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How An O Editor And A Harvard Grad Created Swivel Beauty

Ebony Grimsley-Vaz

Written by
Ebony Grimsley-Vaz
Dec 03, 2018

Black ladies are huge spenders in relation to their magnificence merchandise.

African People have cornered the ethnic hair and wonder market, ringing up $54 million of the $63 million complete business spend in 2017, in response to the February Nielsen market analysis outcomes report, “Black Influence: Shopper Classes The place African People Transfer Markets.” Specialists worth the hair care business at $15 billion within the U.S. per Statista.

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From buying residence merchandise to salon visits, Black ladies are a major marketplace for concentrating on within the business. Even so, Black ladies nonetheless have a tough time finding the assets they need to fulfill their magnificence merchandise and repair wants.

Childhood associates and enterprise companions, Jennifer Lambert and Jihan Thompson, need to treatment this situation with their magnificence enterprise, Swivel Magnificence.

Jennifer Lambert and Jihan Thompson assist Black ladies discover magnificence merchandise and repair by way of their firm, Swivel Magnificence. Photograph offered by Swivel Magnificence

Swivel Magnificence helps ladies with textured hair seek for top-rated salons and stylists (together with those that make residence visits) by hair sort and desired type, in accordance with the web site.

Combining their expertise helped the companions make nice strides within the magnificence business since beginning up in 2016.  Jihan has a level in English from the College of Pennsylvania and was an editor for Redbook and O, the Oprah Journal. Jennifer is graduate of Harvard Regulation Faculty with expertise in mergers and privateness from her work at New York regulation companies.

As outsiders within the hair care business, Lambert and Thompson weren’t glad to only create an answer. They work to include of their app the suggestions of their stylist shoppers, whether or not informally via conversations or on their official suggestions platform — “The State of the Styling: The First Ever Textured Hair Care Business” Report.

Swivel Magnificence participated within the Sephora Stands Accelerator, which helps to construct feminine founders within the magnificence business. Additionally they received help from Backstage Capital and are at present closing a funding spherical.

The Swivel Magnificence app may be discovered on iTunes for Apple with stylists within the New York Metropolis and Washington, D.C. space. Swivel Magnificence is taking requests for extra cities from app customers.

Moguldom spoke with Swivel Magnificence co-founders Jennifer Lambert and Jihan Thompson on how they started their firm and the way they hope to take the wrestle out of hair styling providers for shoppers and stylists.

Moguldom: Why Swivel Magnificence? What made you begin it?

Jihan Thompson:  Jenny and I grew up collectively. We’ve recognized one another since we have been within the fourth grade. We’ve been buddies for a very long time. We grew up in D.C., however we parted methods for school. I went to Penn in Philly, Jenny went to Boston School after which Harvard Regulation in Boston as nicely. We each moved to New York. She was working as a company lawyer. I used to be working as a magazine editor. We began Swivel as a result of truthfully, we have been targeted on fixing an issue, we had for ourselves. We knew many different ladies of colour have been struggling to attempt to discover a stylist to get their hair accomplished. Jenny and I are each Black ladies, and we’ve got lived with this wrestle endlessly. Shifting to a brand new metropolis, not figuring out the place to discover a stylist, being in a metropolis for some time however not figuring out what our choices have been for locating styling providers was irritating. We had this second the place we felt like this doesn’t make any sense. We all know the Black hair care business is a $15 billion dollars-plus business, and ladies of colour spend some huge cash on their hair and but, there was no tech answer making it simpler for us to seek out the fitting stylist, whether or not we have been pure or relaxed or transitioning out of a relaxer. It simply wasn’t straightforward to get an awesome blowout, or get braids, or discover a stylist who might do a killer sew-in. As we talked about our drawback discovering stylists and the way tech might assist, we have been like, “Wait. This truly could possibly be an excellent concept.” I had seen firsthand when working at Oprah Journal. We have been writing about all the things occurring in magnificence and tech. I used to be street testing merchandise that have been presupposed to make my hair expertise simpler, they usually weren’t. I might see on the entrance strains how a lot was occurring within the area and the way a lot ladies of shade have been principally being ignored and omitted of the dialog. So, we lastly determined to say, “Look, this can be a drawback that’s essential to us, the place we all know from a enterprise standpoint it makes plenty of sense. Why don’t we attempt to create one thing that we expect can tackle this problem?” We additionally felt like if we didn’t do it, any person else in all probability would after which we’d be utilizing their product. So, it felt actually essential for us to go on the market and create the answer we knew Black ladies deserved when it got here to discovering one of the best hair stylist for his or her hair sort and texture.

