Ghaida AlKandri & Lulwa Al-Mulla Co-Founders of Salony

Ghaida AlKandri & Lulwa Al-Mulla Co-Founders of Salony
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How one beautiful idea became a stunning success.

Introducing Salony, the app designed to remove the stress from your beauty salon experience.

1.How and when did the idea of ‘Salony’ app come up?

It all happened in the summer of 2015. I needed a mani and pedi and was trying to call my salon but no-one picked up the phone. I went to them and found out that the salon was closed for renovation. Since I have been a customer of the salon for a long time, I didn’t have a second choice. I went back home surfing the net for some beauty products when suddenly it clicked. Why don’t we have a mobile app which has a beauty service provider in one place? I immediately discussed it with my husband and he liked the idea. We spent the next month doing extensive research and decided to go ahead with it. The biggest challenge at the beginning was to form the team. I wanted someone passionate with commitment and no-one fit better than my childhood friend Ghaidaa. I pitched the idea to her and she was excited. That was the day we started working on Salony.

2.When was the app officially launched and what has been the feedback?
We official launched in March 2016. As with all new products, we had to work hard to show the people the benefits of using our app over just calling the salon. Over time, we started getting more users and feedback and we kept improving our app. I believe that early adopters were excited about it and now we are at a phase where we hope to get the mainstream users to use it. Nowadays, I often hear ‘you made our life easier’ which was exactly our mission.

3.Who is your ideal customer?
We think of ourselves as more than just an app. The app is just the beginning. Our vision is to become the platform for women’s beauty. Think, Vogue meets Expedia. Women would come to our platform, either the app or on, to read about the latest trends and the hottest new hair treatment or make-up style. If you find something you’d like to try, you would be able to book that same trendy hair treatment in a salon near you.

On the other hand, we are also a marketing and a customer relationship management platform. We empower salons to make it easier to connect with their customers to better manage their offerings and reach new customers.

For example, if you are mother starved for time and can’t leave your house, then all you have to do is browse Salony App and search for the service you want. You will find all the salons that offer home service to your house.

Another example is, if you are looking for new salons to try, then you can browse through 80+ salons and see their services, prices and customer reviews.

4.Tell us about some of the features of the app?
Our app is really centered around the beauty experience. The user journey starts with selecting the category of the service that you want: hair cut, nails, massage, etc. After choosing the category, you can select one of our 80+ salons, home service, make-up artist and clinics across Kuwait. Once you see a service provider that looks interesting, you can view their profile and see services, prices, customer reviews and much more. Once you settle on the services that you want you can book and pay seamlessly through the app in real time. Your appointment will be confirmed on the spot.

5.How many downloads do you have for the app so far and how many clients have signed up?
We have more 40,000 downloads and more than 10,000 signed up users.

6.Does the app cater to only women or does it include men’s salons too?
We are deliberately focusing on women. The way women use salons is fundamentally different from men. This allows us to tailor our app around the woman’s experience.

There is nothing, however, that stops men from buying gifts for their loved ones.

7.Any special features that set the app apart from the rest?
We are obsessed with ease of use and speed. We are hard at work making the booking experience easier and faster as well as reducing loading times. Our strategy is to keep the number of steps to the absolute minimum. With our app, you can move from the first screen to the final confirmation in a few seconds.

8.What difficulties did you face in finding the right developer for your app?
When we started the app, we were two people with a vision. No developers, no UX/UI designers and no way to build the product. At the beginning, we relied heavily on freelancers, but we quickly came to the realization that we need to have our own team committed to realizing the vision of Salony. We recruited developers who work remotely on our app and they are now full-fledged members of the Salony team. The process starts with an idea from me or Ghayda, then this idea is turned into screen mockups by our UI/UX designer and finally into a working product by our frontend and backend developers.

9.What are some of your future plans? Any plans for expansion in the GCC region?
We have built a great platform that can be easily deployed in all other geographies. After Kuwait, we plan on moving to UAE and the rest of GCC. After that, there is nothing to stop us from going beyond.

10.What has been your biggest achievement so far?
We believe that an achievement is an amalgamation of small milestones. Since launching the app in March 2016, we have made progress one step at a time.

When we launched the app, that was our biggest achievement. Then we signed up our first salon. Then we got our first paying customers. Then we hit 5,000 users, then 10,000.

We believe that our achievement is the perseverance in pursuing our vision and investing significant time, energy (not to mention our money) into this vision.

11.Your message for us at CP magazine:
Many thanks for this great opportunity and for supporting the aspiring entrepreneurs of Kuwait.

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