We live in an exciting time, when we can do a lot with social tools and smartphones. The innovative founders of these four companies drew inspiration from existing technology and applied it to the stuff that really matters—beauty! (We’re kidding, mostly.) Here are some fellow beauty tech companies worth checking out.
What it is: Virtual makeover app
What they say: “Showing consumers what they would look like with a certain cosmetic product is only part of the story. Consumers also want advice, product recommendations, and more social engagement during their makeover. The new ModiFace does all of this with an elegant and carefully thought out user experience,” said Dr. Parham Aarabi, Founder and CEO of ModiFace.
How it works: Remember those Cosmo makeover programs from the ’90s? This is light years beyond those. Not unlike Inglot’s makeover app that we wrote about a few months ago, Modiface lets you try on real-life shades from a bunch of brands (including Inglot and Stila), as well as “skin care changes,” like tanning and acne fixes. Wanna see what you’d look like with a brow lift? What about jaw reduction? They even have a patented foundation matching system that scans your Facebook photos for your true shade. Upload your picture and try not to waste the whole day playing.
What it is: Appointment-booking service, San Francisco
What they say: “The idea for BeautyWhim came about when Laurel Berg, our hair stylist/salon owner co-founder and CEO, had needed to get her nails done for a special occasion, and couldn't for the life of her figure out why it was so hard to find the right salon at the right time. She asked me ‘why on earth isn't there an OpenTable for nails?’ and lightning struck for both of us,” says co-founder Stephanie Bergman. “BeautyWhim is catering to the potential client and the nail salons that want to get found, filling seats that would otherwise sit empty. We all know that our neighborhood spots are a total long shot to get into on Saturday morning. We connect the two, so that fitting in a mani-pedi, where and when you want it, is easy.”
How it works: You can find and book appointments on the go, so you don’t have to call ahead or scramble for a last-minute sesh at your last choice. BeautyWhim is now accepting users in San Francisco for its invitation-only beta.
Is working on a beauty startup all glamour, all the time? “There are definitely some non-glamorous things—never thought we'd see a futon again—but this is exactly where we want to be,” says Bergman.
What it is: appointment-booking service, New York City
What they say: “I was born and raised in NYC so I have always had tons of options when it came to beauty maintenance,” says CEO and co-founder Abby Ziff. “After spending what seemed like hours on the phone scheduling appointments, never even knowing all of the opportunities in my neighborhood, I decided that there needed to be another way. I have used OpenTable and Seamless since their inception and knew the beauty industry could benefit from such a model.” Ziff also notes that the app frees staffers in salons and spas from being tied to the phone all day, so they can do what they do best.
How it works: Log on, pick your service, and book—all online; it’s the NYC sister to BeautyWhim.
What it’s like being a female leader in the male-dominated tech industry?: “It has definitely been an uphill battle. I think we came in at the best time possible. People are starting to see the benefits of female-run companies and we are glad to be here during this shift,” says Ziff.
Photo on right: Beauteeze founders, Abby Ziff and Adi Turgeman
What it is: directory of nail artists, with a full gallery of looks
What they say: “Nail artists are innately social and tech-forward, says founder Ali Wiezbowski. “Name any social network out there (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit, Google+)—every one of them has a large and active nail art community. And these communities have welcomed TopCoat with open arms.”
What it does: You can click through TopCoat’s nail design gallery for inspiration, and then book the artist who created something you like for an exact replica, or an original look.
Is it easy to convince people to get onboard with nail art?: “I’ve gotten connected to an amazing network of entrepreneurs in San Francisco, some in tech, others in the personal services business,” Wiezbowski says. “I’ve had so much positive reinforcement for what I’m doing. I do have to spend about five minutes in each pitch educating many in the room about the opportunity in nail services, nail polish, and specifically nail art, but once they learn about community engagement, they get really excited.”
It’s thrilling to see fellow beauty-techies. We foresee lots of changes on the horizon, and can’t wait to see what’s next! What beauty apps are you using aside from Beautylish? Let us know in the comments.