Blowout Subscription App Vive Launching in L.A., Justin Bieber's Manager Invests
Celebrity stylist David Babaii — who tends Gwyneth Paltrow’s and Nicole Kidman’s locks — is also on board as global brand ambassador.
The ClassPass model has not only taken over — and changed — the boutique fitness scene around the world, but it’s seeped into the beauty biz as well. A new app launching in the L.A. market on Sept. 22 has translated the concept into a monthly concierge service offering users three, five or 10 blowouts per month (for between $30 and $33 per blowout) at 200-plus vetted partner salons.
Called Vive, it’s the brainchild of Alanna Gregory, a former Wall Street research analyst who recognized a need for one comprehensive way to search for available appointments in nearby salon chairs at a moment's notice.
"Our booking process is simple," says the founder and CEO. "Once a member joins you enter your location, day and time you’re looking for an appointment, and Vive populates a list of nearby salons. You then scroll through or see them on a map, learn more about the salons and select three you’d like to go to," Gregory says, explaining that this process is because they prioritize last-minute appointments. "Vive then matches you with the closest available salon." No cash exchanges hands in person — tips are paid via the app, as are ratings after each service, just like Uber.
The partnerships team, Gregory says, worked hard to research and sign salons in the L.A. area that fit the standards already put into practice in New York City, the Hamptons and Chicago, where users have booked a total of more than 50,000 blowouts since Vive launched in 2015.
Some of those participating include Beverly Hills’ Juan Juan Salon and The Private Room, and Fringe in Venice. The behind the scenes of building the app and gathering investors was also a process. During it, Gregory says, "we were fortunate to be introduced to the SB Projects team by our lead investor and board member Tim Komada at Deep Fork Capital. Scooter [Braun] was excited about the brand we were building and the vision we had for the company and wanted to get involved." Of course Braun, now a significant investor in Vive, is Justin Bieber’s, Ariana Grande's and Karlie Kloss’ manager.
Gregory also met celebrity hairstylist David Babaii early on. "Christina Aguilera’s fiance, Matt Rutler, introduced me to Alanna and said I should really be involved with her project,” says Babaii, who over the years has worked with Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett Johansson.
Babaii’s role as global brand ambassador means creating a look book with options for the expected occasions — "wedding hair, prom hair, Valentine’s Day hair — and some less likely ones: “breakup hair, first-date hair." He’s pulling from "all the experiences I’ve had and creating new services that don’t necessarily exist right now."
Babaii says these days women are seeking "experimentation — there are no rules." He also recognizes social media’s role in shaping hair trends. "One week it’s Jennifer Lawrence and the next week is Adele," he says of what clients ask for. "[There are] so many people with different hairstyles all the time that they want something new based of what’s 'hot that week.'"