If there’s anything the local startup ecosystem loves more than a blockchain startup, it’s probably a startup that is involved in even the most tangential way to real estate, but startups that help consumers more easily find and book appointments with hair and beauty professionals surely come pretty close.
Over the last few years we have seen number launch, from those facilitating salon bookings – Flossie, for example – to those connecting consumers to freelance professionals on-demand – your Glamazons.
Victorians Miriam Barakat and Melissa Tan have also thrown their hat in the ring with One Tribe.
“Miriam and I were traveling to an event in Sydney and we were having one of those days where everything was going wrong. Our flight was delayed, we got rained on and we were running late to this event. Frustrated, I turned to Miriam and said ‘How good would it be if we could just get someone to come and do our hair and makeup for us?’ And the idea just stuck,” Tan said.
The pair began by researching existing platforms in the market – of which, as mentioned before, there are many – and talking to their networks. Satisfied that there was significant demand in the market, they got to work with a development team and launched their MVP last April.
Like other platforms in this market, One Tribe allows hair and makeup artists to create a profile, through which they can upload a portfolio and detail their qualifications, skills, experience, and so on, also giving them the ability to connect their Instagram feed if they should so choose.
With customers then able to browse and post jobs, artists can then respond to jobs by providing a quote; if a customer is interested they are then able to chat and liaise through the platform. Payment is taken through the platform once a job is confirmed, but held until the job is complete. Customers can then review the artist.
Like many a two-sided marketplace, Barakat and Tan soon ran into the age-old problem: building up sufficient supply and demand to satisfy the needs of both types of users.
In looking to find and onboard artists, Tan said the cofounders first had to identify where providers were spending most of their time, which ended up being social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Of course, the success of the platform rests on the quality of the artists; as such, OneTribe looks to work with artists who have solid qualifications and at least two years of experience in the industry, and a strong, well-presented portfolio, Tan explained.
With artists able to create a listing on One Tribe for free, the cofounders focused on communicating how it can help “get them jobs and make more money”.
“We highlighted the benefits of using the platform, for example they can use their profiles in place of needing a website; a lot of artists don’t have their own website yet and have no single source where they get a steady stream of jobs,” Tan said.
On the customer side, Tan said the cofounders first tapped their networks and peers, while friends soon started referring clients through Facebook or email.
“Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. You create some of the greatest opportunities simply by building authentic relationships,” she said.
As they built up the number of users on both sides, the cofounders began to see the platform was being used for corporate events and group bookings; they are now working to allow One Tribe to better cater for this need. (Sydney-founded startup LUXit also has a focus on the hotel and corporate market.)
While joining and creating a listing is free, the platform takes a 15 percent cut from an artist on every booking and has also launched a ‘concierge’ service for bookings of four or more people.
“This service is a little bit extra at 25 percent of the total fee but goes a long way as we take the hassle out of coordinating these types of events,” Tan said.
One Tribe has also launched a yearly subscription for artists who want “premium access” to the community. This gives them the ability to upload their own video tutorials, discounts on products, access to industry events, and provides them with a business toolkit to help them build their brand.
Acknowledging the crowded market, Tan said this community is what sets One Tribe apart.
“One Tribe is not just a booking platform, it’s an artist community where we facilitate networking between artists, provide business and branding tips for freelancers, and provide industry deals and product promotions to support artists in their jobs,” Tan said.
Supported by advisors including former Seek CIO Bradley Birchall, One Tribe is focused on further growing both sides of the marketplace; the cofounders are also keen to explore funding opportunities.
Had enough of all the startup buzzwords? So have we. That’s why we’re asking the startups we chat to to send us a video where they pitch their business in a way that’s easy enough for even the most technophobic of grandparents to understand:
Image: Melissa Tan and Miriam Barakat. Source: Supplied.