We’ve written about our fair share of beauty booking services. With websites like Page Pink and LookBooker, and a slew of mobile apps like GetKlarity and BookQuickly, the beauty service booking space is getting increasingly cramped. And it’s no wonder: Singapore has the highest active spa-going population across the globe (67%), with the average Singaporean making 6 visits and spending more than US$600 on spa treatments each year. With a population of 5 million, that’s 3.35 million people spending more that US$600 6 times a year — a ripe market to be conquered.
Locally-based Vanitee might not have first-mover advantage, but it makes up for this with its unique offering. The app represents independent beauty artists rather than big players in the market, positioning itself as the “voice of the people”. With independent nail artists and hairstylists peppered around the heartlands, and the growth of travelling artists who bring their work to your homes, it’s a great database to discover great new services beyond large beauty franchises.
According to Vanitee, the team also runs through a series of background checks on each artist to ensure professionalism in their work. And since the services offered are independent, prices are very competitive.
Navigating the app is simple. All you have to do is choose a beauty service — nails, makeup, facial, or brow+lash — and you will be bombarded with several listings. Tapping into your location services, you’ll also be told the general location of the salon and its distance from you. You can also sort listings by rating, distance, or price, or explore the artists themselves, by browsing their photos and the services they provide.
Each listing is accompanied with reviews, ratings, and a Google Maps view of where the salon is located.
If you’d rather stay at home, you can also opt for a housecall. Surprisingly, the prices aren’t as extravagant as I expected, and there were many more options than I thought there would be.
If you have a specific request or need — like an allergy to certain chemicals you want to alert a beautician to — or a question about the service, you can also contact the artist directly through the chat function. What I love about this is that it also has an option for you to send images, which is very useful if you have a specific nail design in mind. I sent the image I had in mind to one of the salons, and got a quotation for in an hour later.
I did have some pet peeves with the user interface, though. While I appreciated being able to filter my results, it was annoying that I wasn’t able to easily find the most affordable salon nearest to me — if I set my location as Orchard MRT, the most affordable services suggested to me were at Telok Blangah, Geylang, or even Jurong. Opting for the distance filter left me a mass of services available in the whole of Orchard to dig through for good deals.
The pictures could also do with some quality checks. Most photos were alright, but some were either of poor quality or misrepresented the service listed.
Ultimately, while Vanitee may be working within a cramped industry, it differentiates itself by providing a platform for independent beauty experts and artists to be heard and reached, some of whom don’t even have salons. It taps into the ripe underground of the beauty industry, connecting individuals passionate about providing beauty services to the women (and men) keen to support them.