Founder of Beautystat.com
In any startup, agility is a top priority. Changing directions based on customerfeedback, streamlining focus, responding to consumer needs … it’s all part of creating a new business.
We’re lucky that the beauty community is so vocal. They tell us what they need and want, and when we take a moment to stop and listen, we learn a lot. We learn nearly everything we need to know, really.
BeautyStat has a very active community, and our customers – which include consumers, brands and retailers – told us very clearly what they needed. Armed with that insight, we determined that best way to assist our customers was to create a one-stop discovery and commerce site that educates users about beauty brands and products, and then directs them toward a purchase once they’ve made a buying decision.
This type of approach required a slight pivot to our business model. We realized that we needed guidance and mentorship – from a technology standpoint – to help us grow our business bigger, at a faster pace.
For those who aren’t familiar, TechLaunch is a program created to drive the commercialization of innovative technology within the state of New Jersey. A select group of start-ups are chosen to participate in a 16-week intensive and receive access to early seed-stage funding, key services and exposure.
Being part of Tech Launch’s accelerator program was an incredible experience. It was truly flattering to be chosen as a participant – we’ve always known BeautyStat is something special, but it was very validating (and exciting!) to know that others felt that way, too. We were certainly in good company, with classmates from all types of industries and completely diverse backgrounds.
The thing we all had in common was our passion for our respective start-ups. As a 20-year veteran of the beauty industry, I eat, breathe and sleep the biz. I’m sure the other participants do the same with their businesses.
When you bring a group of passionate individuals together – regardless of what their niche is – the excitement is palpable. The ideas bounce around, the energy is limitless and everyone’s hope for the future of their business is sparked, stoked or renewed. It’s an indescribable feeling! Though we were from industries all across the board, having that “our time is now!” common mindset was very powerful and allowed for great discoveries and solidified relationships.
Friends with Benefits
The biggest benefit of all was having access to the TechLaunch team’s time and network. They gave us great insights on effectively using e-commerce and worked with us to determine how we could best reach our audience. If a question was asked and someone didn’t know the answer, there was a whole army of TechLaunch network members from which to find the answer. It was clear that the entire team cared about what we were doing and the attention to detail was exceptional.
To have open access to such sharp minds was a huge opportunity for us. We saw and realized things that weren’t apparent in the beginning, and we were able to hone our strategy based on that source-tapping. We grew as a team and as individuals during the program, and we also grew in our belief that what we could accomplish was huge!
We now know what our users are looking for: time, good deals and honest advice. As a whole, women say they spend too much time scouring the internet for their favorite products at the best prices. Thanks to TechLaunch, we can now do that for them. We know when and where a product will be in stock, where they can find the best price on it and how the product is reviewed. We can also send them alerts when we find beauty product deals and exclusive offers that suit their criteria.
For those who aren’t sure which products they want or need, we can help there, too. We have a team of expert reviewers to test out products of all types – skincare, hair care, nails, makeup and more – and provide honest reviews and recommendations. Users can search products based on their skin types or color preferences and unearth a plethora of information that will help them make wise buying decisions.
We’re also excited about offering our users additional ways to engage – with us as a company and with other members of the BeautyStat community. The beauty industry is one built on sharing – a good (or bad) product experience will make its way through a group of like-minded users in a hurry. By giving our users a chance to talk and interact, we’re helping the industry remain organic – even though the ways in which we share information have changed drastically.
No question, our participation in the TechLaunch program has meant the world to us. We have streamlined our approach and have revamped BeautyStat.com into a one-stop destination for content and commerce, where users can come together to learn about the newest, hottest products and receive personalized expert content to help them make the best purchasing decisions. If they find something they like while they’re at our site? We’ve got partnerships with Macy’s, Walmart, Walgreens, Birchbox, Amazon, eBay, Nordstrom and Sephora – as well as a host of indie and national brands – to help them out.
About the Author:
Ron Robinson is an independent cosmetic chemist and founder of BeautyStat.com , a search and discovery retail site and blog that reaches more than 40 million consumers. He is a veteran product development executive who has worked for such leading beauty companies as The Estée Lauder Companies, L’Oreal, Avon Products and Revlon Products. Ron has been featured on NBC and CBS News, and in Forbes Magazine, The New York Times, LA Times and Women’s Wear Daily. Ron is currently a resident beauty expert for Allure magazine.