Wendy Slattery, Beauty Buddy
3rd March 2020
Launching a business can be daunting and exciting in equal measures. For our Women Who Launch March candidate, we hear from Wendy Slattery, co-founder of Beauty Buddy https://www.thebeautybuddy.com/
THE ELEVATOR PITCH
Beauty Buddy is a data analytics company dedicated to the beauty and cosmetic industry, bridging the gap between brands and consumers in an €800bn industry.
We are a team of 10 based in Maynooth Works at Maynooth University. In addition, we surround ourselves with several consultants, advisors and investors who work with us to bring The Beauty Buddy global dream to life.
We have identified a void in the market whereby brands have no real engagement with their consumers in-store. There are companies such as Nielsen’s and Kantar who supply high level reports across all industries but currently there is no dedicated Beauty Analytics company.
By harnessing the power of a unique, trusted and independent beauty community, our app utilises everything it knows about the user and recommends the best products, reviews, ratings and tutorials etc. In turn, we are able to provide real-time insights and actionable data that is invaluable to brands and industry partners by providing unique insights into consumer behaviours, competitive comparisons and sentiment analysis and enabling product personalisation and other advantages at scale.
We have closed a seed round of €575,000, which included investment from our angel investors and Enterprise Ireland. Participating in the NDRC-Porter Shed Accelerator Programme provided us with early funding to get our business investor ready. Our next raise this year will be used to fund the rollout of the Beauty Buddy to consumers across the US market.
Our target market approach is three-tiered, with brands, retailers and consumers all positively benefiting from the Beauty Buddy app.
• We are targeting beauty and cosmetic brands in a bid to offer them access to our data analytics so that they can use it positively to grow their business, to identify with the consumer and to create personalisation at scale.
• We are targeting retailers in a bid to offer them real-time data for their marketing and product placement needs, and as an efficient buying tool – providing them with instant access and an understanding of exactly what the consumer wants and how and when they want it.
• We are targeting consumers. We want to be the go-to app for consumers (to discover, read independent reviews etc.) to help them make informed purchasing decisions based on their profile.
BRANDS YOU LOVE
Google is a company I admire. Its foundation is an analytics company that uses data to improve their customer’s experience. I have been part of Google Adopt a Start-up and Google Startuponomics. I admire, even as they continue to grow, how they treat their staff as a priority, offering opportunities, pay them well, encourage personal development and charitable work, whilst also helping and having a positive impact on startup economies in their area.
BIGGEST ‘WIN’ TO DATE
We’ve had several big wins to date that we are extremely proud of. From closing a successful seed round of investment to winning the 2019 AIB Women in Enterprise award which was a huge achievement for Tracy (Co-founder), the team and I – a fantastic acknowledgment, recognition and reminder of how far we have come along the Beauty Buddy app journey. In addition to signing NDA’s with some of the world’s biggest brands and retailers.
BIGGEST ‘SLAP IN THE FACE’
Our first potential investor said no. Which was hugely disappointing at the time, however we appreciated that this is part of the journey. We will never be every investors cup of tea and they might not be our cup of tea. We realised that we could say no to an investor also, we just need to find the right investors for us and our business.
ARE YOU SOCIAL WHEN IT COMES TO MEDIA?
As a technology company, social media is imperative and has given us the power and platforms to create awareness of our app, drive downloads and to continually communicate our messaging. We have a full in-house marketing team, who work daily to create engaging social media content that is in line with our brand, theme and audience. We use our LinkedIn platform to communicate about the business, connect with brands, retails, investors and to showcase the growth of the app, business success etc. We then use consumer facing platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to talk directly to consumers, driving downloads of the app and building a loyal community base of Beauty Buddies.
ON TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
It plays a huge part daily. Our innovative technology roadmap is what will allow us to succeed in the future and keeping an eye on emerging technologies that can help us improve our offering is exciting.
IS THERE A BUSINESS MODEL YOU WOULD LIKE TO EMULATE?
We are a Data As A Service (DAAS) model, which gives us global scale
IF YOU HAD A BLANK CHEQUE
I would expand our tech, marketing and sales teams and give our team a pay rise, they deserve it and more. I would add all our dream features to the app, so our users have the best possible experience. A blank cheque would enable us to launch sooner to the US market with the ability to penetrate all states.
YOUR TRAITS – BEST & WORST
I am a great listener, one of my core strengths is decision making and I am very passionate. However, I do tend to take things to heart and I expect people to treat me how I treat them.
BEST BUSINESS LUNCH DATE
One day I plan to have lunch with Sheryl Sandberg. From an operations point of view and from being Mark Zuckerberg’s right hand, I’d like to hear how they continue to grow, weather plenty of political and global storms, all whilst creating a great work environment which empowers women to lean in.
IDEAL BUSINESS PARTNER
Thankfully, I already have the perfect business partner, Tracy Leavy, my sister and co-founder of The Beauty Buddy. We have been in business together for over 15 years, we have different strengths and skill sets that complement each other and we always have each other’s back. We know each other well and have the same mindsets for the aspirations of the business. We are very close as a family and we support each other to succeed.
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE
Put yourself out there and go for it. Being in business is tough, challenging and rewarding all at the same time. Once you set yourself goals and an achievable strategic growth strategy, do everything in your power to reach those goals, no matter how small or big of milestones they are. Remember, you can’t do it all yourself so surround the business with a great, solid, dedicated and like-minded team who have the ability to free up your time, allowing you to focus on next steps, dreams and global ambitions.
Pictured (l-r): Sisters and co-founders Tracy Leavy, COO, and Wendy Slattery, CEO of Beauty Buddy.