Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Hillary Clinton believes a woman can become president despite mounting opposition, Walmart adds fertility care to employee benefits, and beauty industry disruptor GlossGenius raises $25 million.
– Created for beauty. Operating expenses like rent and labor can account for nearly 80% of revenue for most salons, and making a profit requires high marketing spend, repeat customers, and low overhead. That’s where GlossGenius comes in, an all-in-one business operations platform for beauty and wellness professionals.
GlossGenius helps salons and spas streamline back-office management such as payments, reservations, inventory, communications, and marketing all on one platform. Launched in 2016, the startup now has more than 40,000 businesses using its platform, overseeing more than $2 billion in transactions annually.
GlossGenius announced a $25 million Series B closing on Tuesday, led by Imaginary Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from Left Lane Capital. Its Series A closing last November generated more than $16 million from big names in the vertical business operations software space, including Shopify founder and CEO Tobias Lütke, Mindbody co-founder Robert Murphy, and Bessemer Venture. Partners.
“It’s a really strong testament to the business,” says Danielle Cohen-Shohet, founder and CEO of GlossGenius. Fortune. “We are doing something really big [and] We have a lot to show for it.”
GlossGenius is the brainchild of Cohen-Shohet, who first ventured into the payments space during her senior year at Princeton when she and her twin sister Leah created a digital receipt platform. They both started working at Goldman Sachs shortly after graduating. Danielle, who had previously worked as a freelance makeup artist, saw an opportunity to change the way small businesses run their operations. She taught herself to code and landed a spot on Sephora’s inaugural accelerator program in 2016. That same year, she launched GlossGenius.
GlossGenius has attracted a loyal user base since its founding. “I remember early on seeing customers posting such an evangelizing love for GlossGenius, [which is] in an otherwise unappealing industry,” says Leah Cohen-Shohet, director of business at GlossGenius. She officially joined the company in May 2021, although she has worked behind the scenes with her sister since her inception.
In its early days, particularly during beta testing, many of GlossGenius’s users came through word of mouth. Since then, the platform has amassed something of a cult following, with users sometimes using its logo on their various designs.
Courtesy of GlossGenius
This kind of loyalty is not surprising for an industry that has been largely neglected. While there are plenty of unique payment platforms like Square for small businesses, Cohen-Shohet says that small businesses in the beauty industry need a purpose-built platform, similar to Toast for restaurants and Shopify for eCommerce. Existing operations software for the beauty industry tends to cater to larger salons and teams, making it expensive and difficult for smaller businesses to manage.
GlossGenius membership pricing starts at $24 per month, and the company says users report a 25% to 100% increase in revenue after joining GlossGenius.
The startup plans to use its new funding to expand its workforce and develop new products and services. Over 70% of GlossGenius users are women, many from underrepresented backgrounds. In the beauty industry as a whole, women and people of color are over-represented than in the overall U.S. workforce. Due to their increased presence in the industry, GlossGenius believes their services go beyond streamline business operations and can even help drive economic mobility.
“Our product is creating a stronger local fabric and uplifting small business entrepreneurs, particularly those from diverse backgrounds, because that is the fabric of the beauty and wellness industry,” says Leah.
The Broadsheet is Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women. Sign up here.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
– Clear understanding. Hillary Clinton says she still thinks a woman can become president, despite a “growing sense of rejection of women’s ambitions and roles”. Variety
– RTO investment. General Motors is delaying its back-to-office mandate, just days after it was first announced, due to employee backlash. A Tuesday memo, signed by Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, says GM will not require specific days in the office and corporate employees will not be required to return to the office before 2023. CNBC
– The richest women. Julia Koch, the widow of Koch Industries billionaire David Koch, is now America’s richest woman, unseating Walmart heiress Alice Walton, according to the Forbes 400 list. But America’s richest women as a group are poorer than in 2021. Forbes
– Extended care. Walmart has added fertility care to its employee benefits. The retail giant is partnering with the Kindbody network of fertility clinics to offer access to treatments such as IVF, as well as surrogacy and adoption benefits for associates and their dependents.
– Lead the workforce.. Women now outnumber men in the US college-educated workforce, according to the Pew Research Center. Women age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased to 31.3 million in the second quarter of 2022, up from 29.1 million in the same period in 2019. Pew Research Center
MOVEMENTS AND AGITATORS: Brenda Malloy has been promoted to CEO of consumer and retail executive search firm Herbert Mines Associates. SEO consulting firm UpBuild has named Ruth Burr Reedy as its next CEO. Kerstin Dittmar, managing partner and lead investor in L2 Point, has joined the board of directors of cloud storage company Wasabi. Tally Health has appointed Melanie Goldey CEO.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
– Beyond hijab. Protests in Iran continue after the death of a 22-year-old woman who was killed in police custody for allegedly breaking the country’s hijab law. Although the law sparked the demonstrations, women protesters are also challenging their secondary status to men in government, child rearing, marriage and the workforce. New York Times
– Marriage in Cuba. Cuba voted overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing same-sex couples marriage on your Sunday election. Nearly three-quarters of those eligible to vote turned out for the election and more than two-thirds voted for legalization. CNN
– Parental Leave Equity. UK-based bank NatWest offers employees, regardless of gender, up to one year of paid parental leave. Chief Executive Officer Alison Rose says the bank hopes to support a “wider culture change” and “do more to help families thrive.” Telegraph
– There are no good excuses. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Monday that there is “there are no good excuses” for the lack of women in technology, adding that there are not enough women in computing and that schools should require coding courses for all students before they complete their education. BBC
ON MY RADAR
Michelle Branch and millennials, the unbreakable bond Washington Post
Why is Hollywood still so obsessed with the stepford wives? the Cut
Malala goes to Hollywood: how Strange thingsLoving activist wants to shake up television. Variety
We Sell The Bride: Bachelorette Parties Ask Strangers To Foot The Bill Wall Street Journal
“It is important for women to see that there is freedom on the other side of fear.”
—Retired track and field athlete Allyson Felix who started Saysh, a footwear and lifestyle brand, after speaking out against Nike’s maternity policies.