Sometimes there arises a point in a gal’s life when she needs hair and effing makeup, dammit.
And sometimes — actually, most of the time — that point arises on an incredibly busy day and on pretty short notice.
This being a first-world problem, there’s now a startup that solves it. TheStylisted is a mobile app and website that allows you to pick from an impressive array of stylists and enjoy their services at home.
It’s similar to the on-demand blowout app Glamsquad, with a few differences. TheStylisted offers makeup services while Glamsquad currently only does hair. Also, you can select your own stylists on TheStylisted. With Glamsquad, the booking process is quicker, but you don’t have a say in who comes to do your hair.
Also, Glamsquad is only available in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn — parts that sadly don’t include this reporter’s Bed-Stuy apartment. TheStylisted, on the other hand, serves all five boroughs. Yes, even Staten Islanders can now have hair and makeup services delivered straight to their houses. This is the beauty app of the people.
This reporter sampled TheStylisted’s offerings on the morning of a big wedding reception. I requested a crown braid and subtle makeup from the stylists who arrived at my Brooklyn apartment in the morning. The look not only came out exactly the way I wanted, but also stayed intact through a steamy drive from Brooklyn to Philadelphia, a bridal party photo session, an intensely dance-centric wedding reception, and a post-party midnight trip to Denny’s.
TheStylisted was born from a frustrating away-from-home salon experience, cofounder Lauren Katzberg told Betabeat.
Ms. Katzberg, a Chicago resident, flew to a wedding in Atlanta and had a dismal experience getting her makeup done in an unfamiliar salon. This wasn’t the first time this had happened to her.
“It’s a common issue,” she said. “I wanted the help of a makeup artist and it was impossible to find out who was good or available. I had to spend money on a cab. I trusted a stranger with my face, hated it, and ended up washing it off.”
She called University of Chicago business school classmate Julia Carmona to commiserate. They discovered the problem was common. Even when seeking a new hairdresser in one’s own city, Ms. Katzberg pointed out, women are often matched by the salon and have little say in who’s actually doing their hair. There’s not much of a vetting process on the side of the client, who is often at the mercy of the person booking the appointments.
Ms. Carmona also mentioned an issue she’d noticed during her time working at a Nars cosmetics counter: even high-quality stylists have a hard time finding freelance clients.
“It was an aha moment,” Ms. Katzberg said. “There was this dual-sided marketplace with an opportunity for freelancers and clients to connect online.”
They set out to create a service similar to Airbnb or the Behance Network, but for hair and makeup stylists. “[Those websites] managed to bring traditionally fragmented industries together online,” Ms. Katzberg said. “Why couldn’t we do this?”
Before starting work on TheStylisted’s desktop website, they mapped stylists and clients to see if there was a true need for their service. They found stylists through their own network of business and social contacts, and tested the idea on other business school students. Ms. Carmona was able to snag high-profile stylists she knew through her previous work at Nars, which made it easier to gain the trust of other stylists and sign them up for TheStylisted, Ms. Katzberg said.
The cofounders then raised enough cash to put the first iteration of their website together in June 2013 — “it was very rudimentary, but it did the job,” Ms. Katzberg said — and have been making incremental improvements ever since. They launched a new app on June 22. The website and the app currently serve New York City and Chicago, but TheStylisted will launch in more cities soon.
Users can choose their stylists based on reviews, photos and bios, where they list their favorite products, beauty philosophy and work experience. Stylists name their own prices. Because of the low overhead associated with operating through a website rather than a brick-and-mortar shop, though, many stylists’ prices turn out to be lower than they’d be in a salon. Still, TheStylisted is not intended to be a budget hair-and-makeup app; although prices vary, some of the stylists can be pretty costly.
“It’s important to us that we attract the hot talent,” Ms. Katzberg explained. “We want to make it worth their while and make them feel like they’re being compensated. We wanted to create a marketplace with the right stylists meeting the right clients. If it’s my wedding day, I want an industry vet.”
You have to hand it to TheStylisted: a light smokey eye that doesn’t budge despite the “Cotton-Eyed Joe” and a Denny’s Grand-Slam is nothing short of miraculous.