Giorgia Rossi and Renee Robbie of LookBooker created a mobile app that allows clients to search for salons, spas and barbershops pick one they like best, and book an appointment through their smart phones. The founders met at management consulting firm McKinsey & Company’s Sydney Office. Here are some of their perspectives on their start-up and on the impact their mothers had on their entrepreneurial venture.
What gave you the inspiration for your business?
We were working busy corporate jobs when we came up with the idea for LookBooker, as women desperately in need of the service! We were both working busy jobs in remote areas of Australia as management consultants and every week we were booking our flights, hotels, taxis and takeaway online, but scheduling in our salon and spa appointments was still a pain: there was no way for us to discover new salons and spas, book outside of business hours, and book discretely without having to call around.
Because this is our Mother’s Day update, let’s talk about how your mothers influenced your entrepreneurial journey.
Our mothers are successful business women and entrepreneurs. Giorgia’s mom ran marketing and communications for a major television network and now sits on the board and advises a large Australian non-profit and Renee’s mom runs their family manufacturing business. They’ve built their careers and businesses whilst also raising families and have done so with grace, so in many ways they have influenced us just by being role models and showing us what’s possible. Perhaps even more than that though, our mothers raised us repeatedly telling us we are capable of doing anything we want, and achieving just as much as our brothers. They gave us the confidence to take big risks and today they are our biggest supporters and advocates – and every entrepreneur needs someone like that in her corner!
What trends are you spotting in the beauty industry?
On the Met Gala red carpet this week we were loving the dark berry lips that Poppy Delevigne, Taylor Swift and Hailee Steinfeld were rocking out. We’re also loving the metallic nails many of our spas are featuring. Speaking of nails, nail art is having a real moment. Women are able to design their own look with their nail technician.
What advice do you have for women service business owners?
We work with our partners to make sure that their businesses are providing a holistic customer service experience. Obviously that starts with being able to deliver a great hair cut, a great manicure, a great facial etc but that’s only the beginning. Over 90% of clients these days are turning to the internet to inform their decision making when it comes to hair and beauty – what to get, where to go, how much it will cost. And, we have discovered that 85% of our app users are women, which proves that time-pressed women needed a solution like ours. Business owners need to be part of that digital conversation. Booking needs to be seamless and as much as possible, available online. The check out process should be just as seamless. Customers are busy so they don’t want to spend 10 minutes at the front desk checking out. Owners need to stay on top of technologies that can make it easy for their clients –easy to access their information and availability, easy to book, easy to pay.
Any other tips for women business owners?
Commit yourself to your current career venture as though you’re going to do it for the next decade. Nowadays, it is rare for Gen Y’s and millennials to be in the same career for ten years straight, but thinking about your work with a long-term view means you’ll never find yourself doing something you’re not passionate about. When we started LookBooker, we sat down and said “Are we excited enough to be doing this for at least the next ten years?” and when the answer was yes, we knew we were onto a good thing. It also forces you to make decisions that you are happy to live with down the track, and when you make mistakes, you take the time to learn from them, knowing you might come across them again – all things that lead to better operating!