YourStory.in Exclusive: Chennai based startup, 1000Lookz, on their attempts to redefine the way beauty businesses are run in India. Entrepreneur, Vasan Sowriraja tells us how his app plans to make a headway in the current 3 billion dollar beauty industry in India.What is the problem that you are trying to solve with 1000Lookz?
Customers of the beauty industry do not know which cosmetic suits their skin tone best. They have hesitation before trying out a new hairstyle/get their hair colored. There is a huge need for a simple solution to show customers how they would look without actually buying a product/getting a makeover and getting disappointed if it doesn't work out.
Brands would benefit immensely with customers being sure of what/whether they want to purchase. Salons would get far more conversions for makeover services, if they had this tool to convince the customer better.
Analytics are needed to let brands know which cosmetic suits which demography of customers, even before a new shade is launched. Real time data is needed even before the sales figures come up at the end of every month, so that marketing efforts can be channelized in the right direction.
So, how does 1000Lookz solve these problems that you talked about? Tell us in detail about the features of 1000Lookz. What feature are you most excited about?
“Makeup Features” allows one to try makeup on a model’s pic that is closest to one’s skin tone or it allows users to upload own picture.
We have a feature called “Instant Lookz” for those new to makeup. It offers pre-designed makeup looks for occasions & everyday wear. You can upload your pic, click on an instant look and the makeup from the instant look is automatically applied on your pic.
“Choose brands” lets users choose from hundreds of real colors & shades from real brands like Pur Minerals and Flawless You Forever (FYF).
There is an option available on iPhone & iPad apps that lets users to tap on a color & apply makeup with your fingers.
There are options that let users adjust makeup spread (increase/decrease the spread of makeup by adjusting points), Compare (see before/after makeup pics), Save (Download & save online) and Share (Send email, post it on Facebook)
Hairstyles & Hair coloring option lets users try different hairstyles on own picture or a model’s picture. We have also recently introduced Hair Chunking and Hair Streaking features, that allow users to color streaks/specific regions of hair with fingers.
The Accessories feature allows users to try different accessories for face(bindi, hijab), hair(hair clips, hats), and hair(spectacles, sunglasses).
The Nail Beauty option lets users try nail polish colors & shades, glitters.
We are continuously trying to improve the app both in terms of advanced features and user experience as well. We would rate the “hair chunking” & “hair streaking” features in the hair coloring option on our app as unique! We are perfecting this option with more & more inputs from our clients.Are there any other apps in the market similar to 1000Lookz? What according to you are your differentiators?
Yes! There are a few apps like 1000Lookz on the web & on iPhone like makeup and DailyGlow. However, we are the only player in the Indian market. We specialize in processing human face with a high level of accuracy. We do makeovers & suggest makeovers for Indian skin tone and for Indian hairstyles. Another difference in our app is the “hair streaking” feature in the hair coloring option.
How much time did it take to build 1000Lookz? And, when was the app launched?
It took us two years to build the app. The idea came up in 2008 when we were working on adding an emotion to picture and finally converted it to smiley. Under the guidance of Prof. Pandurangan of IIT Madras, we moved on to virtual makeover and finally started developing business solutions for the beauty industry. The first prototype was ready in mid 2010, and we launched our first free iPhone app in December 2010.
Other than the current platforms iPhone & iPad, which other platforms do you plan to target next? Any specific reasons as to why you began with iPhone?
We have plans to expand to other platforms like Facebook and Android soon. The brand name Apple, app store’s outreach, UI and the device consistency - are some of the factors that led us to choose iPhone.
Which other features would you like to add to 1000Lookz?
There is a lot that could be done with 1000Lookz. However, everything needs thorough research and inputs from the industry leaders in skin care, hair styling, makeup & other such areas.
Are you looking at hiring? If yes, then for which roles?
Yes. We are looking at hiring in technology and sales & marketing roles.
Tell us about the number of downloads so far. How much does the app cost on iPad store?
Our iPhone App, 1000Lookz Makeover, has 90,000 visits and about 30,000 from 136 countries. 1000Lookz Nail has 70,000 visits and 25000 downloads from 146 countries. 1000LookzBeauty, our latest app for iPad costs $4.99.
How do you market the app to your target audience?
Vasan, what is your take on the booming mobile app space in India?
Being an entrepreneur is a very challenging role! And, being an entrepreneur in the highly evolving mobile app space is a separate challenge in itself! Industry reports do confirm our forecasts that the mobile apps space will mature & coalesce in 2011. We foresee a consumer market driven by mobile apps. While there are numerous apps on iPhone, Android and on other platforms, only apps that are customer-centric will stay in the contention for a longer period. And, we at 1000Lookz will constantly innovate to help beauty businesses to do exactly that!
How has the feedback from users been so far?
There has been a lot of feedback from users from across the globe; both for our iPhone and iPad apps. Every comment is special to us, and has helped us improve our apps. It would be great, if the readers of YourStory.in can try out the app and share their feedback with us.
The best feeling, however, is when we see the users of our app connecting with other users and answering the questions of fellow users! It really gives us a high!
Any final word for the readers of YourStory.in?
We strongly believe that our apps (on iPad in particular) will redefine the way beauty businesses and beauty salons in particular are run in India! Please try 1000Lookz, and share your feedback with us!