LuxeBraids: Beverley Paly and Lawrence Suss
The female entrepreneur on how her tech start-up appeals to both sides of the hairdressing market and the challenge of launching on bootstradded budget
Name: Beverley Paly and Lawrence Suss
Company name: LuxeBraids
Date launched: 23/07/2015
Tell us what your business does:
LuxeBraids is an on-demand booking platform for natural hairstyling, braiding and protective styling. We connect women to LuxePro stylists who come to their home, office or hotel.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
After experiencing a continuous breakdown in service within the ethnic hair salon industry, I decided to take up the role of styling my own hair. Getting my hair done in crammed salons, and sharing my stylists’ time with other clients meant that I ended up spending more time than necessary waiting for the stylist to complete my hairstyle.
After going through the self styling phase, sharing and listening to other women’s experiences, it became clear that more ethnic women had the same problem when it came to styling their own hair and emphaised the need for a more professional and personalised service within the highly fragmented ethnic hair industry came about.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Our team has 20 years experience within the hair industry, and we’ve had the advantage of first hand insights and engagement with salons, stylists and clients. We also conducted surveys and spent time with both the clients and the stylists.
Hairstylists expressed that, while they are using social media to source clients, they would rather focus their attention on hairstyling. LuxeBraids’ ensures that they get maximum exposure and manage client bookings along with other added benefits that come with being a LuxePro stylist.
What were you doing before starting up?
I’m the founder of a hair distribution company Hair Emporium and co-founder of social network SPOTTM, which my co-founder Lawrence Suss also established.
Prior to these ventures, Suss was part of the founding team at MacBasket (which he sold) and headed up WeGoLook operations in the UK.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes we have both always wanted to run our own business.
How did you raise the money?
Bootstrapping and now entering into seed round talks with investors.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
LuxeBraids joins the growing on-demand economy. We connect ethnic women to hairstylists at a location and time that is convenient for them. We take a commission on the transactions.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Our biggest challenge has been building an MVP and entering Beta on a bootstrap budget. We have a strong team and we have managed to stay focused and utilised our skills in order to get LuxeBraids up and running.
What was your first big breakthrough?
We set ourselves a stylist recruitment target that we needed to achieve in order for us to kickstart our beta phase. We’ve exceeded that goal and have just launched our service in the London area.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
No one said it would be easy. Stay the course and have fun while doing what you love.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We want to make sure that we have a sound foothold in the UK with a product that delivers exceptional services consistently and is able to scale into other markets.