muamua (pronounced mwah mwah) was launched in Spring 2015 to help people find local and international freelance beauty & fashion stylists, and to help these stylists manage their business and their online presence. Rishi Kumar (26 years old) is the founder of this start-up and shares with us a bit about muamua and his experience in starting this business.
Hi Rishi. Can you tell us about your education and your team?
I studied BA Fashion Design & Marketing for four years at the London College of Fashion
. My co-founder has been a web developer for 16 years and the rest of my team come from a creative design and TV/editorial background.
What is muamua? How did you come up with this idea?
muamua.com is a online platform to help you find beauty and fashion stylists
for services such as hair, make-up, nail and personal shopping. You may be a bride looking for a hair and make-up artist for your wedding or simply stuck at the office and want someone to come and blow dry your hair before a night out. You can browse through our stylist’s profiles, alternatively you can submit your requirements, which will then go out to all the stylists that match your criteria, who can then contact you if they can provide the service you require. You are also able to share your ideas/inspiration for a certain look with stylists via our Pinterest tools.
muamua.com also helps stylists manage their business and online presence.
We have tools to help them manage their bookings, communication with their clients and to simply find more work.
The idea came to me after I was being asked on several occasions by friends and family to put them in touch with hair and make-up artists for various occasions. After I exhausted my contacts I realised there wasn’t a reputable brand or website that people could go to, to find stylists, read reviews about them or to see their work.
Why did you decide to launch your own startup?
I have always been entrepreneurial since a young age, always thinking of exciting new business ideas. After leaving my job of 4 years as a ‘beauty marketing manager’ I started freelancing for two years. In that time I saw a gap in the market
and then seriously started brainstorming ideas for a new business. I knew that that was the time to become my own boss,
if I really wanted to, so I decided to take the plunge.
How have you financed muamua?
My business partner and I self funded
muamua to start, putting in all our own time and money. However we we’re lucky to receive a small amount of funding from a friend which has kept us going. We also managed to forge a partnership with a design agency
who offered to help us with our branding and website design. We are now exploring future funding opportunities and routes to grow our business.
What is your business model?
Currently all our stylists are on a free trial
, but we will soon charge a monthly fee
to have their profile on the website. We are also planning to launch a corporate and bespoke service. For a management fee, clients can submit a style brief, and we will help them find the perfect stylist.
Are you currently hiring?
At the moment we’re not expanding our core team, however we’re looking for stylists around the world to join our platform. We’re offering free trials
What has been the biggest challenge so far in building your start-up?
One of our biggest challenges has been building our user-base
. Without stylists we don’t have a product, so we’ve spent a lot of time using social media and personal contact to tell our potential users about our great new product. We are still spending most of our days spreading the word.
Lastly, what quality do you think is the most important in order to succeed as an entrepreneur?
I think the two most important qualities to have are passion
Firstly the entrepreneur has to be obsessed with their idea and really believe that what they are doing can help thousands of people. Secondly they have to be driven, spending all their time on making their business a success and it shouldn’t feel like work. Usually startups succeed because the founders didn’t give up, but did everything they could do make their idea a successful reality.
Thanks for sharing Rishi!