Q&A: Monique Salvador, CEO/Founder, Blushup
RTIH: Tell us about Blushup.
MS: Blushup is the first online marketplace where women can discover and book in-store beauty services through a single app. We keep our customers digitally connected to their local beauty retailers, much like Open Table keeps customers connected to restaurants.
More than just a booking technology, we are a niche community of women who love in-store beauty services and our soon to be launched review system will allow women to share reviews and ratings of all beauty counters with eachother.
RTIH: What was the inspiration behind setting the company up?
MS: Booking a makeup appointment in New York City was a major hassle for me and I was frustrated that no one had ever built an app to help women get easier access to their local beauty retailers. There were many apps around connecting people to freelance beauty artists or salons, but no one was solving the digital gap between people and in-store beauty services.
I wanted to have a single app where I could go online for free, view all the beauty counters near me, see their prices and reviews and have the ability to book online without the hassle of making phone calls to the stores. I spoke to hundreds of women and makeup artists at stores all over the world who felt the same way and they inspired me to start Blushup.
RTIH: What has been the industry reaction thus far?
MS: We’ve been getting very positive feedback from the industry and as our brand is becoming more known, the number of bookings have been increasing steadily on a month to month basis.
We are currently negotiating contracts with big brands and retailers and both our B2C and B2B customers love what we’re doing. We all seem to be on the same page where we feel like it’s a win win situation for everyone.
RTIH: What has been your biggest challenge/setback?
MS: The retail industry is one of the slowest to adapt to change and new technology. The sales cycles when dealing with large enterprises are a lot longer than other beauty booking apps connecting users to freelancers or salons.
Investors often want to see fast growth and a lot of traction and this is a slow industry, deals don’t happen fast. Beauty retail is a complex market, there are a lot of logistical and bureaucratic challenges to tackle before implementing new changes at the physical store level.
RTIH: What are the biggest challenges facing the omnichannel retail sector right now?
MS: The biggest omnichannel challenge for beauty retailers today is that they’re not keeping their customers digitally connected to their in-store purchases and they’re losing millions because of this. For example, women purchase products and learn about new ones during their makeup appointments at the stores. Once they leave the store their purchase history/products used are lost because there’s no online documentation.
Retailers need to bridge this gap between online and in-store activities and make it as simple as possible for women to go home after their beauty appointments and be able to purchase what they tried at the stores online. This is especially important in the beauty retail sector where women love to go to a store to try on beauty products but sometimes they prefer to buy it online when they go home.
Bridging this digital gap at the store level is key to improving the shopping experience and by improving this experience it will lead to an increase in revenue online and in-stores.
RTIH: What's the best question about your company or the market asked of you recently by a.) an investor and b.) a customer?
MS: The best question asked by an investor recently was if we see Blushup becoming a Big Data company in the future. We are collecting valuable data that had always been offline and in the future we will need to decide what to do with this data.
Many of our customers are asking about reviews. Will we provide reviews of each beauty counter and allow users to rate the services. This is a real need in the beauty retail market because today’s customers need to build trust before they try a new product or service. We’ve been collecting customer feedback, yelp reviews and other data to launch the best rating system for beauty lovers.
RTIH: What can we expect to see from Blushup over the next 12 months?
MS: You can expect to see a lot happening in the next 12 months. We are closing partnerships with some of the best companies in the world that will allow us to rapidly expand to more locations and add more brands to our platform. Our team has been working hard to continuously improve our product and we will launch our mobile app and user reviews in the upcoming months.