Three years after adding buy buttons to its website, Allure is making the logical next step in turning its online editorial into a purchasing playground. The magazine has partnered with BeautyBooked, a service that lets users book spa and salon appointments, to add bookings to its own website.
Allure has been publishing salon reviews since it was founded in 1991, editor-in-chief Linda Wells tells us, but up until recently women had to deal with the frustration of going through the ringer to make an appointment. (Nobody likes having to wait until the hair salon opens at 10 a.m. to put in a call.) Beauty treatments are one of those things that you want to book the second you realize you need one — or, in Allure's case, the moment you read a glowing review.
"This is an easy way to act on instinct," Wells says.
BeautyBooked, for its part, was founded in 2012 by Hillary Hutcheson and Ritika Gill, who worked together at L'Oreal as brand managers for Maybelline. The idea for their startup was born when the two were trying to book a few beauty treatments before a big company event and got frustrated with how difficult it was to nail down an appointment. And voila! Startup.
In the last two years, BeautyBooked has picked up $715,000 in funding from investors like New York Angel and Innovation Garden and just released its first mobile app to coincide with the Allure announcement. Currently BeautyBooked has only developed its product for use on Allure's desktop website, although Wells says that moving it over to mobile is just a matter of time and technology. It's kind of an obvious avenue, and one that competitive apps like Hannah Bronfman's Beautified have already started to explore.
Starting on Monday, Allure readers will have two ways of booking appointments on the magazine's website. One is through a widget powered by BeautyBooked, called the Salon & Spa Booker, which lets users see available appointments, read Allure content about that spa and book and purchase treatments. The second is purchase opportunities embedded within Allure's editorial content; if you're reading a review of a salon, you'll also find a button to book an appointment.
Although the transactions take place on Allure's website, BeautyBooked handles all of the technical logistics, and the two split revenue for the cut they take on each booking.
In turn, Allure's reviews will begin appearing on BeautyBooked's website. Each spa on the site has a general profile, customer reviews, treatment menu and photo gallery; Allure's content will appear above the reviews members have posted. The salons BeautyBooked features have already been vetted by a team member — according to Wells, that selectivity is one of the reasons the magazine chose to work with this particular company — but Allure's perspective gives it a bit more weight, never a bad thing for a startup still looking to build its user base.
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