Startup Spotlight: BeautyLink

February 18, 2016

For this week’s startup spotlight, we hang out with Rica Elysee, the co-founder and CEO of BeautyLink BeautyLink is a Boston based, on-demand in-home beauty service that is in the midst of expanding to NY, Atlanta and DC.

 

Rica Elysee Headshot_BeautyLynkGH: What is BeautyLink?
RicaBeautyLynk is an on demand beauty service that dispatches experienced hair stylists and make-up artists to your location (i.e. home, hotel, or office).
GH: How did it get started?
Rica: Prior to launching BeautyLynk, I founded the Boston Naturals group which has grown to include more than a thousand women who bond through/over our hair. Through this community, I noticed that there was a lack of salons that employed experienced stylists who specialized in multi-textured hair. But I knew that they had to exist and wanted to create a business that connected these professionals with this underserved community of beauty enthusiasts.
GH: What stage are you at now?
Rica: We’ve been in business for almost one year and have had an overwhelming amount of support from the Boston and Providence, RI communities. Women has validated this business model and have demonstrated a demand for more convenient beauty services. As a result, we are currently exploring expansion in several new cities.
GH: What was an obstacle you had to overcome?
Rica: Building BeautyLynk has been a fun and exciting experience! The hardest obstacle I’ve encountered and am still dealing with is building a team while bootstrapping the business.
GH: What did you learn from your first customers?
Rica: Our first customers have taught us a lot about the services and the process that we developed to launch our core product. With that insight we can iterate and continue to improve the experience.
One lesson we learned and have implemented is to increase the lead time for booking a stylist or MUA. Initially we started with a 30, 60 or 90 minute window, but through the feedback from our members we learned that they preferred to have the option for advanced booking. 

GH: What has the Boston/New England ecosystem provided you?

Rica: The Boston/New England ecosystem has provided access to some great accelerator programs like Future Boston, Smarter In the City and QCI. Which have given me the opportunity to connect with some great mentors.

GH: What is the ecosystem lacking from your perspective?
Rica: There is a stronger need to activate women!  Granted it is changing with We-Bos, Innovation Women and SheStarts, but there is a need for more support and funding for women-led companies. 

GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?
Rica: The best advice was “know the difference between opinions and advice,” while the worse was “wait to test.”

GH: What’s the most exciting thing that happened to BeautyLink in 2015?

Rica: The most exciting thing that happened for BeautyLynk in 2015 was having clients booking services through our platform!

GH: What does the future hold for you and BeautyLink?original_BeautyLynk1
Rica: This will be an exciting year for us as we are looking to expand and offer BeautyLynk services in Atlanta, Washington, DC and New York City starting this Spring. And, we are looking to launch our mobile app experience to make it even easier for women to have accessible beauty services at their fingertips.

 

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