Moguldom: What has been a number of the suggestions of the customers of your service?

Jennifer Lambert: It’s been thrilling. We’ve acquired unimaginable suggestions on each side, from each the stylists on our platform we’ve partnered with to assist get their identify on the market and for the purchasers who’ve discovered individuals by way of our platform. On the client aspect, we’re listening to ladies say, “Oh my God. I might by no means have discovered this salon with out you, and I didn’t even realize it was attainable to discover a stylist who does a blowout in Midtown Manhattan for this worth level. I assumed I needed to go to Harlem or Brooklyn for this.” Individuals who have lived in New York for 5, 10 years are telling us they haven’t been capable of finding a stylist, and they’re so joyful to lastly have this answer that makes this one space of their life that basically shouldn’t be difficult, uncomplicated for them. On the stylist aspect, a few of the most rewarding suggestions we get is how a lot we’ve helped their enterprise. We’ve some stylists to have made considerably extra money off all of the shoppers that they acquired on our platform. One stylist remodeled $20,000 of enterprise from Swivel clients final yr alone. One other stated that her common buyer base has elevated by 20 %. It’s simply actually rewarding to know we’re doing one thing that helps individuals in a tangible approach.

Moguldom:  What do you think about as a few of your notable wins?

Jihan Thompson:  I might say we’ve had numerous nice wins since we launched. We launched our beta initially in August 2016 simply with a handful of stylists from salons we simply walked into off the road and stated like, “Hey, we heard you do good work. We’d like to signal you up.” And that’s how we started, very a lot boots on the bottom, scrappy. Now we’ve grown that to over 300 stylists on our platform, principally within the New York market however we’re starting to broaden to different cities. I feel for us, our capability to develop the enterprise (is a win). We now have over 2,000 ladies on our waitlist in cities we haven’t launched but who’re begging us to return to their location. Any time we all know we’re offering worth to the client is a win each single day. Different wins: we have been accepted into Sephora’s Speed up program final yr, which was an excellent win for us. It’s a really aggressive program. They select 10 corporations that they consider are going to be one of many next-generation magnificence leaders and we have been chosen as a type of to undergo their boot camp.

Jennifer Lambert:  I’ll say one in every of our most thrilling early wins was a function within the New York Occasions. That occurred December 2016. In fact, we had all the time learn the New York Occasions and been so enthralled by the individuals and the tales and the standard of the reporting. So, to be featured in there was a type of pinch-me moments for positive.

In case your hair is pure, you don’t need to learn a bunch of critiques from any person who has relaxed hair. In case your hair is an excellent kinky, coily sort, you don’t need to learn from someone who has an excellent unfastened curl. We actually concentrate on personalizing the expertise which makes us totally different.” — Jihan Thompson, co-founder of Swivel Magnificence

Moguldom:  There are different corporations trying to market to Black ladies and Black hair care utilizing know-how. How is your product and app totally different?

Jennifer Lambert: I’d say the most important approach we’re totally different is we’re making one thing by us for us. For ladies like us. Our ardour and authenticity shine by means of within the answer we’ve delivered. We’ve targeted on, once more, simply simplicity and thoroughness. We have now plenty of empathy for our buyer and ensuring the best way we design our app speaks to the core of what actually issues like not losing time and discovering vetted, high quality, thorough info. I’d say that that in all probability is the primary differentiator.

