Every day the boom in the ‘sharing economy’ is extending to a wider range of services. Now Los Angeles-based startup StyleBee is offering an app-based service along the lines of vehicle hire and ridesharing intermediary Uber, for beauty services.
The surge of on-demand person-to-person services summoned via mobile apps is today being felt in most big cities in the United States. The widespread use of smartphones and geolocation means that such services can be arranged in a more convenient and efficient way. A growing number of consumers seem prepared to pay more to obtain a more convenient service which saves them time. In this vein, the app that StyleBee has just launched at the Apple Store offers beauty services on demand. The main target customers for StyleBee are busy city professionals who work to a tight schedule and cannot always make time for an appointment within traditional salon opening hours. The flexible hours and local availability of StyleBee-listed practitioners are also ideal for people with short-notice, last-minute needs, such as getting ready for an event or social occasion.
On-demand services at your home or office
StyleBee provides a directory of qualified people offering services ranging from haircuts for men and women to makeup and other beauty salon treatments. Each service listed on the app carries a standard price and customers can make reservations at very short notice, even just a few hours ahead. The service puts the customer in contact with an expert close by, who will come with his/her own equipment to the customer’s home or office. Most of the service providers on the platform come highly recommended, often as professional celebrity makeup and hair artists who have been referred to the site by mutual friends or other artists. The StyleBee platform provides them with a useful opportunity to supplement their income. An onboarding process is used to assess their skills and professionalism, a useful precaution as they will usually be working at the customer’s home or business premises. As for other peer-to-peer services, customers then have the opportunity to rate their stylist or makeup artist, and vice versa.
An increasingly popular service model
As part of the person-to-person sharing economy, the StyleBee model is based on the availability of qualified professionals looking to monetize their skills in their spare time. The pioneer of this approach, which is now prompting more and more startups to create this type of service, is generally seen as Uber, which first came up with a downloadable app to connect drivers with would-be passengers. Californian startup Washio recently created a similar app providing on- demand laundry and dry cleaning services. In the same vein, Beeline Bikes has launched a mobile bicycle repair service, featuring a workshop set up in a truck which drives over to the customer’s home or workplace and repairs the bike in under 45 minutes. Meanwhile startups Postmates and WunWun both offer an on-demand home delivery service via mobile app on a person-to-person basis. The price of the service is automatically adjusted according to demand, which more or less mimics Uber’s business model. However, while this kind of business approach is now enjoying great success in the United States, it is not always welcomed so enthusiastically by governments in other countries, France being a prime example. Meanwhile, having launched in Los Angeles in September, Stylebee is planning to expand to the San Francisco Bay Area in the next few months.