LeSalon is a UK-based on-demand beauty services platform, providing an app to support beauty therapists operating in the gig economy.
Founded in 2015, the startup has built an app which enables users to quickly get access to beauty treatments, like manicure and pedicure treatments, that can be scheduled for anytime outside of their working hours. It also offers more flexible career opportunities for beauty therapists on the go.
Founder and COO, Natasha Pilbrow launched LeSalon after noticing the difficulties freelance professionals faced to get consistent work.
“We have our onboarding process of the therapists that work with us, which includes very clear stats about how the services should be done,” Natasha Pilbrow tells Techworld. “So whoever you book, or whichever therapists you use, you get the same quality of service.
“We’ve built the app so that you can book either by the therapist, because we find an interesting kind of 50/50 split that some clients really care about which therapist they’re getting, whereas other clients are less sensitive to that and just want the time, so we built the app to enable both ways for booking,” she adds.
This includes a fully automated booking process, with a propriety algorithm which provides responses within two minutes. It also ensures that every therapist that joins the platform passes through a data protection and vetting process.
LeSalon’s app was built in-house by full-stack developer and CTO, Nabil Freeman. He is supported by a team of five developers that work on enhancing the iOS and Android apps.
“There are partnerships we have with some providers who provide some of the products, but we don’t work with any external salon. We recruit therapists ourselves, they then come to our offices where we have a comprehensive onboarding policy,” Pilbrow says.
The key to the platform is to offer the maximum flexibility. “We have no minimum requirements in terms of how much time you’re required to give us, so therapists are completely flexible. They just upload, choose which areas they want to work in, where they can travel to and accept bookings that come up within that area with the services that they do," Pilbrow said.
“This enables women to have either a couple of bookings a week or more. There are different capabilities depending on what stage you’re at."
Although the UK is seeing a steady increase in the number of female freelancers as more women embrace the gig economy, the gender pay gap still exists across different areas and Pilbrow hopes to tackle that with LeSalon.
“I think a lot of women have felt somewhat undervalued and dispensable, we really embraced change to adjust that so that the therapists that work with us realise that they are skilled and that they have an important value,” she adds.
After holding a number of focus groups in the early stages of the business, Pilbrow realised that a lot of therapists choose to work in salons due to safety concerns but would appreciate more flexibility based on other commitments.
“There are a lot of women that really need that kind of work. To be able to work flexibly and autonomously to structure your day around whatever commitments you have is like a godsend, and there’s not a lot out there so that was entirely the purpose of it for me, to build a company that would enable and support women to work flexibly,” Pilbrow says.
In the future, LeSalon hopes to launch its service in multiple areas across the UK, starting with Manchester later this year. It will also further automate its Salonettes app for therapists to easily track expenses and logistics.