Melbourne tech entrepreneur Matt Jones has set his sights on conquering the beauty and wellness category with the launch of a new online beauty platform called Honee that is set to both innovate the sector, and grow rapidly within Australia and beyond.
With a string of successful senior roles at food and dining tech platforms including Delivery Hero, Quandoo Asia Pacific and Zomato, which he launched in Australia following its acquisition of Urbanspoon, Jones identified the fast growing beauty and wellness sector as his next foray. He has moved quickly to secure funding of over $500,000 from investors to bring his concept to life.
The Honee concept is simple; the platform is dedicated to making beauty and wellness experiences easier. It is an online directory with incredibly detailed customer information as well as the capability for instant bookings.
On Honee, customers can find a description of the business, GPS coordinates of the entrance, accurate store hours, a suite of photographs inside and out, full service menus and price lists, making it much more convenient for locals and tourists to find and engage with service providers, and for businesses to be found.
Having signed up over 8,500 restaurants across his time in food tech, Jones knew the process and secured 177 businesses in nine days for Honee. The platform now covers over 4,000 businesses in Melbourne, spanning beauty, hair and nail salons, massage/day spas, and fitness and training studios.
Covering 10,000kmsq of Melbourne on foot delivered an insight that made pounding the pavement worthwhile: the Honee team discovered 61 percent of businesses in this space do not have websites and are therefore difficult or impossible to find online.
What is the story behind Honee?
The idea for Honee was conceived by Jones during his own regular beauty ritual – while getting a haircut at a Melbourne salon. Having recently arrived back from two years overseas, he had no idea where to go that was close to his office, googled without luck and later discovered a quality hair salon in the basement.
Being urged by the hair salon owner to create a way for customers to find him was just the push Jones needed and he could instantly see the valuable benefits Honee could provide small businesses.
As Jones’ experience shows, Honee’s appeal is not limited to a female target market, with demand from males (who are more likely to search for grooming and wellness services online than seek recommendations from friends) already high.
“The potential to innovate in the beauty category is huge. Overwhelmingly consumers use search engines for information (despite many small businesses having a limited online presence), make a phone call to enquire about pricing and to book, and then arrive to either a good or bad experience. Honee simplifies the process, ensuring customers can locate all the options in their desired area and transact with the best choice for them,” explains Jones.
“I have seen first hand how businesses like Urbanspoon changed consumer behaviour towards eating out, where Australians spend 8 percent of their disposable income on out of home dining. Compare that to the beauty and wellness sector where Aussie households are spending up to 38 percent of their disposable income and we have a very exciting opportunity for Honee.”