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As Soho House, Revolve Clothing and countless other apps and businesses have proven, exclusivity breeds demand. That allure is the crux of a brand-new web platform, Prête, which allows its invited and referred members to book less-expensive blowouts and manicures at top salons using a private concierge service.
Like the new dating app Raya, Prête asks applicants for the name of an existing member who referred them. The service officially launched in San Francisco and Los Angeles on May 3, but already, says L.A.-based founder Nina Ojeda, founder and CEO of public relations and marketing firm The Avenue West, “Our waiting list is quite long and growing faster than we’re accepting, which is very exciting.”
But it’s not only the draw of being in an exclusive “club” that’s likely to thank for their initial strong interest. Being a member comes with perks. The commitment-phobic can get $35 blowouts and $20 manis whenever they want through Prête’s concierge booking service — a deal considering a Drybar session now costs $40 in L.A. and $45 in Northern California.
In addition, The Insider has a $49 annual fee that unlocks $29 blowouts (and $15 manis), and the Unlimited allows the member as many blowouts as their heart desires for $129 per month. It was the $200-plus she was handing over to Drybar monthly, plus the launch of services like ClassPass, that Ojeda says first sparked the idea three years ago, but it took her awhile to act on it. “At the time I was just starting a business and in my early 20s,” she says, “so it stayed in the back of my mind as I continued to get my weekly blowouts.”
Similar to how ClassPass works for both the fitness junkie — giving subscribers access to countless classes — and for the studios, which are filling up would-be empty slots, Ojeda says Prête is equally fulfilling needs on both the supply and demand side of the salon biz. California passed a bill that says salons can no longer pay on commission, which means stylists must be paid for no-shows or late cancelations, leading to the loss of revenue.
Salon partners include RA_ Hair House, a spot Ojeda calls a “hidden gem, literally, and home to some of the most incredible stylists on the planet,” Twist by Oliver Ifergen, Glam Beverly Hills and Ramirez Tran (Sophia Bush, Whitney Port). Manicures, launching at the end of May, will be available at Bellacures, Can Can Parleur (which is 100 percent cruelty-free and vegan) and Gavert Atelier. “We work with really amazing stylists and salons, so the exclusivity is simply to keep the integrity of our network,” says Ojeda. “We want our salons and members to create long-term relationships with each other and have great experience all around.”
Appointments can be booked same-day or up to a week out, says the founder, and styling is typically similar to what one would get at Drybar. Tip is not included in the Prête fee, but they do donate a portion of all proceeds to the Johns Hopkins University program to end animal testing. Ojeda says her team only started building out Prête four weeks ago, but that they’re already eyeing a Nashville launch next.
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