Startup spotlight: Hair Construction connects players in global hair industry
06/15/2014 7:00 PM
06/17/2014 5:25 PM
Concept: Hair Construction connects all the players in the global hair industry, including salons, clients, product companies and beauty schools. Not only does the company license instructional content and web services to them, but it provides salon-clients with its new and innovative Stylez app.
"With the Stylez app, consumers can find a hairstyle, connect with a salon and get the exact look they want because we provide that salon with the instructional recipe, ensuring they are prepared to create that look for their clients," said Cory Hoffart, Hair Construction’s CEO, who has a background in e-commerce, business development and sales.
Hair Construction is launching its online tools for stylists and its Stylez app for consumers, all available in seven languages.
Story: Magdalene Palfi, Hair Construction’s co-founder and president, is a top stylist in Europe and developed many of Hair Construction’s concepts after working in a few salons in the United States. She felt firsthand some of the challenges all the players in the industry face, especially the fact that beauty school students in the U.S. are trained to take a test, not to master their craft. Therefore, a large majority of them leave the industry within three years. "This is a problem for salon owners, their clientele and product companies, and our concept addresses all those issues," Hoffart said.
Management team: Cory Hoffart, CEO; Magdalene Palfi, president; Palle Freese, chief creative officer; Sandor Toth, chief technologist.
Number on team: 40 stylists from 10 countries
Financing: More than $300,000 has been invested to date, and Hair Construction is closing an additional round of financing, all from local investors.
Biggest startup challenge: Accepting the fact that creating something of value requires patience. Surprisingly, one must practice patience as much as persistence.
Recent milestones reached: Hair Construction won the eMerge Americas Launch Competition, receiving $50,000 in cash and prizes. It recently launched its Stylez app on both iOS and Android, and is closing deals with distribution partners for its instructional products and web services, including Hedlux, which is a Delray Beach-based company that distributes to 1,000 schools in the United States. This week, the entire Hair Construction team of 40 is in Barcelona to create its next collection, including videos and photo shoots, which it does twice every year to keep its content fresh.
Next steps: Bringing salons and hairdressers into the Stylez app this month, then beginning a national marketing strategy to consumers in July. Continuing to acquire distribution partnerships. "Although we will soon launch with multiple partners, both here and in Europe, we need to really focus on optimizing our approach through the summer so we can make our users extremely happy, then try to scale that effectively," Hoffart said.
Mentor’s view: “They’ve been cementing strategic relationships that are going to accelerate their capability to grow and initiate scalability, their next phase. They have a very interesting business with proprietary material, and one of their challenges is choosing their strategic partners right in order to go to market in the most aggressive way," said Robert Interiano, who has mentored Hair Construction through Venture Hive, a tech startup incubator and accelerator in downtown Miami where Hair Construction is based.
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