HAVE YOU EVER been invited to a swanky event at the last-minute, only to realize that your nails are shot and your hair is limper than cold spaghetti? What about geting hit with this intense motivation to work out… thirty minutes before the last yoga class at your favorite studio starts that’s already filled to capacity? Well, have no fear, friends. Dream-team Annie Evans, Hannah Bronfman and Peter Hananel have solved all of your last-minute beauty and fitness dilemmas with one magical app — Beautified — which allows you to make appointments and reservations at salons and fitness studios in the 11th hour. It’s perfect for the girl-on-the-go, or for the gal who doesn’t want to be tied down and likes to leave everything to the last minute. Annie spoke with Lady Clever about their inspiration for Beautified (which they call “OpenTable for beauty appointments”), her dive into the world of technology, and what you need to do to ensure that a new business succeeds. Sadly, Beautified is only available for appointments in New York City — but don’t fret! Beautified will be expanding to other major cities in 2015 so we can all do Pilates, get our nails painted, or trim our tresses with the touch of a button. Who needs a fairy godmother when you’ve got a smartphone and the Beautified app?
What inspired you to start Beautified?
I came from the event world where I worked on the marketing side of magazines like Esquire & Oprah. I constantly found myself standing on a street corner, Googling away to find a last minute appointment. One fall day in 2012, a little light bulb went off to create a way to book beauty from a trusted source and Beautified was born.
Why did you think that women needed an app like Beautified?
Women are constantly juggling tasks, whether it’s motherhood or a career or both, and they’re often time-strapped. We provide an easy way for them to book a last-minute manicure or blowout when all they have is an hour… who wants to spend that hour calling 10 places when you can click on Beautified and within a few clicks, be on your way to enjoying a little R&R?
When you first conceptualized Beautified, did people understand your vision?
Absolutely. I remember when Vogue covered us pre-launch, we carried that article to salon & spa prospects, showing them we were legit. Once we explained we were the “Open Table” of the beauty industry — people got it.
How do you balance your creative duties with the business side of your company? Does one side tend to overtake the other?
I love both sides of the business. From whiteboard sessions on creating strategy to drive bookings & downloads, to conceptualizing a travel kit for Net-a-Porter, I find myself challenged every day at the office.
Is Beautified your first entrepreneurial endeavor? If not what were your previous ventures and if they didn’t succeed what lessons did you learn?
Beautified is my 2nd entrepreneurial endeavor! I ran The Society in New York and Miami from 2008-2012 with two business partners – Ashleigh Dempster & Amanda Blakely, who co-founded The Society in Toronto. The Society was a private social club — we were sick of the same old bar scene so created events like film screenings in back alleyways and rooftop dinner parties to spice things up a bit!
Do you have a tech background?
I don’t! I came from the event world so this is all new to me. But two years, in I can finally speak the lingo around the water cooler & keep up!
What has been the biggest challenge starting and running Beautified?
I didn’t have a tech background so that’s been a learning curve. Luckily we have an extremely talented team of engineers who are very patient. 🙂
What is it like to be a female in the male-dominated tech world?
It’s amazing! I feel incredibly inspired by rockstar women in the tech space like Birchbox, Rent the Runway and Zady!
Has it been hard to keep up in the tech world since it seems to be moving so quickly?
The latest Apple update with IOS 8 posed some challenges but we were able to overcome them & keep on trucking.
What about marrying the worlds of beauty and tech — has that been easy for your company?
It’s been a challenge but an exciting one. The beauty industry is ripe for innovation. Some salon & spas still use pen & paper to keep track of their appointments so we’re very excited to offer them a solution like Beautified so they can optimize their business.
What do you consider Beautified’s biggest success to date?
Raising our seed round of 1.2 mil!
What is the best piece of advice you received as a woman starting her own business?
Maintain a balance. Health is #1 so make sure to find time to workout, go on vacation to recharge and spend quality time with friends & family.
What is one piece of advice you wish you had been given as a woman starting a business?
To save a bit more and have funds set aside as a cushion when you launch your business. I just went for it and couch-surfed for a year sleeping at my girlfriend’s apartments in NYC. I made it work but it would have been less stressful during launch to have a place to rest my head at the end of a 15-hour day. I’m working on a screenplay called “A Year Without Keys” about my story of living in NYC for a year, bouncing from pad to pad… .stay tuned!
What is one piece of advice you would give to women starting their own business?
Make sure you LOVE the business you are starting because you will be eating, living & breathing it. Just because you see an inefficiency in an industry doesn’t mean you should necessarily launch a business. You have to be passionate about the industry because you will be acting as bookkeeper, customer service rep, etc., wearing many hats to make it run like a well-oiled machine. So you have to love it!
Have there been any gender-specific challenges you’ve faced being women in business and/or the tech world?
Not yet. Everyone has been super-supportive and generous with sharing contacts, “learnings” and best practices.
Have you found it difficult to balance your personal and professional lives?
Yes. There are never enough hours in the day when you’re running your own biz and you always feel you could/should so more. I’m working to have a better balance and taking a vacation in early November to go to a yoga/juice retreat in Palm Springs called Rejuvenate with Jan. I’m looking forward to being out in the desert for a little Namaste action.
What’s next for Beautified? Will you be expanding to more cities soon?
We have plans to expand to other cities in 2015!
Sign us up! We’re ready to get Beautified on the go!
Beautified is currently only available on the iPhone. To download the app for free, click here. Check out Beautified’s website at www.getbeautified.com, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest updates and for news about when they’ll break into the Android app market!