‘Uber for beauty’ app seeks to raise US$1.4M to bring manicures to your door
London-based Blow LTD wants to expand into other parts of the U.K. and then internationally
A start-up that offers on-demand beauty services is looking to raise a £1 million (US$1.4 million) via crowdfunding, targeting time-poor individuals who want anything from facials to manicures at their fingertips.
The Blow LTD app allows users to book treatments via their smartphone on-demand.
Blow is the latest company looking to step up its challenge in the on-demand economy which sees consumers able to order anything from taxis to cleaners via apps.
The money is being raised on Seedrs, an equity crowdfunding site that lets people own shares in companies they back on the platform. Blow LTD is offering 11.11 per cent equity and is seeking £750,021 (US$1,088,918). Dharmash Mistry, an ex-venture capitalist and co-founder of Blow LTD, said it's likely the round will be over-subscribed and the company will raise nearer to £1 million. The other co-founder is Fiona McIntosh, the ex-editor-in-chief of Grazia and ELLE magazines.
Mistry said that the aim of going via the crowdfunding route is to help build the customer base.
"We think the next stage behind trial to repeat to loyalty is advocacy and ideally ownership. There's a good opportunity here to lock in our loyal consumers as well as offer shares to our professionals," Mistry says.
The money is going to be used on expansion. Currently, Blow LTD has focused on London, but wants to expand into other parts of the U.K. and then internationally.
"We are looking to expand geographically which is why we're raising money…to test new areas and then build marketing…to launch in multiple cities," Mistry said.
"We think this play is a global megacity play. But in the first step we are going to expand in the U.K. to build and prove the playbooks and expand perfectly, learn how to do it and make mistakes and expand internationally."
Blow LTD has been growing its revenues between 20 and 30 per cent month-over-month. It has two physical salons as well, which is how it started, and then launched the app seven months ago.
But Blow LTD is not the only start-up in the space. Priv is another on-demand beauty app, along with Prettly and City Swish. And in the U.S. there is a plethora of services.
The U.K. hairdressing and beauty treatment market is worth £4 billion (US$5.8 billion) in terms of revenues, according to market research firm IBISWorld, so there is big pie for all players to take a slice from.
So where does Blow LTD think it's different?
As well as the app, the start-up has two physical stores where it trains and vets all freelancers. Mistry said the process is "rigorous" and only 15 per cent of applicants make it through to being listed on the platform.
"When you get to services like beauty you are physically going into someone's home and you need to make sure you are delivering super high quality services. So our differentiation is we have invested deeply in operations and quality and to do this we have two flagship stores…they give us credibility of marketing but they also provide a training and testing ground," according to Mistry.