New service connects beauty professionals to customers in Singapore

Vanitee is staking its own claim in this market in Singapore. The local startup’s service aims to bring together independent beauty professionals and their customer base through a website and a mobile app.
21 April, 2015

It seems like “Airbnb for x” or “Uber for x” are phrases we use more and more as new startups are venturing further and further into the shared economy wilds. The beauty industry isn’t exactly uncharted territory at the moment, but it’s definitely not the first one that comes to mind where tech startups are concerned. So while there are some players in this field, you can’t really call it oversaturated.

Vanitee is staking its own claim in this market in Singapore. The local startup’s service aims to bring together independent beauty professionals and their customer base through a website and a mobile app. “We find something thrilling about independent and emerging beauty artists, because it’s so easy to see their authenticity and passion for uncompromised quality in their work,” says Douglas Gan, cofounder of Vanitee.

Founded just weeks ago by Douglas Gan, Peng Kong Choy, Kuik Xiaoshi, and Meters Ang, Vanitee is already booking beauty artists in Singapore, having signed about 100 and adding more on a weekly basis, with 200 customers and 280 bookings. The company chose to focus on independent beauty artists rather than businesses such as beauty salons. Vanitee curates and verifies all such professionals and then arranges to send them to clients’ homes or for clients to visit them.

This sets it apart from similar services already in place in Singapore, such as LookBooker (which mainly works with beauty salons), but also forms part of its mission. “Our days are fueled by the desire to give these beauty artists a voice and platform to grow their brand, showcase their work, built a unique online store, and run their dream business,” Gan says.

At the moment, Vanitee specializes in nail services while exploring other categories like makeup, hair, and massage artists. “We have decided not to expand into any other categories at first until we have achieved an awesome experience for both customers and artists after every booking,” Gan explains.

The company’s monetization plans include taking a cut per transaction booked, a subscription fee to use the customer relationship management (CRM) solutions on mobile, and perhaps supplying the products used by the professionals. However, Gan reiterates that for now, the company isn’t too concerned with generating revenue but with providing a good experience to its users.

The most prominent competitor in this area in Singapore is currently LookBooker, which, as mentioned, differs from Vanitee in that it allows customers to book beauty salons. In either case, however, business seems good. “Since last September, we have more than doubled the number of salons on the platform in Singapore,” Renee Robbie, cofounder of LookBooker tells Tech in Asia. The company has also since expanded into the US, launching in New York in December, and continues to grow its user base in both markets.

Vanitee hopes the social element of the experience will boost its business as well as the business of the professionals it supports. “We want the experience at Vanitee to be one of discovery, and we want it to be fun,” Gan says. “Our ideal scenario is that over time someone compliments you on your new look and you feel compelled to share more about the amazing beauty artist behind it – but that’s entirely up to you!”

by Michael Tegos