Meet the Enterprise Nation member: Revolutionising the way women apply make-up with augmented reality

Meet the Enterprise Nation member: Revolutionising the way women apply make-up with augmented reality
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation

Posted: Mon 13th Nov 2017

Enterprise Nation member and technology entrepreneur Gaynor Matthews is the creator of WOW HOW, an app that uses augmented reality to teach make-up styles based on the user's facial features. She tells her inspiring story.

Want us to tell your story? Become a member of Enterprise Nation today from only £3 a month and get lots of amazing small business benefits.

Company name: Virtual Beautician

Company Twitter: @wowhowapp

Where in the UK are you based? West Midlands

How have you funded your business? Investor

Explain how you secured the funding for your business.

I also have a support business for start-ups called Sway Solutions. The private investor group I set up and work with for this company invests in tech so when I had my light bulb moment they provided the initial funding for development and launch.

Later this year I will be looking for series A funding to expand and build the WOW HOW brand.

Describe your business in one sentence.

Revolutionising the way women apply make-up, empowering them to step away from their tried and tested looks to try something fun and new.

How did you come up with your idea and turn it into an actual business?

I'd just done an investment in a serious games developer and at the same was approached by a local beautician wanting to expand her business.

I did the usual consultancy support and said unless you can clone yourself then it was too time consuming, risky and costly for her to expand her business.

That night I had my light bulb moment.

I had experienced a virtual reality welding game and suddenly came up with creating a virtual beautician and the WOW HOW app was born.

Every woman wants to look good but doesn't always know how or where to get the best advice for their features,

I wanted to find out a way to see and learn at the same time. You Tube videos are fantastic but the model wasn't me.

Through AR, WOW HOW shows users makeup styles on their face and then provides through latest mobile technology customised tutorials based on the facial features and skin tone.

What start-up challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

The first challenge was turning an idea into reality and getting investors to see the potential.

WOW HOW is not just an consumer app; it has been designed to be white labelled for beauty brands and retailers and has more than one string to it's bow.

Secondly, research and development. We spent three months working out how it would all work but this wasn't long enough. Moving into development was too quick which had a knock on effect.

Once we got to alpha, this also threw up some design and technical issues. Compromise and flexibility was needed to overcome the issues.

Finally, timing to release. We had missed a number of key dates but we had to coordinate our PR and marketing to coincide with our launch on the app store. It wasn't perfect but we just had to take the plunge!

What has been your biggest achievement with your business so far?

Taking a idea from my head and making it a reality.T

The app services a need. Every day I speak to women and they all say I would love to change my make-up style but don't know where to start.

Counter consultations are not a place to learn and you are always pressured into buying product, so as soon as I explain what WOW HOW can do they are amazed.

What is your next big business goal?

Reaching out and connecting with beauty brands and retailers directly offer our white label solution.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge getting there?

Being able to reach the right person at the right level within the organisations.

How has Enterprise Nation helped your business?

Connections. I went on the Go Global New York trade mission earlier this year and met some very good people. I've also had some personal introductions to retailers.

What are your tips for business success based on your experiences so far?

Research your idea thoroughly.

Don't just do it yourself and spend money to support your own belief.

Protect your idea with patents, trademarks etc. if you can from the outset.

Keep control of the finances, stick to your budget and always build in some contingency.

Want us to tell your story? Become a member of Enterprise Nation today from only £3 a month and get lots of amazing small business benefits.

Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.