Kirti Mehrotra is the Founder & CEO of Quickslick, a San Jose based company that connects customers and beauty service providers through an app-based marketplace.
Tell us about your company. What inspired you to start it?
Being a busy professional and a mom, it was hard for me to pre-book beauty service appointments. I always struggled to find one for my hair color or facial at my convenient time, without having to rush kids to their activity class or gobbling a meal, or without having to pay a penalty or make half a dozen of calls to salons to check their availability, or just having to wait when I walked in to try my luck. This problem inspired me to think that there has to be a better way to do this. When I spoke to my friends & co-workers I discovered that appointment slot negotiation & rushing in to make it for an appointment is kind of a norm for everyone. Hence Quickslick was born, which shows available salons when & where you need it, so you don’t have to rush. With trust-building ratings, review & cashless transactions, we also help salons save time & cost by reducing no-shows and cancellations & provide an opportunity to engage with their customers more meaningfully.
Who are your cofounders and what makes you a great team?
We have rock-star founding team members who believe in the vision of making beauty accessible to everyone no matter where and when. We have great industry understanding from our research work and are experienced at building marketplace startups which have had great exits in the past. We have several decades of combined experience in business management, coding, UX/UI design, marketing and HR. We’ve known each other for more than 5 years through common friends and work well together as a team. We all are fast learners.
How is your company making a difference?
We are making a difference by saving time and available resources for customers to make an informed decision. For small and medium-sized salons and barbershops (which form 95% of the total fragmented market), we provide a platform to advertise their business for free, saving them the huge marketing cost of advertising on other platforms. They don’t have to pay a recurring fee for getting or retaining clients on our platform, which is a tremendous advantage for them.
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
There were and are a lot of challenges in building a two-sided marketplace. Making service providers understand the new technology is one since there hasn’t been a free platform until now in the beauty services industry. A lot of processes are very manual. Educating salons owners about something new that’s been created to help them improve their efficiency sometimes becomes tough, since it involves changing a mindset. Interestingly it’s rewarding to see them get enlightened at the end when they actually understand the product.
What is your biggest win?
Bringing my idea to a live product and hearing partners and customers rave about it.
Who is your role model?
My parents are my role model. They have taught me the basics of entrepreneurship by running their self-made business successfully. I believe I’ve got their patience and perseverance.
What do you wish you had known before starting your company?
There is a lot that goes into starting a company: everything from technology, consumer experience, legal, consumer behavior, marketing and sales. Each day is a new learning experience. There is absolutely no way I would have known everything before I actually started the company. Hence my team consists of folks with great skills that compliment each other. The beauty is also that passion to make a difference makes that learning and working together enjoyable.