Charmagne Mazudzi’s bold, fresh take on the beauty industry has seen her start-up business, 360 Mobile Salon, receive a full-house of support from a panel of venture capitalists on Dragons’ Den SA last night.
Inspired by the successful business model employed by metered taxi company Uber, Mavudzi has stripped the brick and mortar from the beauty industry to create a mobile salon that offer clients the ultimate convenience.
Capitalising on the experience she gained through owning a hair extensions company she founded in 2012, Mavudzi noticed clients were increasingly pressed for time, resulting in rushed treatments and stressed clientele. “I realised that if I could take clients’ travel time out of the equation, we’d be a long way towards improving the overall customer experience,” says Mavudzi.
The business required some innovative thinking in order for the idea to materialise. “A fully mobile appointment management technology was a key requirements,” says Mavudzi. The mobile app is the central hub where all transactions take place: clients book their service (which ranges from manicure and pedicure, to make-up, hair, and massage), and order products, which arrive at their location within a specified period.
Madudzi heard about Dragons’ Den SA through Gibs, where she is studying her MBA, and decided to pitch her concept.
Vinny Lingham, one of the five dragons to invest in 360 Mobile Salon, is the founder of online gift service, Gyft, which recently sold to First Data for over US$50 million. “I was extremely impressed with Charmagne’s ability to intuitively sense a gap in this market,” says Lingham. “Her business model is simple and innovative, and addressed critical operational issues clearly and pragmatically. The application is key to the success of this start-up and this is where I can provide skills and experience.”
Mazudzi agrees that the technology is a differentiator in her business. “Clients can choose their preferred technician through the app, and rate the technician’s service. All travel costs are included in the fees, which are highly competitive. The model is geared around complete client convenience and measurable service levels. We have sought to put the client in control of the experience.”
For Lingham, another important aspect of the business is Mazudzi has created it in such a way as to empower technicians – creating employment and small circles of entrepreneurship under the 360 Mobile Salon umbrella.
“Charmagne has prioritised customer retention through two mechanisms. Firstly, customers can rate technicians and provide feedback through the app; secondly, technicians undergo frequent training and feedback sessions, in order to maintain levels of quality.
“In addition to building a strong business, this has the added benefit of empowering her technicians – they will be taught business skills and provided with a strong income.”
Charmagne is motivated by the prospect of providing people with the means to grow their income and create their own mini-brand. “The harder you work, and the better service you provide, the more your brand will grow. We are creating entrepreneurs. I’ve found that independent technicians cannot afford to market their services. By partnering with us, we will be building each other’s brands.”
360 Mobile Salon launches on 1 November, thanks to the R350 000 investment received from all five venture capitalists on The Dragons’ Den SA in return for 50% of the business. Initially, the service will be offered in Sandton, with a view to expand country-wide within a year.
Please visit the website www.360mobilesalon.co.za to sign up to their mailing list and get notified as soon as the app is released.