team of 70 members. To reach these figures, VanityCube overcame many hurdles to establish their identity in industry.
Whether it was about finalising their first employee or making beauticians adept to the idea of on-demand service, their constant effort and determination helped them overcome all hurdles. “Most of the employees, came from professional salons, and were resilient towards visiting the client’s home without having met them ever before. But with the constant efforts by the team, 90 per cent of the target employees developed a positive for the idea,” said Bisht.
Maintaining high order of service quality and ensuring the availability of therapists within 90 minutes of booking is what make them stand unique from other similar ventures dealing in the same segment. “Quality and standardisation of services along with the promise of making beauty services more affordable is the key objective for us. We would like to make the process more convenient for customers to avail services before thinking about time, money and location. They can book service at home/office/or hotels,” Bisht added further.
Recently, the company also announced to raise seed round of funding from a group of angel investors. This was the first round of external funding for a year old venture. They plan to utilize this fund for expansion of technology team, training and market initiatives. Commenting on the investment, Bisht said, “We will also invest in expanding our B2B segment to cater to our customers during office timings, so that they don’t have to wait for free time before availing services.”
Growth and Expansion Plans
Currently serving more than 4,000 customers, VanityCube plans to scale it to more than 10,000 customers in the next 3-4 months. They are also in process of launching mobile app for Android and iOS users. Apart from this, they are looking forward to expand their presence in new cities (like Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Chandigarh) within six months.
“We plan to expand by entering new cities in next six months. Along with this, we are also looking to add more than 100 specialist makeup artists to our panel, so that we can provide makeup services to more and more customers at an affordable price,” she said. With around 65-70 per cent repeat customers, the venture is also looking to explore other segments like hair care and makeup as well.
Receiving exceptional response from her customers, Bisht shares that the business idea itself and huge customer response gives her the confidence to work hard to achieve success. “A great combination of hard work and smart work is the key to success. There will be lot of ups and down when you start, but never lose faith in your idea and keep innovating,” said a proud Bisht.
Beauty and wellness start-ups are getting a lot of investor attention these days. Start-ups like Vyomo, recently, announced to raise an undisclosed amount of seed funding from cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s start-up fund YouWeCan Ventures. Other start-ups in beauty space, like Purplle secured over $5 million in its Series A round of funding from IvyCap Ventures in January this year, while Nykka raised Rs 20 crore through private investors, including HNIs and NRIs.