Black women who are looking for top-of-the-line hairstylists can turn to Swivel Beauty, a digital marketplace catering to textured hair.
Former magazine editor turned entrepreneur Jihan Thompson, created the platform to address a universal struggle among Black women to find reputable haircare services.
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“I spent about ten years being an editor of women’s lifestyle magazines, including places like Glamour, Marie Claire, Oprah Magazine,” she told AfroTech.
She continued, “What I’ve found is that there hasn’t been the same advancement that we’d like to see on the services side of things. Services has been fairly fragmented and I think stagnant in the way that Black women go about finding a stylist.”
Thompson desired for women of color to find a seamless beauty experience that other demographics seemed to enjoy regularly. She even quit her job to fulfill it.
“I realized that this wasn’t just a problem I had. It’s endemic,” Thompson expressed.
The platform has scaled over the years to match consumer interest, expanding its reach first in Washington D.C. and Chicago, IL.
Initially, the company solely served New York City and was only available on Apple devices. In the wake of COVID-19, the beauty marketplace transitioned to a web-based platform accessible on any computer, tablet, and smartphone. There are now thousands of stylists across 19 states on Swivel Beauty’s platform (as of this writing).
By paying a $25 monthly subscription, hairstylists can tap into a wider network of clients as well as have their products amplified by Swivel Beauty.
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Thompson wants to see stylists reach their full potential by providing support even beyond the platform through press and branding opportunities.
“We want stylists to succeed,” Thompson said. “We want to help them grow and scale their business, to reach whatever ambitions they have both behind the chair and otherwise.”
As for users — they can book their ideal stylists with greater ease. The process has also been simplified due to new Application Programming Interface (API) integrations with Square Appointments and Squarespace Scheduling.
Additionally, clients can access a stylist’s portfolio prior to booking so they can gauge the quality of their work, as well as reviews and ratings from other clients.
“What we’ve done is really try to create a profile that feels like a digital storefront for these stylists so that you can connect to their schedule, read reviews, visit their Instagram, and see pictures of their work. So, it feels like this goal of being this one-stop destination where you can do all of your vetting to feel confident in booking this stylist based on everything you’re reading and seeing,” she explained.
The perks of Swivel Beauty being a platform for Black women led by a Black woman also means you should expect greater intentionality behind the thoughtfulness of the app’s features.
For example, Thompson kept different hair textures in mind for clients looking to write a review. Swivel Beauty will first request the users’ hair type, the service booked, along with additional insights centered around satisfaction and wait times.
She added: “Understand who’s writing the review, especially when it comes to care. We know how important that is and it’s not just going to boil down to one five-star rating. We take all of that into account, which I think speaks to the fact that this platform was created by Black women, because we know the questions we would ask a friend or a person if we were going to get our hair done. Those are the things that we’ve been really thoughtful about implementing with Swivel, because we want this to be a superior experience for Black women.”