blow company will deliver beauty treatments to homes or offices of busy bosses
Breakthrough beauty company blow’s new high-profile CEO says the online beauty market is ready to follow the huge success of on-demand media and products - and he should know.
The man at the cutting edge is Just Eat mastermind Brian Hickey, former Divisional Director the food ordering company, with a market cap of more than £3bn across ten markets, and was responsible for the P&L, roll out and company building across a range of international markets.
He told BQ: “I wanted to be part of an early stage business with big ambitions. We’ve seen on-demand media and later product go mainstream and I believe we’ll see services on demand follow. Add to that the appetite for convenience and the increasing consumer demand for expert beauty and you quickly realise the market potential. When I learned about the blow LTD obsession with delivering consistent quality, I knew that we were best placed to succeed in this sector.”
The growth of the sector reflects a change in how business is done, with the busy exec – man or woman – needing a quick fix to get back to work. Until quite recently the visit to the salon was a leisurely treat, but now it is a necessity that has to be fitted in to a crowded diary between meetings.
Brian told us: “Our base is expanding rapidly but I think our core customer generally falls into one of three categories: the polished professional, the glamourous singleton or stylish mother. We’ll look after any busy, time-poor woman who needs to look great, fast.
“There are more entrepreneurial women out there now, so more people needing an event-ready look and trying to balance professional, social and wellness commitments is becoming more and more difficult so the need for beauty on demand services such as blow LTD is significantly increasing.
“Our expert beauty professionals are available to come to your home from 7am until late, 7 days a week because our customers need that flexibility to help them prepare for that special event.
“Many of our customers order our services before 9am in the morning and after 6pm at night - outside normal salon hours - and ordering a blow ltd service saves them 90 minutes. It cuts out travel and waiting time - for a busy woman with a career and a family, that's invaluable time.”
Having refined the operational model in London, blow is now starting ambitious expansion plans to bring their services to the homes of women in Manchester and Birmingham and may soon be offering an international service
Now the UK’s largest and fastest growing on demand beauty services company, blow has raised a further £3.5 million to back plans for its tech platform and expansion into two other key UK cities, plus an international move by the end of the year.
The on-demand business has been growing at more than 20% month-on-month in London and the Home Counties, and this month the services will launch in Birmingham and Manchester, offering busy women the opportunity to order blow dries, make-up and nail services to their homes, hotels or offices from 7 am until late.
All professionals who join the platform will have been rigorously skills tested, vetted, and CRB and insurance checked and have helped blow extend its services in London from ‘event ready’ (blow dry, make up, nails) to maintenance and wellbeing services including massages, waxing, pilates and yoga. The network is also being built to create a new distribution and sampling channel for beauty brands, creating personalised data and products for individual customers.
Brian says the future is looking bright – and he is busier than ever.
“In the past few weeks we have closed a £3.5m funding round, released a brand new app and launched the blow LTD brand in both Manchester and Birmingham, so we have been busy! From here we will continue to build penetration in existing cities while rolling out our aggressive expansion plans which will include one international city in 2017.
“No doubt there will be more competition in this space as more consumers demand the salon experience at home but we prefer to focus on our growth strategy rather than worrying about competitors. This may sound a little naïve but we know that our customers will not compromise on quality.
“I think the numbers of new salons opening will begin to slow a little as consumers look for a more convenient option – the salon experience on their terms. Those offering exceptional service and good value will continue to do well but they will need to offer more sophisticated treatments as consumer trends shift.
And what about the men? Brian says the UK’s business leaders are all busier than ever, and as more men realise the benefits of a home visit, attitudes will change.
“I think men feel the need just as much as women in that they want to look and feel great while managing a hectic schedule,” he said.
“As more men realise how companies such as ours can make their lives that little bit easier, the taboo is certainly beginning to fade.”