Nica Richards

By Nica Richards


Instaglam brings beauty pros right to your door

Fancy a beauty treatment without leaving your house? There's an app for that!

A new platform looks set to disrupt South Africa’s beauty industry. The name of this ‘Uber-like’ service is Instaglam, also known as IGX, and like most apps, it can be downloaded to your smart device or PC. Open up the app and you’ll be able to bring hairdressers, nail technicians, massage therapists and make-up artists right to your doorstep.

If this seems too good to be to be true, allow the creators, Natasha Summers and Chris Fisher, to guide you through the next step in how this actually works.

“Instaglam is a tool for industry professionals to get more customers,” explains Summers. The idea behind it is to have on-demand service by a professional to bring your beauty needs to you. Basically, a win-win situation for anyone who doesn’t feel like getting out of their PJs to get their hair or nails done.

With all the current delivery services we make use of, Instaglam is not so much of a stretch as it would have been four years ago, when Summers and Fisher first had the idea for it.

“Everybody saw the potential, but everybody wanted to know for sure that it would work. And four years ago, this sounded good but a bit dodgy,” Fisher said.

“We’re hairdressers that saw a gap in the industry and then had to literally swap our scissors and break down walls to enter this new tech, entrepreneurial world – and we knew nothing about technology or business,” they said.

Fisher and Summers currently own Share hair salon in Blairgowrie, but couldn’t ignore the idea that began morphing into what would be a significant step in a relatively untapped part of the beauty industry – the on-demand market. It took four years for the app to finally launch in May, and the duo are more motivated than ever.

So, how does it work?

If you are a customer, you download the app onto your phone, or whatever electronic device you choose. After doing a bit of admin, you will get to choose between hairstylists, nail technicians, make-up artists and massage therapists, all willing to come to your door to render their services.

Once you choose a service, simply book a call-out date and time. A service professional that is available responds, but specific professionals that are registered on IGX can be requested.

Industry professionals have a bit more admin to do. They need to register, either as a company or an individual, that is fully qualified. After this, a monthly fee of R500 is requested, which includes Fisher, Summers, and marketing guru Ursula Brett doing all marketing, social media and training seminars to use the app. After this, the more callouts you respond to, the more money you make.

Salons have enlisted the IGX app to make extra cash, and freelance professionals have allowed the app to become a mobile salon. In terms of employment opportunities, it is a welcome relief. For professionals looking to embrace the on-demand market full-time, it also means no more expensive rental rates.

It benefits both customers and professionals, and even considers a service that many may not consider. IGX is not just for time-strapped individuals, but for those who can’t move around or get to a salon. Fisher and Summer have had clients request that they visit sick relatives in hospital, for them to get their hair washed and pampered.

The cosmetics industry of South Africa grew 4.6% last year, and is estimated to be valued at R27.35 billion, according to a report published in December. The formal cosmetics sector consists of approximately 250 companies that employ more than 60 000 people. Considering a decent compound annual growth of the industry, IGX’s future looks bright.

IGX caters to everything, from matric dance to baby showers, Fathers Day treats and office massages.

What does the future of IGX hold?

Fisher and Summers explain that eventually, professionals that reside in certain areas may be able to exclusively service these communities. This will help with the stylist’s travel costs.

Networking events and official training seminars are also on the cards.

They also plan to have a ‘Medi-glam’ section, where a stylist would be trained to be able to wash the hair of hospital patients suffering from different ailments. “It makes your hospital stay more dignified”, they explain.

Right now, they are only based in Gauteng, but plan to expand the app to accommodate stylists from across the country, and eventually the world.

“The next phase is daunting, but somewhat easier, because we’ve already had everything thrown our way, and we’ve come out stronger,” they enthused.

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