⦿ INSIGHTS

byFounders invests in Watalook - revolutioning the beauty industry with its all-in-one platform

Watalook offers a comprehensive platform that caters to the unique needs of independent beauty professionals, allowing them to manage their clients, brand, and finances all in one place.
byFounders invests in Watalook - revolutioning the beauty industry with its all-in-one platform
WRITTEN BY
Camille Zivré
Investor
WRITTEN BY

We are thrilled to announce our recent investment in Watalook, a game-changing platform that caters to the needs of independent beauty professionals. As the creator economy continues to thrive and disrupt traditional business models, Watalook is at the forefront of this trend in the beauty industry.

For several years, we have observed a shift in how consumer services businesses operate. The non-flexible, centralized, traditional employee model has been slowly outpaced by the creative, independent worker model, which some have dubbed the “creator economy.” The democratization of software means it’s become possible for individuals to monetize their skills without the umbrella of an employer. They have obtained the freedom to operate a business of their own instead of working for a company brand. Such empowering technologies have solved many creators' frustration, and beauty is no exception. Why so?

Micro and macro trends shifting an industry

Several favorable winds brought the independent model to the beauty service industry. The most obvious and frequently underlined push factor is the wish for individuals to be the stewards of their own working lives, including their daily schedule and earnings. Additional fundamental shifts are accelerating this trend, driven not only by the individuals themselves but also by the structures that used to employ them:

  • Uncertain times make it difficult to predict revenues (take the COVID pandemic as an example) and call for better cost management and the ability to dial spending up or down relative to operations.
  • Additionally, increases in fixed costs, such as real estate, have led to the need for innovative ways to convert some of these costs into variable costs, such as by allowing for more flexible use of space.
  • The fierce competition for talent has also pushed business owners to offer new incentive models, such as ownership, in addition to traditional perks like employee benefits.
  • Digitalization and the data-enabled personalization of services brought increasing leads and interest in exploring new models, such as a more decentralized approach to data.

All of the above led to this major shift in the beauty industry in terms of business models and operations. Shying away from the traditional brick & mortar model, more and more independent beauty workers subscribe to “salon islands,” or coworking spaces for beauticians to rent chairs and operate their own businesses. In fact, the number of independent beauty workers using salon islands has jumped from 10% to 70% since 2012.

Yet, to shift from being an employee to being a business owner requires new tools to handle bookings, clients data, cash flows, working capital and personal branding. 

Hence aspiring independent workers are craving a digital companion to help their businesses flourish. Yet if the tool-in-the-box model for independent workers has developed at a rapid pace in the US, the European market is just at its early start. And that's what gave rise to Watalook and the experts behind the company. 

What we love about Watalook

Existing offers fail to answer the new requirements of today’s beauty services standards:

  • For clients, interacting at a creator level instead of salon-level booking - you discover the art and talent of creators, get inspired for your next visit to a beautician, and get exactly what you've come for. This is the marketplace pillar.
  • For beauty professionals, easily managing clients' data and owning the relationship to bring better service - Watalook enables you to get to know your customers better, increase retention, and keep your reputation and clients even if you move to a salon. This is the SaaS pillar.
  • For salons, facing new economic realities and exploring innovative business models to face market upheavals and talent wars. Watalook unlocks new ways to operate beauty salons by empowering beauticians to run (and finance!) their businesses & activities. This is the fintech pillar.

In sum, Watalook’s platform effectively addresses the needs of three different user groups. Of course, creating a new category for our users will not be an easy feat, but we believe they are ready for better innovation than “another marketplace.” 

We also see a good match with the expertise available in our byFounders Collective, meaning we can provide just the proper guidance for the two founders, Klaudijus and Justas, to soar to new heights. Having worked together for years in operationally challenging industries and always finding the hacks to grow efficiently, we are thrilled to bring extra fuel to this double-engine team. Founder market fit and hustle define the Watalook team, which is why we’re sure you’ll fall in love with them too. So, please welcome this explosive Lithuanian duo!

More about the author(s)
Camille Zivré
Investor

Camille is always looking for founders who have the grit to build something life-changing and is particularly interested in Web3, DeFi, DevTools, payments, and sustainability. A curious soul and avid explorer, she has lived, studied, and worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and now Denmark.

More about the author(s)
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