(Disponible en Français) Lookdiary shakes up the Hong-Kong universe of the beauty services. The company, established by Simon Gomez de Kset in 2015, is not only a fashionable online platform of referencing. What the loyal users of the beauty care booking interface (https: // lookdiary.com.hk / beauty/) see – an easy access to spa and beauty salons, to hair stylists, etc. – is just the tip of the iceberg. Lookdiary is also a sophisticated marketing and operational management tool for its partners, the beauty salons of Hong-Kong. As its name suggests, the start-up meets the needs for modernity of two kinds of services very popular at the Fragrant Harbour, the beauty and the operational optimization: « Lookdiary consists of the two words, « look », referring to the beauty, and « diary », for the management of the day-to-day work, » reveals Simon Gomez de Kset. This innovative positioning explains why the entrepreneur has granted from the start a large part of his resources to the development of the integrated software he offers to his partners, the beauty salons. Dedicated to the sales and operational management, this tool has to “stick to our partners’ specific issues, to be tailored to their size (number of available rooms, type of machines there), to their way of managing staff, etc. I designed it in order to avoid as much as possible the operational problems,” comments Simon Gomez de Kset with wisdom.
An experimented pioneer
The founder of Lookdiary is only 34 years old. However, he has already acquired a remarkable experience in the field in which he evolves and has learned a lot from it. To begin with, he worked in the finance sector between 2007 and 2009 (at BNP Paribas Investment Partners for an alternative fund invested in convertible bonds, then, at Edmond de Rothschild at a fixed income desk). It was just afterwards that he discovered the new technologies’ world, within the incubator Rocket Internet. In that context, he worked for the German company CityDeal, the pioneer of the online coupons in Europe, acquired by the American group, Groupon, from June, 2010. Until 2012, Simon Gomez de Kset, based in Paris, was in charge of building the account management department in France. At that time, the growth of the startup was lightning: « At the very start of 2010, income grew from 300 to 400 % a month, and the size of the team was following this trend. Our investments were exuberant. One euro profit was one euro spent,” he remembers. Then, the time to restructure came. In September, 2012, the executive has moved to Berlin, appointed head of account management EMEA (about 20 countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa) of Groupon. His mission there, rationalizing the impetuous development of the last years, standardizing the multiple operational practices, measuring the performance of the diverse operation centers, adapting the size of the teams to the income consistency. « Between 2010 and 2012, the Paris-based account management department had grown from 2 to 30 employees, to go down again to 5 people » he indicates.
The winning combination
What lessons from this adventure at Groupon, that lasted until 2014? « It is essential to learn not to grow up too fast. It is necessary to put rhythm into the deployment of activities and into the investments which accompanies them, while designing a modus operandi dedicated to the operational simplicity, » insists Simon Gomez de Kset. However, more than ever enthusiast, the entrepreneur adds: « During that period, I could discover the beauty market, one of the most important sectors targeted by Groupon. I also saw that it is possible to build oneself a whole ecosystem by starting from scratch. I learnt to rebound, to imagine and to set up solutions so that the mechanics never stop working. » Lookdiary is inspired by the maturation of this intense experience, characterized by the quest of the most constructive partner and customer relationship. « In order to create a community of partners and of committed users of the platform, it is better to adopt a service-focused approach rather than a pure transaction bias, » notices Simon Gomez de Kset. The implementation of this strategy at the heart of Lookdiary plays a great part in its first successes. Launched last September, 2016, the platform of referencing counts already 200 Hong Kong beauty salons as partners, « able to bring 30 000 customers a month, » specifies the founder of the start-up. The circle of the regular customers does not stop expanding. For the moment, it is composed essentially of women, and about half of them are foreign residents.
A man of action
As for the company incomes, they come from the fees charged for the esthetic services given by the beauty salons. Another source of turnover could be the sale of additional modules of the integrated software, which is now provided free of charge to the Lookdiary partners. « Now that the foundations of our ecosystem are anchored, thanks to a substantial customer and partner basis, we are ready for the second stage of our development. This turning point will be characterized by an acceleration of our marketing investments, » says the founder. In order to finance this next stage, the company is starting an investment round, hoping to raise half a million US dollars approximately. These additional funds will support two ambitions, strengthening the outside visibility and reaching the breakeven point more quickly. One has to note that Simon Gomez de Kset is not a man who wastes his time. Being a man of action is a quality, “an attribute that we have to enhance when we are an entrepreneur. We constantly have to take initiative, while working on several alternatives simultaneously. We should not lock ourselves into a theoretical roadmap, at the risk of missing some great opportunities,” shares the Lookdiary founder: An extremely good advice to those who are living in the Fragrant Harbour, vibrating day and night, born with a sixth sense, that of business.
Simon Gomez de Kset, founder of Lookdiary