Beauty Buddy app aims to become the ‘TripAdvisor for beauty’

App brings all the information about products together in one place for users

Tracey Leavy, left, and Wendy Slattery. The BeautyBuddy

Tracey Leavy, left, and Wendy Slattery. The BeautyBuddy

 

The Beauty Buddy is the brainchild of sisters Wendy Slattery and Tracy Leavy who describe it as “like TripAdvisor for beauty” as it brings all the information about products together in one place.

“The Beauty Buddy is an app that allows you to scan the barcode of a beauty or cosmetic product. It then displays all the information you need to know about that product – such as ‘free froms’ and directions for use – to make an informed purchasing decision,” Slattery says.

“The idea came from a problem myself and Tracy experienced every time we went shopping,” she adds. “There are thousands of beauty and cosmetic products on the market and it was overwhelming trying to pick the right one. The industry recognises this and pays influencers to review products, but then it’s hard to know what’s true. We wanted transparency and to know if a product was good or bad and right or wrong for us and let the community know. We are very passionate about trustworthy reviews. If an influencer is saying how fantastic a product is and the rest of our community disagrees it will be very apparent.”

The Beauty Buddy was established at the end of 2017 and its free to download app is currently in beta testing with 200 users in Ireland and the United Kingdom. So far, details of roughly 14,000 products have been manually uploaded, but the intention is to move to less painstaking inputting as the app develops. “Version two is already being developed on the back of the feedback we’ve had so far and we plan to launch officially in January 2019. We’re very keen to recruit more users to download the app, use it, find any flaws and provide us with feedback,” Slattery says.  

Unsuitable products

The sisters say that most women gather information about the products they choose from multiple sources including websites, Instagram, magazines and YouTube. What really annoys them is being brought directly to an e-commerce site when all they want is more information about a product.

“The Beauty Buddy saves them time, gives them access to reviews created by their peers and has the potential to save them money as it makes it less likely that they will buy unsuitable products,” Slattery says. “The app will also enhance the buying experience as we are inviting the brands and retailers to provide samples, discounts and top-rated tutorials to our users. Our aim is to include all products, including natural skincare and those not sold online, from global makers.”

Investment in the business to date has been about €70,000 with support from Enterprise Ireland and the NDRC. A big chunk of the money has gone on (outsourced) software development. The company is based at The Portershed accelerator in Galway and is currently looking to raise €650,000. This will allow the sisters to beef up the sales and marketing teams, recruit an in-house developer and roll the app out internationally.

The Beauty Buddy, which currently employs three, will make its money from three revenue streams. It will sell insights into consumer and product trends and behaviours to the beauty brands and it will earn commission from connecting users to specific products and when a user buys a product from a designated retailer.

“Larger brands generally have their own apps but our research showed consumers don’t really trust them. Also, with an average of 28 products in their make-up bags the consumers we’re targeting don’t want an app for every brand, they want one app for all brands,” Slattery says. “Our app allows users to create their own wish list and beauty bag and will be personalised. If you’re blonde with blue eyes you’ll get information about the colours that will suit you.”

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