There are many paths to becoming a beauty professional, and myriad ways to grow as an entrepreneur. When Rita Rios – a clinical director who works for the Department of Defense – was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and lost her hair and eyelashes, her response was to learn everything she could about eyelashes. Rita trained with Ja'Maal Buster, The Eyelash Guru to the Stars™, and soon started doing eyelashes for clients from her house in Bolingbrook, Illinois.
“Becoming a beauty pro was a freak accident... but I got obsessed with eyelashes and was able to build a six-figure business on the side in the evenings and weekends.”
In 2014, Rita moved into her first salon suite for $150 a week. She expanded to two spaces after acquiring a large number of customers through a successful Groupon campaign, and soon converted the salon suite’s waiting room into a bigger suite due to growing demand for her services. Fast forward six years, Rita acquired a 6,000-square-foot space in April 2020. Her business, Brazilian Spa Suites, operates in the front of the building, and she leases 17 salon suites to up-and-coming beauty professionals in the back. Rita still works full-time as a clinical director, and relies on GlossGenius to manage her burgeoning beauty business.
“I was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Illinois when I was seven, but my family is Brazilian and I spent my summers in Rio de Janeiro as a kid,” says Rita. “Becoming a beauty pro was a freak accident because it wouldn’t have happened had I not got sick, but I got obsessed with eyelashes and was able to build a six-figure business on the side in the evenings and weekends. Now I have my own med spa and rent salon space to other beauty professionals who offer a range of services, from lashes and facials to body contouring. I started from the beginning and learned everything through trial and error, so I try to give them support and guidance I didn't have. I don’t just say ‘Okay, you’ve moved in, thank you for your money.’ I really try to invest in them and set them on a track where they can build their businesses and make a six-figure income, too. I’m a single mom of four children aged 12 to 26, and have four pets to take care of as well, but GlossGenius makes it all manageable.”
When Rita started, she used StyleSeat and then Vagaro to manage her business, but was put off by the look and feel of both, found their appointment confirmation processes frustrating, and wanted a salon booking app that allowed her business and brand to shine. She joined GlossGenius in May 2020, recommends it to all of the beauty professionals at her salon suite, and enthusiastically shares her referral link online.
“GlossGenius has saved me the cost of an entire employee... I don’t need a front desk person at all.”
Today, Brazilian Spa Suites offers HydraFacials, Botox, O-shots, and massage treatments, as well as business and beauty classes. Rita has added employees and services to her GlossGenius account and booking site, making it easy for the growing team to manage client profiles, accept bookings online, and track everyone's schedules.
“For me, visuals are important and StyleSeat and Vagaro both have this kiddy-ish, Excel spreadsheet look to them,” says Rita. “There was no pizzazz – their booking sites are geared to them and make your business look just regular. But with GlossGenius, the aesthetics are beautiful, it has a modern touch, and there's nothing out there like it. I left StyleSeat when they started charging $35 a month – it was fine when it was free but wasn't worth paying for – and Vagaro charges $10 extra every month for each additional team member, whereas with GlossGenius, I'm paying the same low subscription price even as I build my team. What's more, GlossGenius has saved me the cost of an entire employee – it has all of the existing data and demographics of the clientele I have built over the years and I don't need a front desk person at all.”
Like most business owners, Rita needs to keep track of her income and expenses. GlossGenius makes it easy to see how many clients the team has booked, their average ticket price, and how much the business has made in a given day, week, quarter, or year-to-date. Since adding team members and new services, Brazilian Spa Suites has increased revenue by 300%, and that's not including rental income from the salon suites.
“GlossGenius is innovative, trendy, draws people to your business, and makes you look like the professional you are.”
When it comes to payments, Rita has recently activated her GlossGenius card reader and now requires new clients to leave a card on file on booking. This allows clients to pay effortlessly with any credit card, makes checkout, accepting tips, and rebooking easy, and helps her get paid faster.
“GlossGenius is innovative, trendy, draws people to your business, and makes you look like the professional you are,” says Rita. “The most valuable features of the app are the automatic analytics and detailed reports GlossGenius provides. I really like that breakdown and it motivates me to see all of my revenue, at-a-glance or in detail. There have been times when we've had people who want to collaborate with us and they want to see our numbers. Thanks to GlossGenius, I can just print that out before I go to a meeting so they can see our clientele, our returning percentages, and how we generate revenue. In the past, I’ve found that other POS systems charge a lot in processing fees and take a long time to transfer the funds, but with GlossGenius I pay a low, flat fee for payment processing, and receive the money in my account the next day. I also have a beautiful card reader with a marble design that matches the floors of the salon. For new customers, it's a new encounter, you're feeling their energy, and towards the end when it's time to pay I love that they're like 'Oh, I have a card on file' and then I just hit it and it takes it right out.”
Rita plans to keep growing her business empire, starting with another salon suite space and then Airbnb properties in Dubai and Cabo. Unsurprisingly, she has no plans to retire anytime soon.