Meet the Chicago Entrepreneur Behind The Beauty App, LISA

There’s a lot that goes into getting ready for an event. And by event, I mean there’s a lot that goes into getting ready for a week. Is your hair done? Did your gel manicure start to peel?

The more that I attend parties and grow in my marketing and blogging career, the more I realize that it takes makeup and maybe a straightener to get good photos – not just Snapchat filters. And most of all, putting on your best face and looking good not only presents a better image for you and your brand, it also makes you feel more confident.

One platform that is here to help is the LISA App, the first open marketplace mobile application that connects clients to artists in the beauty industry by allowing them to schedule high-quality personal services whenever and wherever they want them, at a price that suits their budget. I had heard of the LISA App from The Tape Play’s launch party and from Chicagogrammers first birthday party and then at the Chicago Yelp Drink and Learn event at Workspring. 

After meeting some of their stylists and having my own hair and makeup done by some of the beauticians through the LISA App, I reached out to the founder, Lisa Nation to learn what inspired her to start this beauty on demand business, the apps that help her streamline her business and some of her secrets to B2B (business to business) success.

How did you get the idea for your business?

It was my husband’s idea, he had that ah ha moment driving to work one day. I’ve been a licensed hairstylist for over 23 years but for the past 17 years I have worked independently due to the commission split salons take from each service provided. When he explained his early concept, I jumped in head first and started to build out the infrastructure from the Artist’s perspective.

How long did you sit on the idea before taking steps to make it a reality?

September 24th, 2014 was when we hashed out the primitive idea, three days later he quit his job and we were off to the races.  We raised our first $100,000 in 2 days with just the concept of LISA, although the app was nameless at the time.

What were some of the steps that you took to create your business? Did you survey people? Did you seek out investors? Did you start solo?

Neither us knew one bit how to build an app, but, we are both resourceful. We strategically put the right people together and started whiteboarding. Once we felt we were in a good spot we held an investor presentation for 60 potential investors. We raised 1mm within 24 hours.

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Lisa Nation, Founder of The Lisa App.

How did you attracts stylists and beauticians?

At LISA we believe that anyone who can use scissors, a brush, chemicals or nimble fingers and make someone look and feel good deserves to be coined an Artist.

How do you build a platform for a community that doesn’t even realize a disruption is needed?

You have to listen to the people who live it everyday, what are their struggles, what would they like to see changed. That’s why LISA is a company that was built by the Artists for the Artists.

Before we began development, we invited 30 Artists to a summer camp in Florida. For 5 days 30 strangers came together to tell us what they would need if an app were built for them. We listened! You cannot build something if the people who are going to use it do not believe in it.

Can you tell me more about your business and the services you offer?

LISA is the first ever, true, open marketplace in the beauty industry that connects consumers and Artists in real time. LISA’s #1 focus is the B2B marketplace. LISA helps over 100 corporations supply beauty and wellness perks to their hardworking employees. LISA has designed software to assist these corporations to make it user-friendly for not only the back office (HR, Benefit Directors) but also for the employees to easily book in office services via the app. As we continue to grow our B2B efforts we will slowly start to promote the B2C marketplace in order for the employees to bring these services home with them.

Where’s your favorite part of getting ready for an event – makeup/hair/nails?

That’s a tough question to answer, I spend so much time making other people look and feel good, I rarely take the time or enjoy getting myself ready. If I had to choose, it would be hair.

What’s the hardest part of owning your own business?

Accountability. No one cares more about your business than you.

How do you distinguish yourself from competitors?

The goal is not to be first and best, the goal is to be early and better. We studied all of our competition and simply did it better. We learned from their mistakes and created features that they did not have, ie; open-marketplace, B2B strategy and all around Artist functionality.

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Do you use any apps to manage your business? If so, what are your favorites?

MailChimp, I use it to view report. Grammarly. Email tracker pro (I’m always watching to see who has opened my emails), Trello; this is how our team shares updates and stay organized and Zapier, I get a notification every time a consumer requests an Artist for a service.

What, do you find, is the hardest part of starting a business?

Prioritizing. Staying with your mission. There is such a temptation to sway from your original concept. DON’T. It will cause you to lose focus.

How do you network as an entrepreneur? Do you use LinkedIn? Do you send emails? Do you go to events?

It’s all about networking. I have joined many groups that inspire me and help me grow as an entrepreneur. I go to and participate in as many events as I possibly can. (get some networking tips here)

Sometimes I’m so tired, I don’t want to go, but I know I have to because it takes only one person and a 3-minute conversation to open a new door for you and you never know who that may be.

