Styleseat.com is a one-stop solution for social media, marketing, online booking and more.
Think of it as the Swiss Army knife of salon business-building. StyleSeat, which began as a site to match clients with local stylists, has grown into a multipurpose tool for salon growth and business success. The company says that more than 320,000 stylists in over 15,000 U.S. cities have joined its database to date, and claims that beauty professionals using the service are able to grow their revenues as much as 70 percent in their first year. With elements of social media, review site and e-commerce, the platform aims to be the online destination for the business of beauty. styleseat.com/salontools
Melody McClosky Master Builder
Though she has close, ongoing connections with Silicon Valley and was named one of Inc. Magazine’s “Top Women to Watch in Technology,” it wasn’t the tech connection that led Melody McCloskey to create StyleSeat. She was simply fed up with the hit-and-miss method of finding a stylist.
“I love things to work and be easy,” says the co-founder of StyleSeat. “But I didn’t have easy resources that helped me find the exact services I wanted. I thought, 'I do everything else online. Why can’t I do this online?’”
As she and partner Dan Levine dug into researching the beauty industry, they began to expand the scope of their vision to providing a tool to help salon professionals grow their businesses. “We wanted to build something that gives immense value from Day One. We realized that that was helping stylists to manage their relationships with clients,” McCloskey says.
Signing up is free, and in addition to a listing in the StyleSeat database, the site offers an online scheduling and booking tool, the ability to generate client emails and text messages, and a gallery where members can upload photographs of their work. Just as on sites like Facebook or Instagram, clients can like photos, share them or save them for later. There is also a fee-based premium membership that includes email marketing and other features. Salons and stylists who sign up through L’Oréal’s online portal at styleseat.com/salontools get 12 months free.
As StyleSeat developed, McCloskey and Levine were in salons every day, testing, tweaking and listening to what beauty professionals had to say. “We built it with them and alongside them, not at them,” she says.
Through a strategic partnership with L’Oréal, StyleSeat recently added an e-commerce feature to give each member its own online “store,” enabling visitors to purchase Essie, Kérastase, L’Oréal Professionnel, Matrix, Mizani, Pureology, Redken and Shu Uemura Art of Hair products online. L’Oréal handles the transaction, the inventory, packing and shipping, while giving a commission on every sale to the stylist.
Since StyleSeat’s release in 2011 and rapidly-growing acceptance, McCloskey says she and Levine are looking for new ways to actively drive customers to stylists, for instance by expanding the search function to answer questions like, “Who’s available right now?” and, “Who can come to my house?”
As for McCloskey, her personal search is over. She is now the happy client of colorist Audrey Warner at Mr. Pinkwhistle salon in San Francisco. McCloskey found her on StyleSeat.