Uber and Lyft are not the only on-demand companies tapping into the sharing economy to bring services to seniors aging in pace at home—one salon startup is following the model to address both cosmetic and, sometimes, even medical needs.
Year-and-a-half-old company Belle Cares provides affordable, easy-to-book beauty services to seniors at home, in assisted living communities, in hospice care settings and elsewhere. Seniors, their family members and caregivers can book appointments by visiting BelleCares.com and calling the number provided to set up an account. Beauty services offered by Belle Cares range from haircuts and nail care to facials and makeup applications. Massages, yoga and fitness sessions are also available.
The company, based in the Nashville, Tennessee, area, began by offering general at-home beauty care, and, about six months in, discovered that at least one-third of its clients were seniors, Belle Cares CEO Armand Lauzon told Home Health Care News. That’s when he decided to make the company senior-focused and prioritize quality care for seniors who cannot or do not wish to travel to a brick-and-mortar salon. He sees opportunities for the company to expand geographically in the future and offer services, ranging from nail care for $27 to a massage for $79, to more senior clients nationwide. Belle Cares has also done some pilot programs with senior housing providers, testing out the possibility of partnerships in the future.
Lauzon emphasized that beyond offering convenience and luxury, the beauty services offered can even solve or prevent a medical need. For example, without proper nail care and upkeep, seniors can develop infections or other issues.
“One client we had was an elderly woman who had a stroke and was bedridden,” Lauzon said. “Her family didn’t know there were options for salon services. Once they found us, they booked many of our services, and afterward, we got so much positive feedback from the client, her family and the service providers. It made such a difference to that client, fulfilling a need and providing a feeling of dignity.”
Belle Cares follows the sharing economy philosophy, meaning zero cash is exchanged. Clients upload a credit card, and right before the appointment, payment is collected. Belle Cares holds the transaction until the check-out at the end of the service, then the money goes to the provider. A 20% tip is automatically applied, and everything is tracked digitally.
Beauty service professionals and fitness providers alike are carefully vetted and interviewed to make sure they have the appropriate licensure and skills needed. Additionally, Lauzon stresses the importance of having discussions with applicants about their experience working with seniors and whether they are prepared to offer quality services and a friendly attitude.
“After vetting and training, we watch the first five appointments a service provider gives very closely and follow up with the clients to make sure they’re happy,” Lauzon said. “When providers are going into homes, having quality service is so important to ensure that everyone feels comfortable.”
Written by Elizabeth Jakaitis