GlamSquad users have one thing in common: lack of time.
At least that’s what Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, CEO and one of the founders of the company, has noted. The company allows customers to use a smart phone application or email to make an appointment, but instead of traveling to the beauty salon, the beauty experts will travel to the client’s office or home to fulfill hair and makeup needs, depending on the occasion.
“The people who seek out this service are mostly professional women with a hectic work schedule or stay-at-home moms with young children who don’t have much time to go to a hair salon, as well as women with a busy social life or brides,” said Wilkis Wilson at GlamSquad’s office in Midtown.
Hair styling services start at $50 and makeup services at $75.
The GlamSquad phenomenon began in 2014 in New York, where the company is headquartered. Later, it expanded to Los Angeles, and in December, it began operating in Miami, just in time to accomodate clients attending Art Basel and the many social events tied to the annual internationally-renowned arts gathering.
“Combining all three cities, our team of professionals meet a demand of about 2,000 appointments per week,” Wilkis Wilson said.
Wilkis Wilson lives in New York and frequently flies to Miami, a city she feels a special connection to. She has spent many summer vacations in Key Biscayne.
She’s the daughter of Robert Wilkis, an urban developer, and Elsa Freites Wilkis, a Cuban-born teacher, who teaches Spanish and has lived in New York since 1962. Wilkis Wilson says that in her family, education and respect for other cultures has always been important. For her, Cuban food is also important.
“One of my first stops when I come to Miami is at Versailles restaurant,” she said.
Wilkis Wilson graduated from Harvard University with a Business degree and worked as a director of operations of 15 Bulgari stores in the United States. She also held an administrative position with Louis Vuitton North America.
In 2007, aside from her experience and the fact that she’s one of the company’s founders, she added to GlamSquad by bringing it to U.S.-based Gilt Groupe, an online shopping site with more than six million members.
Gilt specializes in the sale of clothes, services and luxury brand items at a reduced price.
In March of 2014, during a technology seminar at Harvard, Wilkis Wilson met with one of her former classmates, Jason Perri, who two months prior had founded GlamSquad. She started by using the services and soon became a project advisor.
“In May, they told me that they were impressed by the passion and the vision I contributed to the business and asked me to join the company,” she recalled.
A short time later in September of 2014, she decided to accept the position as CEO and founding member of GlamSquad.
“I’m applying all the experience I acquired in those seven years at Guilt, from having an idea for a company to developing it, launching it and making it popular,” Wilkis Wilson said.
The idea for GlamSquad actually came from Victoria Eisner, another founder who on Christmas Eve in New York, while doing her own hair, realized that through her iPhone she could order clothes, food and transportation. But there was nothing to solve simple beauty issues such as the need for a good blow-dry in the comfort of your own home or office.
Eisner presented the idea to Perri, and together, they started to build the company. Today, GlamSquad has a team of about 250 beauty professionals, hair stylists and makeup artists, living in the three cities in which it operates.
Professionals interested in becoming a part of the GlamSquad team must complete a selection process including interviews, a background check and verification of personal information. They must also take part in a 40-hour training program.
“It doesn’t matter how many years of experience the stylist has; they must do the training, which consists of the different hair styles and makeup options offered, as well as etiquette rules they must adhere to during the service,” Wilkis Wilson said.
The training program was created and is supervised by Giovanni Vaccaro, creative director of GlamSquad. Vaccaro was Frederic Fekkai’s senior stylist for 10 years. Kelli J. Barlett, who previously worked at MAC, is also a part of the team.
Wilkis Wilson is also involved in the areas of technology, marketing and attracting new investors to the company.
“There are many beauty companies who want to make alliances with us, thanks to our direct contact with clients,” she said.
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