Since we are heavily focused on B2B, I’m on LinkedIn more than I am on FB or Instagram. LinkedIn is a terrific resource to learn about companies and the people who work there. Most of my business is email. One thing I have learned through this process is though is to avoid emailing Monday’s and Friday’s.

Windy City Cosmo experienced this first hand and was part of the LISA app’s promo video with Tape Play. (see video below).

Friday LISA Magic ✨ cc/ @tapeplayusa @sleektoperfection @magie.marie

A post shared by LISA (@thelisaapp) on

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Dior Makeovers and Blowouts at Chicago History Museum and Waldorf Astoria

What’s a girl’s night look like? Well, it has martinis, makeup,  lots and lots of braiding, and then an opportunity to look at pretty dresses and take selfies. Dior and Medici Museums delivered for us Chicago city girls this past Tuesday, August 15, 2017.

There wasn’t wardrobe changes, but there were location changes. This two-part event began  at the Chicago History Museum (5:30-7pm), where the city’s top fashion bloggers – Hasty Book ListThe Petite DiariesStile.Foto.Cibo., and The Color Palette included lead scavenger hunts of Mainbocher, “America’s First Couturier,” a twentieth-century tastemaker who dressed royalty and celebrities, inspired Dior’s “new look”—and put the chic in Chicago.

“Showcasing a Chicago designer who was so influential to fashion as a whole was a great way to get to know other Chicago fashion bloggers and enjoy a Ketel One cocktail,” said Chicago blogger, Danni Levine-Moore of Stile.Foto.Cibo.

If you don’t know, now you know that he made the strapless dress you’re favorite staple. You can learn all about his fascinating life, view his designs and even design your own dress (on a mannequin) in under 5 minutes at the  Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier exhibit, which will be on display at the Chicago History Museum until August 20, 2017.

After filling out a scavenger hunt card, designing our own dress, and making new friends, we were ready for a location change. A mile away, this Chicago girl’s night took us to the Waldorf Astoria where delicious Ketel One martinis and vodka lemonades were waiting for us along with, because the event was so well spaced out, felt like our own Dior make-up artist and hair stylist.

We mingled at Waldorf Astoria’s new concept Petit Margeaux, the brainchild of celebrity chef Michael Mina. This fashion-forward hotel, with its Dior-inspired tiled lobby floor and Chanel-influenced chandeliers, was the perfect backdrop for our selfie’s.

After the all-inclusive evening, we made a few friends and stopped over for (thin crust) pizza across the street. Not bad for a Tuesday night.

 

 

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Move Over Vanilla: You Can Now Literally Smell Like Mimosas

Nothing gets you out of bed quite like Sunday brunch. I’m pretty sure that was the logic behind the latest trend – turning brunch into a fragrance. I know – there’s a line of brunch scented deodorants that launched this summer.  But it just might be the best smelling deodorant.

We’re not talking about avocado toast scents; we’re talking the best part of breakfast, and that is brunch cocktails. Yes, I thought smelling like alcohol was a bad thing, but now it seems that people are lining up and trading lavender or cucumber scents for mimosa antiperspirant.

And because it’s trendy yet could be categorized as hipster, this new brunch scented line of deodorant from Native, is also all natural and aluminum-free.

Using essential oils, Native creates what might be the best smelling deodorant – boozy scents which include the ever so popular, Rosé,  along with the standard Mimosa, and more of a later brunch crowd favorite, Sangria.

So, now whether you can afford a $50 brunch at SoHo House or the cinnamon rolls at Ann Sather’s, you can always make it smell like your favorite part of the week. With a slogan like “Invest in Yourself” maybe it’s better to do that than invest in another cocktail when you’re still working on your summer body goals. 

Bottoms up, or should I say arms?

 

 

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Meet the Business Woman Behind Chicago-Based BellaRosa

Meet the business woman, Jasmene Bowdry,  behind the chic, fashion store, BellaRosa.  

This Chicago-based shop was created with one goal in mind – to provide that extra boost of confidence, like knowing how to dress for your body type, every woman needs to step out into the world, no matter her personal style. Bowdry got her start in New York City where she was a successful retail buyer and fashion stylist with over 10 years of experience in the fashion industry.  As a buyer, she advises on current market trends and purchases relevant brand lines for Fortune 500 companies such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., Sears, and more. Bowdry’s fashion expertise also extends beyond the boardroom as she has styled top celebrities, with her work appearing in magazines VIBE, People, XXL and Forbes.

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Windy City Cosmo sat down with Bowdry at a pop-up event, Summer Time Fab – Fitness, Fashion & Beauty at Coalition Impact to learn more about her style and her success in the fashion world.

