With BeautyLynk, Modjossorica Elysee has set up an on-demand network of beauty professionals who visit clients in their homes or offices.
One day while a family member was home recovering from open heart surgery, Modjossorica Elysee fielded a distressed call at work.
“She was crying because her hairstylist had cancelled,” recalled Elysee. “She was unable to do a ponytail by herself, and it was something so simple, but, based on her situation, totally impossible.”
While it seems like a minor thing—her hair relative to her recovery—it was an important reminder that beauty matters to everyone. “People don’t think of it that way of course, but that moment brought home to me how something so small can be so essential to who we are,” Elysee says.
She was determined to help. After working the phone, she found a hairdresser who would pay a house call.
What surprised Elysee the most: The stylist asked if she could come back. “She said that beauty professionals are limited by the time they’re able to get a chair at a salon, and doing services like this would let them monetize additional hours, on their own schedule,” says Elysee. “On the other side, I wondered how many people like my family member were out there.”
From that, a business was born. Elysee quit her day job at a nonprofit to start BeautyLynk, an online service that connects hairstylists and makeup artists to people who want work done on short notice, in their home, office or hotel room.
Over three years, Elysee has built a network of 16,000 beauty professionals in over 30 cities who will travel to visit clients as scheduled. BeautyLynk serves people of all ethnicities, physical abilities and hair textures, offering a range of on-demand services—everything from a trim or blow-out to sew-in hair extensions and wedding makeup. The company also does extensive vetting of all the professionals it admits to its network, ensuring a high-quality experience.
This year, thanks to the growing momentum of BeautyLynk, Elysee was selected to participate in Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab, which gives multicultural and women entrepreneurs a $200,000 equity investment plus mentoring, an office in the firm’s headquarters, and a full curriculum of training and coaching.
“I was so excited to join the Lab, because my background is in working with and supporting individuals, but Morgan Stanley’s expertise is in structuring businesses and partnerships,” Elysee says. “They’ve been helping me really focus on framing my vision so it resonates with the enterprise client while staying true to the reason I started BeautyLynk in the first place."
The next step for BeautyLynk is to focus on growth through enterprise partnerships. And that connectivity is part of how Elysee hopes to tap into the resources and expertise available to her through the Multicultural Innovation Lab.
“We have the potential to be huge,” Elysee says. “The market is out there. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful, and BeautyLynk can help.”
Applications for the next cohort of the Multicultural Innovation Lab open in November 2018.