From “starving student” to beauty on-demand app founder, Maile Pacheco, started beGlammed with hopes of creating the “uber for makeup artists and hair stylists” just two years ago. Since then, the app has expanded to over twenty cities nationwide and launched their first international city this month. BeGlammed users can pick an appointment date, time, makeup or hair service, desired look, and a stylist will come to their home or office for less than salon prices. We sit down with the beauty industry vet and discuss beGlammed’s expansion, refusing to take “no” for an answer, devoted celebrity clients, and what’s next for the on-demand app.
“We moved around a lot growing up. My dad is a culinary chef, so we bounced around when he opened up new restaurants. I’ve lived in Las Vegas, on and off in California, Hawaii and Alaska. My family is all spread out now, but I still have strong roots back home in Hawaii. After graduating high school, two weeks later I moved to downtown Los Angeles to go to the Fashion Institute of Merchandising & Design.”
Getting a start in beauty at MAC Cosmetics
“I jumped into all kinds of different jobs. Total starving LA student story. I landed a job at MAC as a cashier/stock person and just worked my way up the ranks. Moved to Las Vegas to manage a MAC store, before getting the opportunity to create my own corporate position within the company and moving back to LA. The position I created at MAC was Artist Relations, so it was being at meetings, taking people out to lunch and working awards shows.”
How did beGlammed come to fruition?
“I loved working at Mac. I did not see myself leaving the company as abruptly as I did. I was very sick and was in and out of the hospital. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I got to a point where I physically couldn’t go into the office anymore.
“I took some time off. During that time is when I created the idea for beGlammed. It was really organic the way it happened. A friend of mine was complaining about having to find hair stylists and makeup artists to come to her. Being in my position at MAC, I was constantly connecting stylists to clients and at the time my friend also knew a lot of programmers. So at dinner one night she was talking about Uber. And I said, I wish there was Uber for hair and makeup services. And we were like, that’s a really good idea! A couple of investors heard about the idea and it sparked their interest early on. I wasn’t even done with my business plan at that point. They loved the idea, saw the potential for growth and jumped in right away.”
BeGlammed is now in over 20 cities. How did that growth happen?
“When we started it was just Las Vegas. That was it. And then we were like, okay, Vegas is doing well, let’s do Dallas; where my investors are from. Dallas skyrocketed for us. Then came expansion into Los Angeles. Once things jumped off in LA, it was like, okay, now it’s clear to us we need to be in as many cities as possible. We focused on the big metropolitan cities where our clients like to travel. So we realized the next big cities to focus on were NYC and Miami. That’s what led us to each city we were in. It all happened very organically. We just launched Toronto March 1st; our first international city.”
How do you pick your stylists?
“We hand pick every one of our stylists. They come in and do a couple of looks. We look at everything from their personality, image, level of professionalism, how they dress, if they use proper sanitation practices, how close do they replicate the look that we give them. It’s a grueling process, but it’s necessary. We have to be able to love and trust them in order to send them out to our clients. We have talent coordinators in multiple cities that help us recruit stylists, but when we launch a new city, I personally go out to those markets and start the interviews and train our recruiters.”
“We have a lot of celebrity clients that use us. Mariah Carey loves the brand. She actually took a couple of our stylists she fell in love with to Israel on her yacht for vacation. They did her hair and makeup every day. We’ve worked with Mariah in Vegas, NYC, and here in LA. She’s very dedicated to the brand. To name a few others, we have worked with Rosario Dawson, Kelly Osbourne and Miley Cyrus and her family; we did her sister’s sweet sixteen recently.
How last minute can someone book a hair or makeup service?
“We have gotten people on location in as little as twenty minutes. For our brides, some of them plan far out, and we can take appointments as far out as two years. Or as little as an hour. The more notice the better, but we can take last minute appointments.”
Can customers pick their stylist?
“In the app, if you’ve booked a previous service, the stylist who assisted you prior, their photo will pop up and you are given the option to choose them again. You can’t pick a stylist from a directory, per se, because we want to maintain the curated hands on approach. By having it go in-house, it allows us to know our team. I’m very hands on with picking stylists for celebrity and high end clients. We manage over one thousand stylists nationwide and I’ve met with 80-85% of them. It’s important I really get to know our team so we can keep the curated, personal touch.”
Goals for beGlammed?
“Ideally, we would be in all major markets, including international markets. The ultimate goal is to be accessible to our clients wherever they go.”
What’s one powerful experience that led you to where you are today?
“Moving to LA alone and having to figure things out. The city I grew up in in Hawaii, Waimea, is a small town. There is one K-12 grade school. I think the population is maybe a couple thousand. Moving from that to this massive city by myself, it was a culture shock. I didn’t have anyone to hold my hand through the process. I think that gave me such a hard shell, where I feel like I can take anything at this point. I don’t have fear around failure. If someone says no, it’s just like, okay, we are going to keep it moving.”
Advice for young women out there looking to start their own business?
“Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. If it’s something that you feel you are meant for and it’s a good idea, properly vet it out, do a lot of research, and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer, just keep going. When I told one of my family members about starting beGlammed she actually laughed in my face. She said, ‘Don’t you dare do it.’ She was like, ‘Go back to Mac. It’s a safe job.’ And I was like, ‘No, I have to try this out.’ So now I go back to her and I’m like, ‘Aren’t you glad I did this?’ She uses beGlammed all the time now.”
You’ve worked in the beauty industry for a long time, any skin care tips?
“A lot of consumers think a face wash is good enough, but it’s not. You really need a makeup remover to remove makeup. I like Bioderma. It’s a water based cleanser. It is amazing. It was only available in France for a long time so I had to get makeup artist friends to buy me some when they would do Paris Fashion Week, but they now sell it in the states. It’s gentle, there’s no fragrance and it doesn’t dry out the skin.”
What skincare products do you use?
“Lately, I’ve been using the skincare line called Scalisi. It was formulated by a woman who is a skin cancer survivor. She was in the beauty world and realized there was no skincare that was specifically devoted to being primer for makeup and also a preventative for skin cancer. I love her line. She has a water micro-ionized exfoliator. It’s amazing. I use it every other day and then follow up with a moisturizer and eye cream. I love her products.”
-by Amy Chang
Photographed by author