Abigail Fletcher is the owner of Eleventh Hour Beauty, a revolutionary new beauty booking platform that makes it easy to book last minute appointments with hair and beauty professionals in your area. (No more last minute, frantic messaging to multiple eyebrow ladies to get booked in asap… sign me up!)
Abigail launched her business early in 2020 after a lengthy development process to build her platform. I’m sure you can guess what was about to come along and put her plans on hold for a while (we won’t mention the C word), however, throughout 2020 Abigail persevered and launched a successful business which has helped her customers in more ways than she expected.
Abigail tells us all about her business, the reason the believes this platform is so important for our local high-street and what her next plans are for Eleventh Hour Beauty.
Hi Abigail, tell us how you came up with the idea for Eleventh Hour Beauty?
The business was born out of my own frustrations as a consumer. This sounds really cheesy but once I’d had my children, I always struggled to fit in and commit to any hair or beauty appointments because my time was reliant on when I could get a babysitter. On the occasions I did have one, it would then take me ages to ring around all the different salons seeing if anyone could fit me in! Genuinely, I was on the phone to my Mum whinging, saying there’s got to be an app that just shows me which salons can fit me in right now, but unbelievably, there wasn’t. And now there is!
How did you kick start the business?
Well, I had the idea but didn’t know how to set it up. So I reached out to The Prince’s Trust and they gave me a business mentor. He was fantastic! He’s a celebrity hairdresser with some great connections, he even got us into Hello Magazine. I’ve got a photo in there with my little girls which I’m really proud of. To be in the same magazine as Princess Beatrice in my first year was an honour!
What was important to you when creating this business model?
My business model is all about filling the gaps in the hair and beauty industry and helping to keep businesses open on the high-street. I think that’s so important now more than ever. You can do everything else online, whether it’s banking or food shopping… you can even grab your coffee at a drive through, so there’s nothing else bringing you into town any more other than the hair and beauty industry. The more we’re encouraging people to come to their local salons, the more likely the customers are to be able to support other local businesses whilst they’re there too. Whether they buy their lunch out or meet friends, it’s so important that we all do what we can to help our local high streets.
What do you think appeals most to the salons signed up to Eleventh Hour Beauty?
I think it’s the fact that it’s a great opportunity for businesses to grow their client base without spending a ton of money on marketing. For the cost of one salon treatment per month, they can be on our platform and be visible to a whole new audience who otherwise may have never known they existed. We’re all about supporting people to find a client base.
Also, I’ve found that salons like the fact that our pricing structure is completely transparent too. There are no hidden costs and, most importantly, no commission. I know other businesses who promote salons services and charge up to 51% commission, which is really unfair. With us, the salons keep all of their money and just pay a small monthly fee.
Your business took an unexpected, but amazing turn last year, tell us about that?
Like many other businesses in March last year, we had to pivot. The way this came about for me was through a call from a friend who got in touch to say how upset she was that she was going to have to miss her nail appointments with the salons closing, and not just because she loves to have them done, but also because that appointment was therapy for her. A bit of ‘me time’ away from the world where she could relax and indulge in conversation with her beauty therapist. I knew that she wouldn’t be alone in feeling like this and I wanted to help. That’s where my #standwithsalons campaign was born. Instead of salons putting on their availability for treatment time, instead, they put on their availability to have a catch up call with people. It was fantastic and really did make a difference.
Some of the businesses even sold products this way, they did tutorials for people for at home treatments and had consultations too. It was a great new way of keeping people talking at a time when many of us were at home alone.
So it’s been back to how it should be from April 12th, how’s that going?
It’s been a crazy couple of years in the lead up to this. We’ve got some great traction which I’m really grateful for so I’m looking forward to seeing what 2021 brings. This whole business is all about supporting everybody else’s business, and hopefully, in turn, they’ll support mine too. It’s not about money making, it’s about support. I’m especially looking forward to wedding season and holiday seasons (if the June 21st plans go ahead, of course) which are usually the busiest times in this industry so I’m excited to see the salons flourish.
What’s next for Eleventh Hour Beauty?
I’d like to look at opening our own Eleventh Hour Salons! That’s definitely a dream of mine so hopefully will be in the pipeline soon. I’m also looking at hiring a team of staff to do at home treatments too as this is a growing market.
I have so many places I’d like to take this business – there are other industries I want to go into too – but I’ll stick with this one for now!
Do you have any advice for people looking to start their own business?
My advice would be to make sure you’re clear on exactly what it is you want to do and what your offering is to people, and don’t deviate from that. My niche is the eleventh hour gap for example.
I would also say to be aware it takes such a long time and so much hard work to build a business. You work all of the hours you’re awake, so make sure you’re 100% passionate and your heart is in it.
Find out more about Eleventh Hour Beauty: https://eleventhhourbeauty.com/