Gurgaon-based Stylofie, a three-month old beauty and wellness startup, has raised $250k in seed funding from a Hong Kong-based company Swastika. Stylofie is an online marketplace for salons/spas around Delhi. At present, the startup is operational in Gurgaon and has more than 100 premium salon/spa outlets listed.
Stylofie provides a technology platform for discovery, comparison, reviews, payment and booking website, and mobile app for consumers. Stylofie helps customers pick the beauty treatment of their choice, select their location and the salon they want to visit, choose a date and time according to their convenience, and book the services according to their needs.
Stylofie was launched in August and was founded by Prateek Agarwal and Saurav Dey, graduates from Management Development Institute, Gurgaon. Before starting Stylofie, Prateek worked for telecom companies like Airtel, Videocon, and Telecom Oman, whereas Saurav worked for Ingersoll-Rand, Accenture, and Genpact. The venture was born out of a midnight conversation on starting up and the common pain for lack of spas around them.
“I am an avid spa visitor, and discovering a new spa was always a problem for me because of lack of information online,” says Prateek.
Both of them set out to find more about it. They carried out a short survey only to realise that there were many more people like Prateek who were resistant to try out places because of lack of awareness about the facility, experiences, and costs, etc.
“If you look closely at the beauty and wellness industry, you will realise that it is primarily offline with bundled deals getting peddled on online deal platforms. From a consumer perspective, think about long waiting times on weekends, lack of a standardised review/rating mechanism for discovery and non-availability of rate cards online – all pain-points which called out for a solution,” adds Saurav.
As they warmed up around the idea, they started spending time in different salons to observe consumer behaviour. They saw customers bargaining for discounts with the salon manager, often depositing up to Rs. 50,000 for membership to get 25–30 per cent discount on services. Customers were often hesitant to try out new outlets because they were not aware of the prices or the quality of services, etc.
From the salon owner’s perspective, there was a different set of problems altogether – staffs remain idle on weekdays due a decrease in the number of customers, difficulties in reaching out to a catchment area especially for a new outlet, use of paper pen register for appointment booking system, etc. The problem set was no different for spa outlets as well.
Stylofie is presently bootstrapped. This seed round of $250k will be utilised to strengthen their technology stack and look at expansion in Delhi. Vaibhav Jain, Director of Hong Kong-based Swastika Company Limited, added, “Stylofie has two things going for them – great team of seasoned professionals at the helm and a monetisation plan. They have started generating revenues from day one and have very healthy unit economics. I am also impressed with their repeat customer base, which is a terrific sign of the value proposition Stylofie is offering.”
They have seen a rapid growth in their customer base and revenue – over 100 percent growth month-on-month.
As the income levels rise, there are more people who have been visiting spas and salons to de-stress. The growth of Internet has been a significant factor in the mindset change when it comes to health and beauty. As urban spaces are growing, there is a huge tilt and emphasis towards looking good.
According to some industry estimates, in a large economy like India, the market size for beauty services pegs around $ 4.8 billion and it’s growing. However, it is still in a very nascent stage and yet to grow.
Currently, Stylofie competes with Ivy Cap funded Purplle, Ziffi, Vyomo, Appointy among others. Earlier, Purplle had secured $5 million Series A from Ivy Cap, while Ziffi closed Rs 15 crore round led by Orios Venture Partner. Stylofie competes with aforementioned startups, however, with this round it will counter them in a better way. Going forward, it would be exciting to watch how Stylofie and the overall sector will evolve in 2016.