Blow Ltd eyes expansion with £2m fundraiser
Beauty bookings business Blow Ltd has said it will expand its UK business and consider its first international launch as it aims to raise as much as £2 million.
The company’s app allows customers to book at-home services from vetted freelance professionals, while its beauty bars in London, Manchester and Birmingham offer fast hair and makeup treatments.
Three years after its first equity crowdfunding round, the brand is returning to platform Seedrs to raise between £1 million and £2 million which will help add more professionals to the app in its three core cities. The round opens to the public on Monday.
Unilever Ventures, the venture capital arm of consumer goods giant Unilever which previously backed the company in 2016, has already invested in the round, while customers of the app have been invited to pre-register for investment.
Chief executive Joanne Thompson said the funds would also allow the company to consider launching in an international market, though the location has yet to be decided.
Other opportunities include using data collected by its professionals to personalise recommendations to customers.
“The consumer is no longer interested in just a moisturiser, they’re interested in the moisturiser that is for them and meets all their needs,” she said.
“We believe that going forward, more and more people want something just for them. We use data to allow us to do that.”
Another area of growth will be adding new treatments and selling them in “bundle” packages of multiple services in one booking.
“Three years ago, we were heavily focused on blow dry and makeup but now we have 10 different categories,” she said.
“We recently started to look at multi-service packages, because the trend of convenience that we see across food and transport these days we also see in beauty.”
New data gathered from the platform which was released on Monday showed that half of booked services fall outside of normal salon operating hours, which the company said showed traditional operators are struggling to keep up with on-demand rivals.
Thompson said that Blow’s five beauty bars are still important for the brand’s profile, but that there are currently no plans to open further locations.
She added that the three salons located in Debenhams stores have not seen any decline in business, despite the department store’s pre-pack administration earlier this year.
Over the last three years, Blow’s Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), an online measure of total sales value, has grown by 300%.
Stephen Willson, investment director at Unilever Ventures, said: “Blow Ltd is re-inventing the way consumers and beauty professionals connect with one another.
“Powered by rich data and spanning multiple service and product offerings, we believe Blow Ltd is ideally positioned to continue leading the exciting shake-up of the multi-billion-pound beauty services industry into the digital age.”