Vive, the startup that promised unlimited hair blowouts for $99, changes course

Vive founder CEO alanna gregoryViveVive founder Alanna Gregory

Vive, a beauty startup known for unlimited blowouts, is changing its business model.

So far, women have loved paying for access to as many blowouts — that means wash and dry, no haircuts or colouring — as they can schedule for $99 a month. Given the average blowout is around $60, it was a big savings.

Yet, a year and 34,000 bookings later, its CEO Alanna Gregory would describe it less like a ClassPass for beauty and more like a Hotel Tonight.

The company confirmed to Business Insider that it is ditching its subscriber model and opting for the a la carte option.

Rather than booking days in advance, many of its subscribers would look for a last-minute blowout to squeeze into their schedules, Gregory explained. 44% of women booked on the same day and 26% booked the day before, according to the company.

“That’s when we realised we had hit on something that fit on a clear need for women,” Gregory said.

The company has been experimenting with pricing to try and find the best fit for customers. In October, Vive introduced new pricing and raised the unlimited subscription up to $175. It also started offering a cheaper monthly subscription for two or four visits a month.

Three months later, Vive is removing the subscription model entirely.

“When we did focus groups, we realised how much important last minute booking was,” Gregory said.

The new Vive features a la carte packages that will run $35 for one blowout, $99 for three, and $150 for five. The one blowout package expires in 30 days, but the larger ones run for a year.

The unlimited blowout package it launched with has been discontinued for the time being. Existing members can continue their membership, but the business won’t be accepting new sign-ups, Gregory confirmed.

Gregory claims that the business never had negative gross margins, but the price increases are a change to both match its customer habits and make Vive a sustainable business for the long term.

To her it’s not a pivot in the business, but matching Vive’s services to how women were already using it.

“We moved from a core one-size fits all model to one that really fit and improved women’s lifestyles,” Gregory said.

Investors also agree with the change of course. The company announced today that it has closed a new $2.3 million seed funding round led by Deep Fork Capital with participation from Y Combinator, Crunchfund, Ludlow Ventures, Vayner RSE, Maveron, Expansion Venture Capital, T5 Capital, Kosinski Ventures, Haystack Fund, and angel investors Pascal Levy-Garboua, Paul Buchheit, and Scooter Braun’s SB Projects.

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