Houston—Picture a beauty salon—or barbershop, for you guys. It’s one of the least digitized environments in our lives. And that’s the most challenging aspect of promoting a beauty app, says Libby Cagle, co-founder of Pageboy.
“It has been interesting to train customers to use the app to cancel appointments through the app,” instead of calling, Cagle says. “A lot of our customers have our cell numbers. And we’re trying to get them to use the app so they can rebook.”
In the year since Cagle and her wife, Lauren Taft, founded Pageboy, though, customers seem to be getting the hang of it. More than 1,500 people have downloaded the Houston-based app, which calls stylists to your home. Cagle says the repeat customer rate is 90 percent. Their users range from elderly ladies—including Taft’s 89-year-old grandmother—to young mothers, to people on bed rest.
“This type of service has mostly been for the uber wealthy,” Cagle says. “But we feel our prices are reasonable enough for anyone.”
The cost for a blowout—wash, dry, and set—is $70 with a fixed 20 percent tip added in. Customers can choose from five hair styles—the “big hair” Texas is famous for or a more sleeker look, for example—plus options for braids, ponytails, and buns. Pageboy started by offering one service (blowouts) in one market (Houston). This summer, Pageboy is expanding to other Texas metro areas—it just opened in Austin—and is adding services, including manicures, pedicures, massages, and spray tans.
Pageboy joins a cohort of other beauty-services apps, such as BeautyNow or Glamsquad. Cagle says Pageboy distinguishes itself by the quality of stylists in its arsenal. “We have a director of recruitment, an actual stylist, who finds the lead person in each market, and he heads up all training sessions, which happen monthly.”
Other apps, she says, sign on stylists based on a resume review alone. Pageboy takes about a dozen stylists’ applications at a time and conducts in-person “technical” interviews. “We spend time with each of these stylists multiple times before they are hired,” Cagle says.
Cagle is a public relations professional and her wife works in her family’s broadcast communications business. The pair outsourced the development of the app, and the company’s stylists are contractors. (Cagle declined to share the size of the stylists’ commission.) While Pageboy’s founders raised $200,000 from two private investors to develop the app’s software, Cagle says their focus is to grow the company’s business organically.
“We want to offer our customers as many home-convenient services as possible,” she says.