BookMySpot: Bringing the Beauty and Wellness Industry Online
BookMySpot is a unique beauty app which brings the services of multiple beauty salons under one umbrella for users to book. It is the first ecommerce platform in the beauty and wellness industry of Pakistan which allows the users to book an appointment online at a click of a button and assess the deals and services available at the nearby or the best salons. “Currently, if one wants to book an appointment they will have to go through all the salon pages to figure out the best deals available or go with friends’ recommendation then booking an appointment is itself a hassle, the number is either busy or left unattended. So I thought that with available businesses like Careem, Uber, Foodpanda, Daraz why there isn’t one for salons.” says Huma, the founder of BookMySpot while talking about how she came up with the idea.
The Idea Behind BookMySpot
The founder Huma, an ACCA background business consultant, says that the platform found its basis in the lack of online booking services for beauty salons’ customers in Pakistan. “Being a customer of the beauty industry I realized that there is not any online booking platform like Careem or Foodpanda in the beauty industry which is synonymous with booking beauty services online.” says Huma. Hence an ecommerce platform could potentially digitize the operations of the beauty salons while servicing the customers with more ease. BookMySpot features salons benefitting especially the low tier salons that cannot afford marketing. It is in this way empowering the salons and helping them digitize their operations.
Although beauty salons in Pakistan have a prominent presence on social media driving their massive sales, the bookings’ section is not systemized. BookMySpot helps the users to book their appointments and receive a confirmation allowing them to visit the salon on the appointed time. The platform also offers various discounts and packages for customers who book services through their app. This also helps drive traffic to the less frequented salons. When Huma launched her application back in 2020 nobody else was working in this niche. The onset of COVID-19 gave the platform a certain push as the customer became more technology dependent for all their needs.
More About BookMySpot, Challenges and Future
Huma always wanted to be her own boss and do something for herself. She had been an ERP consultant for years, always having a fascination for the use of technology in businesses. Her idea she realized could benefit salon administration and customers. Her Karachi based startup is currently bootstrapping. It has all sorts of salons on board from high tier ones like Nadia Hussain Salon to low tier ones. It also has a “featured” section where it advertises for salons. For its own marketing, online medium is BookMySpot’s first priority. Huma says that this is because it is purely a tech startup. It also collaborates with various Facebook communities to promote its services. It has also organized on ground events as well as promoted its application through physical placements near the salons’ vicinity.
The business model of the application revolves around the sales that the platform provides to the salons. Digitizing the salons does not come easy. Few understand the importance of digitizing their operations while mostly the established ones are not open to change and are comfortable with their established way of doing things. So there is much work to be done in order to digitally enable the salons. Another challenge for Huma while running a tech startup is to have a technology expert on board. “Having a CTO with you makes things much easier. Building a product with a freelance developer is hard.” says Huma. According to Huma, including a co-founder in your startup is as tricky as getting married. “Until and unless you have the kind of person who has the same sort of vision as yourself, you cannot add them as a cofounder”.
Being a sole founder has its own set of challenges. All the responsibilities from product development to marketing fall on the sole founder. Not having a cofounder is a challenge for Huma not only because of the burden of responsibilities but also because its much more difficult to raise money from investors who prefer companies with two or three founders.
Huma is passionate about the work that she is doing and wants to first grow in the Pakistani market and than expand globally to countries like the UAE and Canada where she sees a lot of potential. Beauty and wellness industries are growing rapidly in the country and changing how masses approach beauty services. Currently Huma is utilizing the limited resources she has in the best way possible to establish her brand and service. But she is hopeful by the results that she has achieved that she will be able to utilize her first mover advantage to become the market leader in her own specialized niche.