Tue, 27 January 2015
About: Melody McCloskey - Founder of StyleSeat
Overview: Melody is a young, technology driven entrepreneur. She started StyleSeat to help provide hairstylists and salons a successful platform that will increase their business by 70%.
Background: Starting in her early 20's, Melody has been involved in the tech for the past 10 years- which began on the product side. After working for a TV network started by Al Gore where she was brought on to focus on helping monetize the network online, she decided to start her own company. Melody felt that after being in the entrepreneurial world for so long, it was time for her to venture off and do something that she was extremely passionate about.
Starting StyleSeat: Melody sat on the idea for a couple of years before launching because she felt that the platform she wanted to develop was almost too obvious of a need that there was sure to be some competition. Eventually, it got to the point that Melody was so obsessed with her idea, that her fears faded away. Finally, she didn't care if the idea didn't succeed, She just had to do it. Despite the hard times, she shares how rewarding it’s been for her to start this company.
What is StyleSeat: The beauty industry is one of the fastest growing industries out there. StyleSeat is a business platform and tool for hairstylists and salons. StyleSeat grows their clients' revenue by about 70% in the first month just by helping things run smoother. It's a great resource to help discover, book, and pay for online beauty appointments.
How is StyleSeat monetized: There is a premium package that StyleSeat offers that does more than just help with small tasks. Currently, StyleSeat has 3 Millions users. Loreal is now using StyleSeat as their preferred partner and is really excited about the free services they offer and the easiness of the platform.
How it all got Started: The first thing Melody did was build a working prototype with an engineer she found on craigslist, based on designs that a good friend of her’s created for equity in the company. Melody then bootstrapped the company for the first year and a half. After that point, their numbers started to show that the business was becoming successful. Since then StyleSeat has received funding and has raised a total of $14 million. StyleSeat has now been in business for 3 ½ years.
How StyleSeat Secures Users: Word of mouth is by far their most successful way of adding users to their platform. They made sure that the experience for each new user was one that they wouldn’t forget. They continually focus on better supporting their users, and expanding their platform.
Future for StyleSeat: For the first couple years, StyleSeat spent their focus on being a valuable business tool for stylists and salons. Now, that they have created just that, they've launched their first consumer app that consumers will be able to use for booking their appointments, etc. In the coming months they are focusing on becoming a true marketplace for their clients and consumers.
Success on the First Try: Melody states that even though this is her first startup, she had some great mentors that taught her life lessons that have shaped the way she’s created this company. She felt that by having such influential mentors, she had a leg up on what to do to create success. Each piece of advice she was given motivated her to keep going and take risks. She was taught to have the right kind of attitude and be positive.
Advice for Startups: Don’t let what’s out there, or the rules; stop you from doing what you’re passionate about. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help, and seek out those who have the knowledge that will help you go further. Figure out your distribution as fast as you possibly can. When you can figure out how to speed up that wheel as it turns, you’ll be more successful. Having a co-founder that you have a great relationship with is also one of the most important things you can have when you’re starting a company. Melody and her partner have set long term and short term goals that have helped them come to where they are now. Melody also states that having good friends that you really trust and will support you no matter how many bad days you have has been helpful. She says it’s important to have an outlet outside of the company.
Take Away: Melody teaches us to take action on our good ideas, even if we're afraid of the competition or what might already be out there. During the interview she said she knew that if she didn't start this company, and someone came out with her idea months later, she would have hated herself for it. Don't wait around- just start it now!
Connect With Melody:
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