BeautiSpaces linking beauticians

Victorium Holdings Limited CEO Audrey Karungi Ngambeki Audrey Karungi Ngambeki. PHOTO/PROMISE TWINAMUKYE

What you need to know:

  • Making it Easy. The application is an online marketplace connecting both women and men to reputable salons, barbershops, beauticians, makeup artists, spas, and boutiques.

Almost every woman has had their fair share of experiences while searching for a good salon/hairdresser. 

Yet, for Jemimah Nakuya, one particular incident stands out, an experience she says she will never forget. 

“A friend recommended a salon downtown. But because it was bustling with activity, I decided to do my hair the next,” she says.  
But her friend and the saloon owner insisted that she does her hair although it was past midday.

“I agreed and two stylists started work,” she says. 

“Almost 30 minutes after I sat to do my hair, the saloon owner – who was celebrating her birthday - announced that the bikers were on their way to pick them up for a joyride around town.  I was taken aback, but I didn’t make much of it, because there was no way their boss was going to let the hairdresser, who had just started working on me, leave.”

She was wrong.  A few minutes after her announcement, someone walked into the salon, and announced that the bikers had indeed arrived.  Everyone, but the customers, left the saloon for the joyride.  At that point, Nakuya should have stormed out, but she had already paid. 

“They returned after 20 minutes and resumed braiding my hair.  At, around 5PM, a group of four people dressed in white stormed into the salon with a cake and a portable speaker blaring loud music – the typical scene nowadays. They started performing for the birthday girl.  This went on for about 30 minutes as customers stared in disbelief. I know it sounds like a movie but is real.”

When she got home, she could not believe what she had just endured. 
“The hair was, at best, average.”

Enter BeautiSpaces:
Today, there is a chance that you might never have to go through the hustle of saloon searching again, following the introduction of the newly developed BeautiSpaces app. 

The BeautiSpaces application is an online marketplace connecting both women and men to reputable salons, barbershops, beauticians, makeup artists, spas, and boutiques. It was developed by Victorium Holdings Limited, a software development company. 

“We define a BeautiSpaces as a platform where people can access services to enhance their appearance. Clients often face the challenge of limited access to qualified, trustworthy beauty professionals. We are addressing this problem by providing the BeautiSpaces app, an all-inclusive online marketplace featuring a reliable pool of talented beauty professionals,” Audrey Karungi Ngambeki, the Chief Executive Officer of Victorium Holdings Limited explains.

Being a software development company, Victorium Holdings Limited had developed various human resource and accounting software solutions for SMEs across various fields.  

They realised however, that these software solutions were not particularly helpful for SMEs in the beauty industry, prompting them to create an app specifically tailored to the beauty industry’s needs. 
“Our focus at first was to bring user awareness into the beauty industry, but as we continued development, we discovered that the industry required specific tools, including industry-leading software for beauticians and a marketplace for them to do business,” Ngambeki explains.  

Victorium Holdings Limited CEO Audrey Karungi Ngambeki and her team. PHOTO/PROMISE TWINAMUKYE

After developing the application, they approached various service providers, educating them about the benefits of joining the app. They have also utilised social media as a marketing tool.  

“Initially some vendors were skeptical due to the number of online scams that make use of ICT tools to target users. However, with sensitisation and being transparent about the app, vendors now trust the BeautiSpaces app and are benefiting from it,” Ngambeki explains. 

How the application works

Using BeautiSpaces is a breeze. All you have to do is download the app from the App Store or Play Store. The client will then gain access to a wide range of salons, barbershops, beauticians, and makeup artists nearby and beyond. 

“For example, if you’re looking for a makeup artist or a salon, simply open the app, go to the makeup or salon section. With your location on, you will be presented with the saloons or makeup artists closest to you including freelancers,” Ngambeki explains.

One will then be required to click on their profiles and see what they have to offer, including pictures of the different hair styles or face beats they have done. If one is not pleased with the places in their location, they have the option of choosing another location.   

When satisfied with the offers, there is a booking option specifying time of day, style and so on.  

For salon, barbershop, nail parlor, makeup studio owners who want to offer their services via the application, they are required to create an account after downloading the app in order to set up their portfolio and profile. 

This will include details such as the name of the saloon, location and pictures of what you do. Beauticians offering mobile services or freelancing can create portfolios and manage bookings from the app.

Victorium Holdings Limited CEO Audrey Karungi Ngambeki says BeautiSpaces uses a freemium model that does not charge commissions on bookings. PHOTOS/PROMISE TWINAMUKYE

BeautiSpaces uses a freemium model that does not charge commissions on bookings. 
Vendors, Ngambeki says, can also post job openings, available spaces for rent, sell beauty equipment and supplies via the app.  

Customer experience
Customers, Ngambeki says, have appreciated the convenience that comes with using the app, as it has allowed them to find and schedule appointments with salons seamlessly. The app has already garnered 20,000 downloads. Beauticians are also delighted to tap into a wider market through this online platform. 

“We always make sure to approach reputable saloons, saloons with good reviews, otherwise we would not be solving the problem.  BeautiSpaces also caters to both low and high-income earners by featuring service providers with different price brackets,” Ngambeki explains. 

Bridget Muzaki, a frequent user of the application, says Beautispaces has been such a life saver for her, she uses it for her hair, nails and makeup appointments. 

“I had actually cut of my hair in 2020, because the salon I used to go to closed due to Covid-19.  When I decided to grow it after the pandemic, I did not know which saloon to go to I would keep going to different saloons, until I bumped into a friend with nicely done hair, who referred me to Beautispaces app, which I had never heard of.  She told me she had done her hair, from a saloon she found on BeautiSpaces,” Muzaki narrates.                

Muzaki downloaded the application and she also eventually found a saloon she likes, in Wandegeya. 
“If you know the saloon in particular, you can type in the name of the saloon directly to book, that is what I do now. I also found the nail parlor I go to from the app. You can also type in a specific location and see the saloons, nail parlous, make studios present. Just keep searching for what you are comfortable with, especially if it is your first time,” she explains further.     
Muzaki loves the Loyalty points feature. 

“The part that excites me the most is the loyalty points. With the loyalty points, whenever you refer the app to your friends, or social network, you gain points, these points can be changed into money, which you can use as a method of payment. There is a provision on the app for referring, where your forward a link to someone else and they can install. If you have many loyalty points you can end up paying less,” Muzaki explains.                  

Muzaki also appreciates trends section, which she checks out often to see the latest styles, what is trending in the beauty industry in general. 

“I picked my latest hair style from the trends section, I took a snapshot of it and showed my hairstylist,” she shares. 

“The primary challenge we faced was gaining the trust of vendors. Many online scams are associated with ICT platforms, so we had to invest a lot in sensitising our users to gain their trust. Sensitisation is an ongoing journey. Another challenge is that sometimes vendors and customers may not receive booking confirmations due to lack of data on their phones, causing delays. To mitigate this, we are working on implementing offline features,” Ngambeki explains.