Treatwell started back in 2008 in London. Since then they have been on a mission to inspire people to express their beauty in every way. Today, Treatwell is the largest hair and beauty bookings website in Europe with a 24/7 beauty bookings platform that puts customers and salon managers in control.
After the release of our FY 2021 GB Retail and Leisure Report, we caught up with Miranda Mathews, UK & IE managing director at Treatwell, to reflect on the findings and what they mean for the beauty industry specifically in 2022.
We have seen a huge amount of growth across categories such as barbershops, nail salons and beauty salons. What do you believe is driving this increase in these sectors?
There could be a few contributing factors here. We've seen an increase in both awareness and bookings in men's grooming and treatments over the last year. In terms of the large growth in the barbering segment, the lower startup costs and lack of mandatory training also make it easier to get up and running. Similarly, we've seen an increase in the number of new nail and beauty businesses, specifically those that are home-based.
The health and beauty space is particularly dominated by independent businesses. Do you think in time we might see more consolidation and a greater number of chains or do you think these sectors will continue to be predominantly independent?
Good question. I've actually wondered this myself, coming from the hospitality industry, which we know is much more consolidated, specifically in the UK and even more in London. I actually don't think there will be a ton of consolidation in beauty in the near future, due to a lack of outside capital investment to fuel this type of growth. I also fail to see a major benefit to the consumer if this were to happen.
Within the beauty segment, customers are quite loyal both to the location and the employee providing the service, so they wouldn't seek consistency across multiple sites. With health, if you are meaning spas, I could see more consolidation here given the cost and scale of traditional Spa operations.
With this in mind, how does Treatwell support independent operators across key health and beauty categories?
We strive to put our partners at the heart of everything we do. We have recently launched a new product to better address the business needs of salon owners. This new addition focuses not only on new client acquisition through our marketplace but also gives them a full software product to manage all their clients via a digital agenda and includes deep analytics and insight to understand performance. On top of all of that, it also includes marketing tools to then drive the right client behaviour.
How do you think the pandemic has created both challenges and opportunities for businesses in this sector?
Reflecting on challenges, the obvious would be the lockdowns and forced closures for almost a full year. Many people uprooted their lives, changed jobs, moved house, went remote-first, etc. All these things both directly and indirectly impact client behaviour and therefore the salon's bottom line.
Opportunity wise I think it forced everyone to re-think what matters. Many rediscovered their passion and put their teams and staff before themselves. I have also heard a lot of Salon owners speak about rediscovering how we focus on the human connection within the salon experience, which I love.
What are your predictions for 2022? Do you think we will continue to see this level of growth in these sectors?
It's tricky to predict, especially given the start we had to 2022 where we saw extremely high rates of both customer- and partner-led cancellation rates due to Covid. As things begin stabilising I think we'll continue to see men's services grow for the reasons I mentioned earlier, but I could also see things start to normalise a bit.
Finally, what is on your roadmap? What can we expect to see from Treatwell this year?
We've got a big year planned with the launch of Treatwell Pro. Our all-in-one software, we just launched in Ireland earlier this month and in the UK on Monday 21st March. Treatwell had historically focused on driving new clients to our Salon partners, but today we strive to provide so much more than new bookings.
Treatwell has transformed into a software business focusing on building essentially a slick operating system for salons to run off, so they can focus on their art and we can take care of the admin. Interested Salon owners can take their first look at our new software here.
Treatwell is the largest hair and beauty bookings website in Europe. It operates a 24/7 bookings platform that puts customers and salons in control. To learn more, visit their website.
Download your copy of our FY 2021 GB Retail and Leisure Report - 'The road to retail recovery: are we there yet?' here.