The on-demand concept is witnessing an upsurge in India. It gives us the ability to call drivers and tailors, order groceries, and many other things, with just a few taps on a smartphone. On the lines of Grofers, DriveU and Urbantailor, Richa Singh has created BigStylist. It is an on-demand marketplace for beauty professionals, which gives one easy access to the network of certified beauty professionals in one’s neighborhood.
At present, the beauty services industry in India is scattered, costly and inconvenient. Every time they have moved, both Richa and Deepshikha had a hard time finding trustworthy beauty professionals in their new city.
Genesis of BigStylist
When Richa moved to IIT Kharagpur to obtain their Bachelor's degrees, she observed that lack of access to affordable and decent parlours was one of the girls’ biggest pains. Richa says,
Some of us were so fed up with the small local beauty parlours that we travelled to Kolkata to get our hair done.
The same thing happened when Richa moved to different cities after graduation. Richa adds,
The hectic schedules I had/have as consultants or bankers made it very difficult to schedule convenient appointments. The problem continues till this day, actually.
Prior to BigStylist, Richa had stints as business analyst and consultant at Capital One and Oliver Wyman. Besides Richa, Chinmaya Sharma and Anurag Srivastava joined the team as co-founders on operations and technology side respectively.
Chinmaya is an alumnus of IIT and IIM, Bangalore, and has four years of experience at Bain and Company across multiple industries and capabilities while Anurag had stint at ADG, a Hyderabad based talent acquisition and management startup.
After realising the magnitude of the painpoint, the trio did some research at ground level, and then conceptualized BigStylist . Chinmaya points out,
We are primarily a platform that aims to give you the best beauty services in the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule, and from carefully curated beauticians in your locality.
Current traction and major challenges in beauty & wellness space
Started in Mumbai in May 2015, the platform is currently serving more than 100 customers every month, with an average transaction size of Rs 1200. Till now the company is purely bootstrapped, working only using the founders’ savings and funds. Richa says,
We are already in talks with investors about seed-stage funding in order to scale up operations and enhance our services.
BigStylist aspires to be the only ready reckoner for the best stylists and beauty professionals in your neighborhood, no matter where you live.
Maintaining the quality of service and on boarding certified salon professionals are major challenges in the space. However, Richa explains, “We have kept tight control on the quality of service providers, and we verify credentials before onboarding any beautician, hair stylists etc.”
Competition and size of opportunity
The Mumbai-based startup competes with Vanitycube, Bulbul along with some scattered and unorganised operators. Vanitycube is an on-demand marketplace that promises affordable beauty services at your doorstep in NCR in as early as 90 minutes.
Besides food and health, beauty services are one of the areas on which people (especially women) spend religiously. On an average, a woman spends anywhere between Rs 2,000 to 3,000 on a monthly basis on basic beauty rituals.
According to some industry estimates, in a large economy like India, the market size for beauty services is pegged at around $4.8 billion (approx) and it’s growing fast.
Over the past 12 months, the demand for on-demand services has caught up in India in a big way. As we’ve mentioned, consumers in metros nowadays have access to a host of services, such as laundry, driver, grocery, and FMCG goods.
This year, the online beauty and wellness space has gained decent traction in India from all kinds of stakeholders - consumers, merchants, as well as investors. While mobile-focused Voymosecured two rounds of seed stage investments from Yuvraj Singh, and Taxiforsure’s co-founder Aprameya R, mobile and cloud-based technology firm ManageMySpa raised $6 million worth round of Series A funding, led by Accel Partners, this week.
Currently, on-demand services (hyper-local) are going through an exciting time, but overall, the hyper-local space is heading towards consolidation. It would be interesting to see how the beauty and wellness niche will evolve in the overall hyper-local space.