One of the great perks of working here at Slapstart is that every now and then you have to step outside yourself. You have to assume a challenge, a new role, get out of your comfort zone. Like a regal Shakespearean actor of yore, you have to don a new persona and stand in strange and foreign shoes.
So today I will delve into a heretofore unexplored world. A world of hair, makeup, clothes, and nails. A world of glamour, fashion, and mystique. Specifically, I’ll be talking about Go Pretty, a fantastic resource that provides instant access to makeup artists, hairstylists, and other beauty professionals such as manicurists, estheticians, and cosmetic doctors. So those “foreign shoes” I’ll be stepping into? Well, for today, they’re heels.
Go Pretty’s value proposition is unique, powerful, and democratizing: by acting as a middle(woman?), it connects visitors to a vast and impressive pool of beauty experts. Go Pretty is a “beauty broker,” providing access to beauty expertise (known as Beauty Pro members) to the many, rather than the enlightened few, and at no cost to users. After all, why should celebrities and high-end agencies have all the access to the best the beauty world has to offer?
So I dove into the site. The home page has a helpful virtual tour, a slide show of featured work by Beauty Pro members, blog posts, and an intuitive set of subpages. On the “From the Founder” page we learn how Go Pretty was born to fill a void. The founder, Tracy Saunders, saw amazing stylists in magazines, but couldn’t access them. She shook her head, sighed, and shrugged her shoulders. Then she started Go Pretty. I imagine her problem is pretty common among Go Pretty’s targeted audience, and this backstory goes a long way to personalize the site and its mission.
The “hook,” meanwhile, is the impressive pool of Beauty Pros there for the taking. For first-time visitors, this must be like (diamond 18k white) gold. Go Pretty’s “Find a Beauty Expert” page lists them all and includes their location. By clicking on a Pro, like Phung Huynh (a manicurist) or Lazarus Jean-Baptiste (a makeup artist; I think he’s a big deal!), you can check their impeccable credentials and connect with them via the site or Facebook or Twitter. And seriously, “impeccable” is an understatement: these are the world-class stylists and beauticians, now accessible to Go Pretty clients.
And once you understand how Go Pretty works for their Beauty Pros, you can see why so many esteemed stylists have signed up: from PR engagement to advertising to search engine optimization, they combine traditional and cutting edge methods to create a buzz and attract clients to the site. They advertise in print, network with concierges, invest in PR, and heavily leverage Facebook and Twitter. So it’s safe to say that a visitor even remotely attuned to the world of fashion and style will be instantly frothing – as unglamorous as that may look – over this unprecedented pool of talent. And upon seeing that network, any non-Go Pretty beautician or stylist should want to instantly join this elite company. Don’t want to be left holding the (make-up) bag!
I assumed the role as end-user and signed up. Upon entering basic info, you can select the “type” of member you are, and whether you’re an individual Client or a type of Beauty Pro (e.g. Manicurist, Yoga Instructor, Hair, Holistic Health Instructor – notice the interesting variety, by the way?) Beauty Pros can select whether they’re available to travel to client location, and can enter their own URL and photo. Once you’re signed up, you can invite friends, add content, add photos, and tweak your profile. And then the real fun begins.
Go Pretty’s model is a win-win for both parties. It enables clients – again, sign-up is free – to shop around for beauty services, providing them with access to a huge pool of experts, beauticians, manicurists, and the like. And as previously illustrated, for the Beauty Pros – for whom the first 30 days are free – it’s a boon for business: by joining, your once-small client pool can grow exponentially overnight.
We tend to think of the world of beauty as mystifying, stratified, and impenetrable. That fantastic hairdresser in Vogue? Pretty cool, but let’s be real: none of us are Natalie Portman (though Lord knows I’ve tried.) Or the fact that you live a busy life and don’t have the time to shop around for a better manicurist, yoga instructor, or esthetician? Oh well, guess you’ll have to stick with what you got. No longer. With Go Pretty, throw those misconceptions out the window. The site opens doors to whole new worlds of stylists, beauticians, and experts: the possibilities are endless. In fact, the value here is so obvious that even I – let’s be honest, a pretty unglamorous dude* – get it. And if this dude can get it, I’m sure many, many other women will.
*Actually, I did have my curly hair chemically straightened back in college. As with most college experiences, it was a time of radical experimentation.
Go Pretty learned the one thing that all internet entrepreneurs learn. The web doesn’t always attract those at the height of the aesthetically pleasing ladder. Thus, we suspect it found itself neglected amidst pools of video game playing teenagers. We shall miss Go Pretty and the beauty she shared with us.