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.
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.
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).