Making video calls to make skin care more accessible

Baalm founders Lanya Olmsted and Mandi Nyambi want to help people through their skincare trips. However, this year, they were on their own journey and led their company's evolution from a newsletter to a membership-based community of skincare enthusiasts.

Nyambi says today, Baalm is all about bringing "the healing and care and serenity" to the beauty landscape – an area that is increasingly full of expensive products and conflicting advice.

With that in mind, the startup recently introduced a feature that allows anyone to connect with an experienced aestheticist for a video consultation. (The team is looking at and bringing in more of these experts.) The & # 39; skin exercise & # 39; sessions range from 15 to 30 minutes, with two levels exclusively for members and one – & # 39; 20-minute, $ 20 intro consultation – available to non-members.

The importance of the latter option became clear in a mentoring meeting conducted by Land Rover and The wing. The founders spoke to Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder and CEO of English pipeline, & # 39; a network of women and non-binary femme angel investors, who advised them to find a way to engage people who may be curious about Baalm and give them an idea of what the membership offers.

At the time of them initial conversation with Oberti Noguera this summer, the founders were in the midst of a disaster major rebrand, which includes the name of the business (before Baalm, it was Le CultureClub) and shifted its focus from the latest products and beauty trends to a more personalized, holistic approach to skincare.

Initially, they say, their instinct was to choose a descriptive name for the brand, but Oberti Noguera suggested that they should rather try to get an emotion or feeling. "We had all these brainstorming sessions and then finally came to this (sense of) tranquility," says Olmsted. & # 39; It was really & # 39; great advice (which she gave us) because it helped us find out, ok, that's who we are at our core & now our name can be that too reflected. & # 39;

In a video documenting the mentoring program, created in collaboration with Range Rover Evoque, Olmsted said that she and Nyambi want to create a brand identity that will remain with us for years as we enterprise developed. & # 39; I did exactly that. During their re-visit, they began launching one-on-one consultations, and after seeing how well their community was responding, standardized the process and launched it as a service in the fall.

Refine the new direction of the business


Nyambi said they realize that there is a gap in the market between finding skincare tips in articles and blog posts (the recommendations of which can be good for one person and completely ineffective for another person) custom face.

& # 39; There really is no one you can talk to: & # 39; Hey, that's what I do for my skin, it's my routine, and that's what it looks like. Can you talk to me about what I'm doing wrong? Can we solve it? & # 39; or & # 39; I choose between products and would like to talk to someone about it, & # 39; & # 39; she says.

While these are conversations that people may have with a dermatologist or aestheticist, Baalm's goal is to make them more accessible and ongoing, providing them with a quick question or time for more can book in-depth evaluation – all from their phone or computer.

For members – who pay & # 39; a lifetime fee of $ 15 to join, plus $ 15 to $ 40 for video sessions – these conversations can be even more productive than they can be with non-members, thanks to & # 39 a skin quiz that members fill in at the checkout setting out their skincare goals, history, and routines.


The fact that Baalm's consultations on video calls are conducted also means that they are accessible to people who may not necessarily find this kind of expertise locally – an advantage that the founders greatly envisage. "We call it our 50-state strategy," Nyambi says, explaining that while she and Olmsted live in New York, they have made efforts to aspire to aesthetists of different ages, backgrounds and specialties. all different areas of the country.

Build a team that is excited about the brand

Importantly, she says, they were looking for candidates with consultant leaders with an in-depth knowledge of product formulations, ingredients and how they interact in the context of a skincare routine, and not just what in & # 39; face studio doesn't happen because we don't & # 39; it can be the benefit of touching someone's face. & # 39; Consideration was also a top priority.

& # 39; Our whole ethos is that everyone can have good skin, and it is very important that we first start with the love for our skin, & # 39; she says, & # 39; so we really want to make sure our aestheticians understand that it is part of our ethos, and that it is also part of their ethos. "

As Baalm expands, Nyambi adds, she and Olmsted want to make sure every new hire is passionate about the company's mission. They also want to promote an environment in which everyone feels like a significant part of the team – a particular challenge now that many of the workers they want to hire will be remote, and one that they approach through extensive, one-on-one. one on board and continuous communication.

Creating (virtual) space for growth

This dedication to making everyone involved also includes their approach to personal events, which has scaled them back in favor of more resources on social media and other channels, where everyone can access, no matter where they live. They still plan to partner with brands on live events across the country – and & # 39; some work on the West Coast for early 2020 – but their first concern is reaching the broader online community.

For that, Instagram was very important, and in recent months they have branched out beyond their (many shared) skincare memes into informative questions and queries, tutorials and IGTV videos posted at home or at The Wing DUMBO, Baalm's home, filming is basic. While they haven't yet managed to get rid of the funny, disrespectful tone they cultivated early, the rebrand opened the door for them to integrate what Olmsted describes as "comfortable" content – think blurry blankets, baby animals and tips for self-sufficiency.

The founders intend to continue expanding this strategy throughout the year, while also testing new ways to structure the membership program and earn the business – something they have also talked to Oberti Noguera about.

The details of these plans are still closed, but with the video consultation program as one successful pilot in the books, they are more than ready for the next chapter.

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