Perfect 10 offer a wide range of luxury beauty services by highly trained therapists, available in the comfort of your own home. Founded four years ago by Charlie McCorry and Claire Aggarwal, Perfect 10 was one of the first mobile beauty services around. From knocking on people’s doors in the early days, to advertise their beauty services, Perfect 10 are now available to fly around the world with their clients ensuring all their beauty, health and wellness needs are met. In case of a beauty emergency they offer a luxury membership in the form of their Black Label service, which is available 24 hours. They really do bring a new meaning to luxury, customer service.
The Interview (London) talks to Charlie McCorry on the creative, strategic and business process of starting out, following their dreams and creating a sustainable mobile beauty business.
Please can you introduce yourself and your role within the company?
My names Charlie and I am one of the directors and founders of Perfect 10, mobile beauty. Perfect 10 has been running for 4 ½ years now and I have a business partner, Claire Aggarwal.
How did your partnership come about?
We were actually both rivals within the mobile beauty industry, before we met. I was the first franchisee to set up Urban Retreats At Home, I helped to set up their mobile beauty company. And I was doing mobile beauty treatments myself, travelling the world with my clients. And I had a very, very good business doing it. Then Claire and I got introduced through mutual friends and contemporaries within the industry. Claire was doing similar things within mobile beauty, we just got on very well and we thought why not put both of our businesses together and build a partnership. And so we did!
What were you doing prior to starting Perfect 10?
I’ve been in the industry for about 15 years and I have been a beauty therapist all the way through. I went to university and studied a Cosmetic Science degree. And then I worked in salons around the country. I then went on to buy a franchise from Urban Retreats At Home and then Perfect 10!
Everyone used to say, the amount of hours you put in, the dedication and everything for somebody else, why don’t you do it for yourself. And I was thinking, oh no I am much better off being managed and told what to do, than managing anybody else. And I think I am quite a people pleaser, I like to be given tasks and being told to fulfil them. And obviously when you’re on your own, you have to set your own tasks and find that self-motivation. That was my fear at the beginning.
But then I was in the salon and we used to get a concessional beauty magazine every month, and in there I read an article about how they were looking to franchise and create a mobile beauty company. I just thought, you know what I am going to apply and I did. Out of 200,000 applicants, I got it.
Everything just went from there, working with the franchise taught me a lot about myself and you have to find that self motivation and go out and get it, no one is going to give you anything, you have to go and get it for yourself.
What sort of thoughts went through your mind when taking the leap?! The good and the bad!
When Claire and I set up together, it was great, it was a bit of a relief I suppose after running my own business before. To be able to share it with somebody, the good and the bad, to sit there and bounce ideas off of each other and run ideas backwards and forwards, that was definitely a huge relief to be able to do.
We were one of the first real mobile beauty companies around and we just wanted to make it work. 4 ½ years ago there was nowhere near the amount of competition that there is now. There were probably around two or three other mobile beauty companies that were known.
What we really try to achieve is a personal customer service. Obviously with apps and online businesses there is the sense of talking to a machine. We find that people still like to speak to someone when they’re making their booking. They still like to be able to send an email and know who they’re speaking too. Especially when someone is coming to your house, it’s a service; it’s not like someone picking you up in a cab that you’ll never see again. They are coming into your home and it’s a really private, personal thing. People want to know it’s a reputable company so we really strive to have a high standard of customer service.
Can you tell us some more about Perfect 10 and the need/gap in the market for this type of business with the rise and prevalence of technology and our instantaneous lifestyles?
We have lots of elements, which we use, that make the business easier for our customers and us. For example, in terms of how they pay, we don’t accept cash. Things such as this have really helped our business to grow and develop. Using the PayPal Here card machines to take payments at people’s houses has really revolutionised how we work. The use of PayPal has been a key component in the growth of our business, simplifying how we work. It’s also much safer for our beauty therapists, as obviously they are travelling on the road. And it’s a key element for us in terms of reporting and keeping on top of our accounts.
With Perfect 10, we have our Black Label service, which is a 24hr service and we travel all around the world. The gap that we feel there is in the market is that there aren’t any other companies, which offer this standard of service on a 24hr basis.
How did you find/ approach your first clients?
We did have a good address from working in the industry prior to opening! But really everything came from word-of-mouth at the beginning. We didn’t have much cash to spend on massive amounts of marketing, billboards or advertising. We didn’t have any investment so we just used simple methods. I remember going around Knightsbridge and knocking on peoples doors and introducing myself as a local therapist. Looking back that seems crazy, but I actually got quite a lot of clients from it!! Now with social media you can connect with so many people so easily.
What makes your company unique?
The Black Label is a luxury 24hr service. It’s a membership with a full consultation so the client can have the service catered to their exact needs. For example, they may want a personal trainer twice a week or they might want a facial once a week or even a massage at a certain time every evening. Lots of our clients travel around the world and we can travel with them so that they can keep their routines. It is a really high end, luxury service.
When did you first have the idea and what were your next steps, coming up with the name, the branding etc?
The branding for us was quite a fun process. We came up with the idea of the polka dot Mini’s. They aren’t necessarily the best looking things in the world, but they really work! We wanted a creative talking point and that’s exactly what the Mini’s did.
Then the next steps were just the usual, getting a domain name, getting an office. You really are just turning your dream into more of a reality. I mean from when we started, we must have changed offices about 4 times! We started in a very, very small office, just one room off of the Kings Road. Everything has changed and developed.
Did you have a backup plan?
Nope, just full on go for it, all in! Then there’s basically no option, other than it has to work!
The only thing was that my grandfather said that I had to get a degree, so I would have something to fall back on.
How did your friends/ family react to you branching out on your own?
I think my friends found it quite strange, they think I am crazy still! To go and start your own business with no guarantee of money is a kind of crazy thing but I’ve never been scared of that, I could of always gone and got a job, I’d go and sweep the streets if I needed to! I think it’s about following your dream. My family were all really supportive, my mum especially.
What key pieces of advice would you offer to other entrepreneurs today?
Go with your gut 100%, your gut is always right. Listen to your instincts. Another thing I would say is you have to keep on top of your accounts. You don’t have to be the best accountant, but you need to know exactly what is coming into your business and what is going out, at every point. Keep on top of it all.