Beauty on the go: Go-Glam and Houzcall

Two on-demand beauty and personal care platforms in Indonesia manage to coexist.

Indonesia’s beauty and personal care industry is a promising sector with high potential growth. According to Statista, total revenue in the country’s cosmetics and personal care market is projected to be USD 4.37 billion in 2019, and the market is expected to grow annually by 4.4%. Statista also suggests that skin care is the largest segment in the industry, with a market volume of USD 1.67 billion in 2019, or about 38% of the entire cosmetics sector.

With consumers prepared to spend money on personal care, beauty salons will also see increased footfalls, especially in bigger cities like Jakarta and Surabaya, with more than 1,000 beauty salons in the capital alone. In the age of smartphones and apps with on-demand options, as the spending power of Indonesia’s middle class continues to rise, and with information about beauty and grooming trends being just a tap or click away, it’s almost natural to bring those services into our homes too.

Go-Glam and Houzcall

As a pioneer in on-demand service in Southeast Asia, Go-Jek consistently introduces new services to make itself a bigger part of its users’ spending patterns. In February 2017, the unicorn launched a standalone Go-Life app with features like Go-Glam, Go-Massage, Go-Clean, Go-Auto, and more. The idea was to let Go-Jek’s users order the services of a masseuse, hairstylist, or other providers, and bring them to one’s doorstep.

Go-Glam offers a wide range of services, including hair and nail treatment; makeup, hair, and hijab styling; waxing; facial treatment; and more. Prices range from IDR 65,000 (USD 4.51) for flat ironing short hair to IDR 500,000 (USD 34.69) for eyelash extensions. At the moment, it is available in 24 cities in Indonesia.

Screenshot of the Go-Glam app

Go-Glam is arguably the leader of beauty-on-the-go in Indonesia. According to research by the University of Indonesia, Go-Life contributed IDR 1.2 trillion (USD 83 million) to the Indonesian economy in 2018. The platform also encourages the development of SMEs and women’s participation in the digital economy. Through partnerships with Go-Jek, 97% of individuals who offer their services on Go-Life see an increase in income. The research suggested that the average monthly income of Go-Life partners in Greater Jakarta is IDR 4.8 million (USD 337), which is higher than the minimum wage of IDR 3.9 million (USD 273). Moreover, about 70% of Go-Life’s 12,000 partners are women, and half of them are breadwinners for their families.

Even so, Go-Glam isn’t the only player in the field. Another platform in Indonesia with similar services is Houzcall, which was founded in 2015 by David Susanto and Priescilia Chairil, a married couple.

It all started one night when Chairil’s favorite salon was slammed, and she was unable to prepare there before attending an event. It was a busy weekend evening, and most good salons were fully booked. The pair then realized there was an untapped opportunity in providing beauty on-demand.

“We see that the Indonesian beauty industry has huge potential, especially since Indonesians are becoming increasingly aware of their well-being,” Susanto told KrASIA. “We also have a mission to improve the livelihoods of informal skill providers like beauticians or massage therapists. I notice many informal workers around me, especially women, have good skills and good work attitudes, but they need to be away from their family for work. This is where the idea of Houzcall came from—we can empower them by providing a flexible work opportunity.”

Houzcall initially took orders through WhatsApp. Its services are now available on its website and through Android and iOS apps. Susanto said he was inspired by the emergence of on-demand platforms, including Go-Jek. “The demand of beauty service is always stable and even increasing consistently,” he said.

There’s a good reason for Susanto to be optimistic. According to him, Houzcall has been showing a an average growth of 15% in user numbers per month. Although the platform is only active in Greater Jakarta for now, Houzcall has almost 10,000 orders every month—far more than its 200 partners can handle. Having to let orders slip is the biggest challenge for Houzcall right now, Susanto says.

Screen Shot of Houzcall app

Houzcall has a strict selection process when signing on beautician partners, who must undergo several tests and additional training. “For us, quality is everything, we have a high standardization of services and products. On average, from all the people who apply to become our partners, only 20% can pass our test each month. We also provide training for them to meet our standards,” Susanto said.

Through the Salon by Houzcall mobile app, the company offers hair treatment and styling services, nail treatment, waxing, and massages. It’s more expensive than Go-Glam, starting from IDR 150,000 (USD 10.38) for a 60-minute body massage to IDR 800,000 (USD 55.34) for a four-hour spa manicure and pedicure. With such prices, Houzcall brands itself as a premium service, targeting upper middle class spenders. For both Houzcall and Go-Glam, the platform takes a 30% cut.

Susanto says that Houzcall remains relevant because the company has managed to maintain customer trust, and that nearly half of the orders that come in are made by repeat clients. Although the firm is a small player compared to Go-Glam, he doesn’t feel threatened because Houzcall targets a different market segment.

“I think in the beauty service industry, quality is more important than the size of the business,” Susanto said. “As long as we can give what a customer needs, I’m sure that we’ll be doing okay.”

This year, Houzcall plans to expand its services in Surabaya and Bali, and also step into e-commerce by launching an online store for beauty and wellness products. For Susanto, it’s important to ensure that the partners on Houzcall’s platform are taken care of too. In addition to a transparent profit-sharing system, Houzcall provides financing options to its partners, giving them a chance to improve their living standards.

“We promote family principles at Houzcall. We are happy to know that after joining Houzcall, many partners can fulfill their kids’ school needs and some of them are even able to build houses in their hometowns,” Susanto said. “Although we are a small company, we look after each other here.”