Beauty Matter Highlights 2017 L’Oreal Women in Digital Winner Courtney Caldwell

Beauty Matter Founder Kelly Kovack provides a fresh voice to the beauty industry with content from her perspective, and through her lens. BeautyMatter also publishes highly curated news and exclusive original pieces by thought leaders and beauty insiders.

L‘Oréal’s Women in Digital Next Generation Awards have, for five years now, been elevating and encouraging women in tech to go beyond themselves and produce ideas, creations that the world needs. They feed innovation, foster creativity, and help to kickstart the competition’s finalists’ futures.

Below the 2017 winner talks about her startup and how the competition has affected her growth and mindset:

Describe your business in a nutshell.
ShearShare is a B2B salon space rental app that allows beauty and barbering professionals to rent workspace by the day in cities all over the world.

When did you come up with the idea for your business?
We first came up with the idea for ShearShare back in 2012 while building our salon and barbershop business. Filling empty stations with licensed stylists was originally a problem that we were trying to solve for ourselves, but the idea quickly grew into a global marketplace that meets the most basic need of our industry: space to work.

How long did it take to get the technology up and running?
It took us 10 weeks to build the ShearShare MVP. We used data from over 3 years of manually matching stylists to workspaces to help inform our build process.

How have you enjoyed this competition? What have you gained from it?
It’s such an honor to be named a 2017 L’Oréal Women in Digital. To stand together with other phenomenal women like Hello Ava’s Siqi Mou and Shine’s Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi is a testament to how female founders are shaping the next generation of beauty. Our entire team at ShearShare appreciates the budding relationship with L’Oréal, the way they’ve welcomed our team with open arms, and the validation from the world’s largest beauty brand that we are truly designing the future of our industry. Thank you to Rachel, the Women in Digital Advisory Board, and the L’Oréal team for going above and beyond to elevate the hidden gems of female-led companies in the tech space.

Why, in your opinion, is there a budding female presence in the tech entrepreneur world?
It’s all about perspective. I wouldn’t necessarily say that a strong female presence is all of a sudden “budding”; we’ve been present, but just not given the best opportunities in many cases. Take me for example. I’ve been a woman in tech for the last 20 years and have had the pleasure of working alongside some kick-butt female intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs. (See Backstage Capital’s Headliners for inspiration.) Ironically, technology is now making it easier for female tech entrepreneurs to connect and support one another. And the visibility that female tech leaders have on platforms today such as Twitter, Medium, Facebook, and LinkedIn is growing. The more examples we have of women winning, the more women will follow.

What do you hope to do after the competition is over? Plans for expansion?
Of course! This is just the beginning. Our vision for ShearShare is to become an ecosystem for beauty and barbering professionals worldwide where every tool helps to maximize their earning potential. Today we’re starting at the very beginning of the stylist’s life cycle by providing easy, commitment-free access to vetted space to work. In the future, additional tools will help stylists maintain long-term success in the best industry in the world. One example of where we’re headed is a brand-new tool we’ve recently introduced that helps simplify the financials for self-employed stylists. For the first time ever, our community of licensed cosmetologists and barbers has access to weekly pay stubs, a free tax savings account, the ability to automatically calculate and save for taxes, plus quarterly tax filing. ShearShare is not only completely transforming where and when stylists work but how they manage their business!

Do you see tech as an integral part to the future of beauty? Elaborate.
Great question. Yes, I firmly believe that tech and beauty will continue to collide, especially as the rising generation dictates the next chapter. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen once said that “software is eating the world,” and it’s true. Just look down at your mobile device to see that technology touches every part of your day-to-day life. It allows us to connect in ways never before thought possible. And because beauty literally touches everyone in some form or fashion, the future of beauty will most certainly continue to shift to more tech-enabled options.

From a B2B standpoint, I bet we’ll see a further democratization of how professionals choose to work—where, when, how, and with what tools. I can see B2C continue to transform by introducing AR, VR, machine learning, drone delivery, etc.

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