We enjoy the convenience of online food delivery and transport service, yet when it comes to beauty-related services, we book appointments the old fashion way. Either we directly call the salon, or maybe send a text message to our hairdresser. Some, simply drop by the establishment with high hopes of getting a slot.
Like most females, the salon trips of lawyer-business owner Claire Ongcangco are vital to existence. While some establishments have websites or Facebook pages, she always wondered why salons have not discovered the opportunities of digitalization.
“I love going to the salons. I love exploring and discovering new beauty products and services and I always wonder why we can’t book salon appointments online when we can order food get a ride or book hotels online,” she stated.
When Claire isn’t in the salon, she is pounding on the keyboards developing software with her team. She is also a lawyer and a teacher of IT Entrepreneurship for almost eight years. For over 10 years, her company has produced websites and mobile apps for both start-ups we have and top Philippine companies.
After helping several businesses with their digital needs, the techie salon-goer felt it was the right time to embark on her own start-up adventure.
Parlon was launched in 2019 as a listing online platform to help customers book appointments for salons and wellness centers.
“The idea originated from my own pain point of not finding service menus of salons online. I parked the idea for many years because I was juggling law school, working, and teaching. When I passed the bar, I felt it was also the perfect time to start making my idea a reality,” Claire said.
The term “parlon” merges two important industry terms “parlor’ and “salon.” “Parlor” is the “Tita” version of the present-day salon.
“During our mother’s time it was called ‘beauty parlor,” she said.
The app was first available on Appstore and just recently on Google Play.
Selling an innovative tool like Parlon is no easy task, but Claire managed to find a way to capture her niche market.
“I pitched this idea during my salon sessions. I also did cold calls via email and Instagram. Initially, the challenge was setting up a meeting with the salon managers/owners. But once we were able to show our salon software, 99 percent of the time, they are game to be onboarded. In time business owners directly approach us to be part of Parlon,” Claire recalled.
Aside from the booking convenience, the app enables partner merchants to integrate all their services.
“They can manage all their, bookings, service menu, operational hours, customer database, and ecommerce transactions.”
As an industry that thrives on physical interaction, beauty, and wellness establishments greatly affected by the lockdowns during the pandemic.
“We were even classified as non-essential,” she said.
To entice app users to “return” to salons Parlon offers all kinds of deals and discounts on haircuts, lashes, nails, and other services. Thanks to the app’s partner merchants. It also comes with a magazine called Glow Getter, the perfect reading material while you are getting your hair and nails done. It features success stories of industry leaders, wellness hacks, treatments, and other interesting content about self-love and self-care. It also has a series called Behind the Chair, which features inspirational stories of business owners, like a salon whose employees are 90 percent single moms, or how a successful establishment in BGC started out in a small area at a co-working space.
More than just an app, Parlon intends to be a gamechanger.
“We have plans to accelerate on-demand beauty and wellness services, promote beauty tourism, and consolidate all beauty purchases in one ecosystem,” Claire ended.
Log on to Parlon.ph or visit Parlon Facebook page for more details.