It was a sunny afternoon at Holland Village, Xiaoshi initiated a self-discovery session with me. Here’s where we went:
During this session, we talked about +ShowNearby, the company that I co-founded with Lee Changjin, my Ngee Ann Poly classmate, and Lead Architect Choy Peng Kong. We talked about how that inspired millions of people worldwide, from Singapore to India. We talked till I was nearly moved to tears; helping the little guys (like us) to do business better is what we are always passionate about.
Xiaoshi then shared about her life and her motivations, about how she always wanted to do a big impact business, that she is not a quitter, how passion is the main reason why she did anything in life and the reason she moved to Singapore from her cushy finance job in Hong Kong… hahaha! That’s a funny story, shall leave it for the next post 😛
So, why did we do Vanitee?
We are born out of BattleHack 2014 in Singapore, Paypal’s virgin attempt at hosting a hackathon in Asia.
We felt that the theme of this competition (Create an app that helps solve a local problem & Hack for Good) resonates strongly with how we feel for our beauty and wellness professionals.
We started having an idea to make it convenient for Consumers to Find and Book Beauty Salons easily, here is how it looked like on VanityTrove:
And here is how the booking form used to look like:
Well, it did not turn out the way we thought it would. It turns out that Beauty Salons were only interested in driving more sales, rightfully so, considering their high rental expenses, renovation costs and labor intensity. They were less interested to highlight and show off their Professional’s passionate skills openly in public. Sure, they try to plaster their talents all over the shop with pictures, name cards, etc. but none led to the consumer being able to directly contact the Professional. None granted the Professional freedom of expression through their works of art, through their passionate ways of serving customers, etc. Time is money. And the more hair you chop, the more nails you touch, the more bodies you exert strength to, the more you will earn. It’s down to basics. They just need to survive. And compromising their creativity was a necessary evil.
The business owners who are passionate often realize they had to close shop pretty quickly because they could not sustain their costs. So whilst being passionate with their works of art and being 1-1 connected to their customers is a priceless heartwarming activity, many lack the tools to sustain their business.
This realization led to Vanitee – the tool to up the chances the little guys deserves.
For a few weeks now, we took random long walks, meeting salons after salons, from nails to hair to spas to massages. We just walked to Far East Plaza, Orchard Plaza, Bugis Junction/Plus, Bishan Junction 8, etc. etc. Really, no one we spoke to gave us the feeling that their Professional deserves the passion. They all felt that if they drive passion too much, things will get sloppy, the “factory” will produce less goods and thus less moolahs for everyone. So everyone just fits into the process and gets in with the flow.
But that’s not what we are hearing from you, the consumer. You want more. You deserve more. You want to be connected 1-1 with the passionate, high quality professional who, like Dean Brettschneider create products and services that he and his customers love!
And the best part, the consumer wants to SUPPORT THE PROFESSIONAL.
Quality vs Price
Ask any consumer on the streets if they are willing to pay just $5 (or more) for a higher quality hair cut, personalized service and a no-rush service. Show me someone who will say no to getting better quality, that person ain’t the average joe, like you and me. You and me, we can pay that +$5 (or more) for an awesome job well done.
High Quality Professionals are not easy to find. You Google, you read Forums, you scour through tons of Blogs and finally, you get an ah-hah moment when you see someone you like. Then you start figuring out their Availability, if they are going to be Trustworthy, if their place is Clean & Safe, if others have tried the service and said they are ichiban!
Here’s where Vanitee comes into the picture. We will help you to discover High Quality Beauty and Wellness Professionals. We commit to meet every single one of the Professionals out there and we promise to guarantee every booking, every customer service issue and help mediate any potential disputes.
Trust, Cleanliness & Safety
We commit to providing accurate pictures and accurate information of Beauty and Wellness Professionals. We envision working with every High Quality Great Professionals via the Vanitee Professional Service Guidelines & Standards that governs the Professional’s service commitment to any customer who books via the Vanitee platform.
“Every Professional has the ability to enhance the way people look and feel about themselves. Great Professionals create magical experiences for Clients fostering that lasting special connection with them. The secret to being a great professional lies in several key ingredients.” – XS
Availability, Accuracy and Transparency
The common feedback we heard while interviewing consumers at Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Baker&Cook, and a whole bunch of other cafes with women from all ages (20s to 40s) is availability. Just to book that someone online, GAWD HELP EM, it’ll take at least 3-7 days to settle, some did it in 4 weeks. And so we heard.
Here’s a quick and dirty run down of the hard truths when booking someone (a total stranger *gasp*) online:
- What they want to do (yes we know how long they take to decide on that pair of shoes :p)
- When they want to do it (the time taken to finally agree to a date and time, MAN, we could have flown to the moon and back – exaggerated)
- How much is it (is it nett price? got +gst +service charge? any other hidden costs? etc.)
- Who are you again (sorry, let me double confirm the appt and get back to you, I… don’t… quite… trust you… yet)
Every Professional on the Vanitee platform are truthful individuals who can live with themselves during the day and sleep well at night. They will commit to provide 100% accurate information on their Professional Profile, describing their work experience, credentials and showcasing their personal work portfolio.
Come on. Don’t look away. You want to read reviews as much as everyone else do. We read reviews to convince ourselves this Professional is going to do a-hell-of-a-good-job for your nails, your hair, your armpit, your body, your toes – ok pretty much anywhere else you want that beautiful magic to happen.
Leaving you breathless, speechless, stunned, pleasantly surprised with your gorgeous/beautiful/awesome/perfect good looks. PERFECTLY WELL DONE!
On Vanitee, you can read reviews ONLY from those who have BOOKED the Professional before – YES, no random strangers leaving random untrustworthy reviews. We will also Facebook Friend Find every user’s review so you can see which of your friend or friend’s of friend have booked/reviewed/recommended her before.
No more lies. Just the truth. Nuff said.
Oh, and YOU (da consumer at large) are also at the scrutiny hor. We are gonna make sure you are reviewed by the Professionals in an anonymous manner that does not allow you nor any other Professional to scrutinize who have made that vote on you. At the end of every appointment, we will ask the Professional 3 simple questions:
Is the Customer…
- Punctual? [Yes/No]
– If you are late, please have the basic courtesy to inform your Professional. Please don’t waste other people’s time as much as you do not want others to waste yours. Life’s precious, live it beautifully!
- Friendly? [Yes/No]
– Be nice please… please… pretty please!!! Oh well, if you are not friendly, please tip well 😛
- Tip? [Yes/No]
– If you feel absolutely gorgeously beautifully sexily awesomely pretty, please tip. Like leave some TIP already.
We at Vanitee, pledge/commit/promise to uphold our word (all that we typed above) and will always be there for you.
We will always fight for the little guy (like us), the small businessmen and women and their customers. We work tirelessly with extreme tenacity to deliver the best product and service to fight alongside them. If you spotted any bugs or have any suggestions, let us know, we commit to solve it ASAP.
For you, you, you, and you, and you. Still, you. All about you. Just you. Ok, only you.
Sharing our favorite quote of the moment:
“Today is difficult, tomorrow is more difficult, but the day after tomorrow is beautiful, we have to work very hard in order to survive the long journey.” – Jack Ma
Don’t forget to share with us your #vanitee looks on Instagram (@ilovevanitee) or Facebook