Jihan Thompson:  I feel there are a variety of nice companies shifting into this area, which we love. We love the power for Black ladies to have extra choices in relation to magnificence when it felt like earlier than there have been none. However I feel what we concentrate on in our strategy is what makes us totally different. We created our personal assessment platform totally different than anything that’s on the market. So anytime a lady writes a evaluate for a stylist on our platform she has to say what her hair sort is which makes it straightforward for our shopper to seek out the knowledge she wants from ladies like her. Like in case your hair is pure, you don’t need to learn a bunch of evaluations from anyone who has relaxed hair. In case your hair is an excellent kinky, coily sort, you don’t need to learn from anyone who has an excellent unfastened curl. You’re not going get the identical expertise. We’ve all the time come from a spot saying each Black ladies’s hair shouldn’t be all the identical and that’s fantastic, and we need to be sure that when she involves our platform, she will drill right down to the knowledge she wants as shortly as potential that’s only for her. We actually concentrate on personalizing the expertise which I feel is one thing that makes us a bit bit totally different.

Moguldom: How do you retain the creativity flowing to be sure to’re making one of the best product for each the buyer and the salon shoppers?

Jennifer Lambert:  I feel there’s one thing a few whiteboard and reserving the area to get collectively to make superb issues occur. We’ve common staff conferences the place we brainstorm, seeing what is sensible. We be sure that to speak to our clients, each on the shopper aspect and the client aspect.

Jihan Thompson: There’s a quote, I don’t know who stated it, I learn a very long time in the past that stated, “Whoever stays closest to the client wins.” And I feel for us it’s not nearly profitable as a lot because it’s about staying near the client, so we will keep as artistic as attainable.

If we obtained in a time machine and hopped 5 years down the road, Swivel is in each main metropolis within the U.S. and key worldwide markets. We’re the very first thing a lady thinks of when she is considering reserving a hair appointment. We’ve got an enormous quantity of data that’s properly coded and straightforward to entry that makes it tremendous straightforward.” — Jennifer Lambert,  co-founder of Swivel Magnificence

Moguldom: You’ve raised capital from outdoors assets, right?

Jihan Thompson:  We’re presently elevating our seed spherical proper now, our pre-seed spherical proper now. We’ve been funded by Backstage.

Moguldom: How did you join with Backstage Capital?

Jennifer Lambert: We went out to a feminine founders’ convention in San Francisco two or three years in the past. We met Arlan (Arlan Hamilton, founding father of Backstage Capital) there, and it was type of fascinating timing as a result of we hadn’t launched Swivel but, it was nonetheless very a lot concept stage, and she or he hadn’t launched Backstage but. She was nonetheless concept part as nicely. However we shared what we have been engaged on and what our concepts have been, and our values and what was driving us to do it and we related on our respective missions and stored in contact through the years. So, when Swivel was lastly launched and when Arlan began we got here again collectively, and she or he believed in us to make the funding. That was our first outdoors funding, and we’re grateful and enthusiastic about it.

Moguldom: What do the subsequent 5 years appear to be for Swivel Magnificence?

Jennifer Lambert: If we obtained in a time machine and hopped 5 years down the road, Swivel is in each main metropolis within the U.S. and key worldwide markets. We’re the very first thing a lady thinks of when she is considering reserving a hair appointment. And we now have an enormous, an incredible quantity of data that’s properly coded and straightforward to entry that makes it tremendous straightforward for a lady to tug no matter info is necessary to her to determine on what salon to go to for her hair styling wants.


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About Ebony Grimsley-Vaz

Ebony T. Grimsley-Vaz is an writer and digital advertising and PR skilled for shopper manufacturers, retailers, causes and occasions. Based mostly within the Tampa-St. Petersburg space, she owns Above Promotions, a digital advertising, publicity and promotions firm. She wrote the e-book, “As a result of You are Small: Efficient Advertising Methods for Speedy Implementation.”

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