How did you learn about styling? Was there someone’s style you appreciated? 

Bowdry: By living in New York City and constantly being around and working in fashion. When you live in the fashion capital there’s always work, so you hear about different opportunities by remaining in the know of who’s who.

How did you build up your clients and following?

Bowdry: Most of the site traffic is driven by Instagram and Facebook. However being able to allow customers to see, touch and feel the clothing is important so I try to vend at popular events that fit my target audience.

Your site is for trendsetters – how does one start a trend?

Bowdry: A majority of trends come from the runway and then trickle down to the masses. But it’s really more about your confidence and you rock that trend. And you do that by being true to you. Rhianna started a trend by wearing exposed bobby pins to the AMAs. But that style isn’t new, ask any girl that lives in New York City about a doobie wrap, been doing it for decades. However, Rhianna took something and made it her own.

What’s been the best part of running your own business? What’s been the worst?

Bowdry: The best part of running your own business is seeing the vision you imagined actually come to life. There’s no worst. It all is a part the process. I look at every experience as a learning opportunity.

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How Comfortable are Chicago Women with Their Bodies?

Want to be a model? Now’s your chance – well, Saturday, May 20, 2017, from 1-2 pm at 343 W. Erie (3rd Floor) is your chance.

You don’t have to lift weights or go on a juice cleanse this week to be part of this Chicago photo shoot.

You simply have to be comfortable in your own skin.

Did I lose you? (no this isn’t a nude photo shoot, it’s a body positivity photo shoot.)

I know that can be hard to do when everyone’s still working on their summer bodies, but one Chicago blogger has confidence in you, and you should, too.

“Publicly posting photos of your body as a plus size woman, or a woman who has cellulite, or a woman with stretch marks, or any of a number of perceived “flaws” is considered incredibly brave. But, it shouldn’t be,” according to Dāsha Guyton, an award-winning Lifestyle Blogger for Windy City Wardrobe, Wardrobe Stylist, and Self-Love Advocate based in Hyde Park.

Chicago is helping women embrace their bodies (apple, pear, or otherwise), this Saturday, May 20, 2017, for a special body positivity photo shoot.

You are not a Pair of Jeans:

“As long as you chase after current beauty standards you’ll never feel beautiful,”  Guyton shares with Windy City Cosmo, “Body shapes go in and out of style just as quick as fashion trends, but you are not a pair of jeans, you are a person and you’ve only got one body, so choose to love the once you’re in.”

Guyton has been inspiring women to embrace who they are through her blog posts and her services. This body positivity movement started when she wrote 11 Body Positive Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following and these Instagram posts here , here and here.

“This caught the attention of Chicago Woman Magazine, and I was asked to start a monthly column about body positivity,” Guyton shares.

I'm 5'6, I weigh 250lbs and in the past 12 months I only caught a cold once. My doctor did a full physical and gave me a clean bill of health. I just wanted you all to know healthy comes in many shapes and sizes. #FeelingMyself #BodyDiversity 👊 . . . . 📸by @deependreview #biracialbeauty #30plusstyle #bodypositive #fatgirlsbewinning #tcfstyle #goldenconfidence #boldncurvy #curvyncurly #psfashion #plussizefitness #wearwhatyoulove #styleinfluencer #femmeofcolorvisibility #browngirlswhoblog #chicagoinfluencer #wearwhatyouwant #realoutfitgram #blacklesbians #bopowarrior #allbodiesaregoodbodies #stylecollective #bodyacceptance #hydeparkchicago #fashionforall #stylecollectivesisters #afrolatina #styleblog #lovemyshape

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Does your body image affect your sex life?

As part of Windy City Wardrobe’s body positivity movement, Guyton is hosting a photo shoot for Chicago women. This photoshoot will help gather information about Chicago woman’s views on their body via this body image survey, which includes questions where you have to be honest with yourself. Who do you think influences your views on your body? Does your body image affect your sex life?

The photos and information gathered from this survey will be used to promote body positivity.

Participate in The Body Positivity Photo Shoot May 20th:

To sign-up for this Chicago body positivity photo shoot, please use this Facebook event link.  All of the details about this private indoor studio photoshoot and what to bring are included in the description. Each participant will be required to sign a release so that photos can be used on Windy City Wardrobe and in Guyton’s monthly column for Chicago Woman Magazine.

Look for the hashtag #EmbracingMyBody on Instagram and Twitter to see the photos from this shoot.

I’ll leave you with this thought from Guyton, “When it comes to body image initially a lot of people say they’re in, only to only chicken out at the last minute. So there could be anywhere from 3 to 33 participants.”

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