ZupaDo: An online community revolving around hair
October 22, 2012 by Terence LEE
The next time you go for a haircut, you may want to visit ZupaDo first.
The website, which launched today, is building a social network revolving around hair. It is an online meeting place to connect hair stylists and potential customers, and an avenue for the slightly hair-obsessed to share their latest looks, get tips, and receive recommendations.
It also has a ‘ZupaMatch’ feature, which recommends the right hair stylists or salons to match your hairstyle, gender, and age. The feature will become more useful when more hair professionals join the website, which currently has 17 stylists and 13 salons. The site is free to use for members and stylists.
Singapore is the starting point for the team behind it, which is also based in the country. Julia Rowley, co-founder of ZupaDo, got the idea for her startup when she encountered problems searching for good hair salons online.
“I used to spend hours searching the Internet trying to find recommendations or reviews on the best hair stylists and salons to visit. It was impossible, I couldn’t understand why review websites existed for just about every other industry, apart from the hair industry,” she said.
Julia is bootstrapping the startup with co-founder and managing director Gordon Rodger, making up a team of 6, which includes a designer and developers. They’re currently seeking investments.
As a niche social network, ZupaDo will need an effective monetization and user acquisition strategy to keep itself sustainable.
The startup certainly has the right set-up to potentially monetize and go viral. Since ZupaDo essentially encourages people to share great-looking hairstyles, it could use that as a foundation for an effective marketing strategy on Facebook or Pinterest.
On revenue generation, ZupaDo is pursuing a few pathways.
With ZupaMag, it intends to be a destination for all things hair-related. With the consultative nature of the beauty industry, tips on picking the right hair styles and choosing the right hair products are in high demand. With an effective content and SEO strategy, ZupaDo can earn some advertising revenue.
It’s also pursuing the Open Table route, just like US startup StyleSeat, which has so far raised USD 1.48M in funding. That means users will soon be able to make appointments with hair stylists directly through ZupaDo. It could potentially charge a referral or transaction fee.
ZupaDo is also working on premium ‘ZupaDo Plus’ accounts that offers hair professionals more features, starting from $25 a month. Exact details aren’t available on the website though.
Finally, the startup will pursue the e-commerce route, either working with third-party sites or merchants or perhaps developing their own online store.
Currently, I’m not seeing any similar ideas in Asia so far, but as is always the case, I expect that the situation will change very soon (DoctorPage and DocDoc are good examples). As it stands though, the market is wide open.
It’s still early days for ZupaDo, which means the site is still a little rough around the edges. Bugs are still being ironed out. But once that site reaches full form and the company’s marketing efforts go into full swing, we’ll find out if this idea can gain a foothold in Asia.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE