Having worked in industry and as a lecturer in the classroom, Kylie Love from UCOL, could see a gap in the market, but she also saw an opportunity to fill it – the idea for her App was born and she entered Innovate 2018 where she received second place and received a 3 year scholarship worth $12,000 through Collective Intelligence.
“There is so much paper in the beauty industry, imagine an app where the therapist can add notes, make comments, highlight issues or imperfections on a model face, and that once the client gets home they can also access their information. This app is more than just booking or recording client visits, it can be used as a diagnosis tool and has notes and images in it for this function.
“In 2017 I signed up for Innovate, which is a competition run though The Factory
– having just a basic idea didn’t prove to be enough. So when 2018 rolled around I had the software already developed and a clear vision of what the App can do, I had started fleshing out exactly what I hoped to deliver. Placing second was an amazing achievement. Moving forward I am stoked to have the support of a team around me including The Factory. I also have the support of the NZ Association of Registered Beauty Therapists
The ‘Innovate’ competition
has been around for six years and during that time has seen 1,341 ideas presented and many come to fruition. This year 60 people entered Innovate, the top 20 were chosen to pitch to 30 judges (Dragons' Den style) then the top five went on to do the 10 week accelerator programme and pitch their idea to 250 people and six judges in November, where significant prizes were up for grabs.
Innovate is organised by BCC each year and sees entrants go through a number of stages. Kylie made it to the top five and undertook a 10 week mentorship programme in the lead up to final judging. At the same time she was completing a virtual mentorship with Y-Combinator
, an American accelerate programme in silicon valley.
“For Innovate the top five do a 10-week business mentorship programme run by The Factory, with weekly workshops and progress meetings. Each finalist is paired with one to three mentors who have experience in the area of their business idea. Y-Combinator was also a 10 week programme where you are setting goals, updating your progress and meeting with other start-up companies through Skype each week.”
“Everyone at The Factory and the mentors are super supportive and helpful, they also have an amazing network the finalists can tap into. Both mentorships were great and the support and advice I was given really helped me finesse where I was headed, as well as affirming my thinking.”
“For the semi-finals, I presented a five-minute pitch to a pool of mentors and judges. From there, the top five of us had to ‘pitch’ again on the night of the awards. It was a thrilling experience but challenging at the same time, as by now I felt really invested in what I was hoping to deliver and where I wanted to head following Innovate”.
It was a balance for Kylie to juggle her teaching with that of the process and the mentorship, but was one that she is relished. She encourages others to follow their passions whether it be study or putting themselves outside of their comfort zones.
“I love the beauty industry and I love teaching. What motivates me is working in this dynamic industry. Now through the development of this app I feel I am contributing in a whole new way. With development well underway the plan is to launch the app in New Zealand by May, where it will become available on the App Store and Google Play.”
“In the classroom seeing students achieve and watching where they end up is always special – no matter what I am working on, I like to bring my enthusiasm and my networks to work towards real outcomes. Who knows, one day soon they will be in industry and might be using my app as a business solution making them more effective at what they do.”