Founded in 2018 by sisters April and Nikki Dominguez, Handsome is a free career and education app specific for the beauty industry. The app provides free tools for all beauty trades (barbers, hairdressers, educators, nail techs, make-up artists, salon owners, massage therapists) to build a professional portfolio that showcases: education, work experience, industry specific technical and professional skills, product knowledge, peer to peer recognition, and a gallery of work.
On the tool side, the app allows beauty pros to post raw questions specific to the industry, find answers and career advice, find and save education to their Library of Education, and post and apply to jobs.
Here, April and Nikki Dominguez answer questions about the Handsome App:
When did you launch the App?
Handsome launched Version 1 in February of 2019 on iOS, in the first 3 months we had 25% of the NYC cosmetologist population sign up. In December 2019 we launched Version 2, with a focus on community and peer to peer knowledge sharing. Since launch of V2, we have grown our monthly active users by 850%.
What do you feel you improved on when it comes to the job search process?
Two main things: visibility for both sides of the industry and a major enhancement on technology support tools for the industry. I’ll get into the importance of each below.
First, no professional should be forced to use Craigslist (a used home goods site) or Instagram (a social media platform) to find jobs and build their careers. These sites are unsafe and unprofessional. In addition, jobs focused sites like Indeed do not offer key insights important to beauty professionals, whether it’s during the search or the hire process. We are a visual industry. What matters to us is: the way a salon looks, the layout, the products and color they carry, where it’s located, the staff and the culture in a salon all play a role in our decision making process. On the flip side, for a salon or shop owner, we want to see someone’s skill set, product knowledge, education, experience, social handles, a gallery of work, endorsements and peer recognition. And, we are professionals living in a technology literate generation – we want to be able to quickly post a job in 6 clicks and apply to a position in 1.
Second, there is low visibility into career opportunities in the industry. It’s so fragmented, salons are wasting time and money searching everywhere. The application and interview process was archaic and dated. Meanwhile stylists had zero tools to build a digital resume to showcase their skills in a professional way. Stylists needed an ability to vet salons on culture so they can make a better career decision, and salons need visibility into a stylists full career.With 1.4M salons in the US and millions of hairdressers and barbers, there should be a trusted central industry tool for career growth.
How will COVID-19 affect salon staffing going forward, do you think?
Hiring and job searching was already changing in the industry and COVID-19 accelerated those changes. In today’s climate, walking into a shop for multiple interviews is not an option. Having very clear insights about each other prior to conversations is a necessity. This has gravely impacted these businesses and the livelihood of millions. With nearly 40 million Americans unemployed (and that number is expected to grow), trade workers need digital tools more than ever to get their industries back to work. Top stylists are left without jobs because of salon shut down, creating a massive candidate pool. Salons need efficient and industry specific tools to help them find the right addition to their team to service the backlog of clients that have been sheltering in place for months. Stylists need these tools to help them get back to work quickly.
The more adaptable we are in this environment with tools that can support us, the more impact we will have on those hit hardest by COVID. For decades, hairstylists have been expected to mold to Corporate America’s way of hiring and job searching. Handsome is giving them a tool that’s built just for them.
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