The power of beauty in the consumers’ hands

Beauty Buddy is designed to put the power of beauty in the consumers hands. Users of the app can search or scan the barcode of a beauty product to access reviews from friends, influencers, and other members of the community.

What is the vision? To become the go to app for all things beauty and cosmetic, a trusted place for product reviews from your cohort of friends and followers.

CEO and Co-Founder, Wendy Slattery has an eclectic background in retail, e-commerce and sales, however, has always come back to leadership roles. It was her entrepreneurial spirit that, despite growing up with no business role model in the family, led her to co-found Beauty Buddy with her sister.

Beauty Buddy is an unbiased platform for consumers to go to for beauty product reviews. Think of it as the TripAdvisor or Trustpilot of the beauty industry. However, from a brand/retailer perspective, it is also a data analytics company, building the bridge between retailers, brands and consumers.

The lightbulb moment

The idea comes from personal experience. In 2017, sisters Tracy Leavy and Wendy Slattery were shopping, browsing for new makeup brushes, when they faced with an overwhelming number of options. When they asked for help, they were bombarded by more questions, and when they searched online, the pair couldn’t differentiate between legitimate and fake reviews.

“Imagine if you could just scan the product and get all the information you needed to decide if it was what you were looking for on the screen,” said Wendy, over coffee.

“Imagine…,” replied Tracy. And Beauty Buddy was born in this moment.

Beauty Buddy therefore has been built with the consumer in mind: “Everything we’re building, we’re building because we know the problem, we face ourselves,” said Wendy.

She continued: “We know nobody trusts the brand websites with their reviews. You also have the retailers’ websites, but we know some of these reviews aren’t legit either.”

Then you move down to influencers. Some are trust-worthy, but many don’t know what they’re talking about, and with sponsored posts and ads in the mix it is difficult to know what is legitimate. This is where Beauty Buddy comes in, a platform allowing conversation,so people can make comments and ask questions about products to get a true understanding of whether something is likely to work for them. The plan is to build on this further and make education key to the app, with the hope of brands hosting ‘meet the brand’ or ‘learn about the product’ sessions.

It's also important to Wendy that Beauty Buddy remains a community cultivating positive mental health and empowerment, focusing on encouraging users to enhance their own natural beauty.

Brands working with Beauty Buddy vary from startups to huge names in the industry, including Bioderma and Vita Liberata. “We’re trying to help beauty brands by bringing more brand awareness to them via the app. Our thinking is that if we help them grow, we can grow with them,” said Wendy.


“Everyone out there, even if it’s your pen and paper, is your competitor. It’s how someone was doing what you were doing before you came along,” said Wendy.

Beauty Buddy has competitors in individual aspects of what it does, but not as a whole, meaning it lacks comprehensive competitors. For example, there are companies handing out product samples, but they are missing the database or feedback. There are also data analytics companies, but many focus on point of sales, whereas Beauty Buddy focus on consumer.

Raising funds

Astonishingly, in 2021, female founders raised just two percent of venture capital money.

“Often, men are biased towards women without even realising it. They don’t realise they are doing it, therefore it’s very hard to change,” said Wendy.

“We’re also held to different standards. If we’re being forward, we’re labelled bitchy whereas often men are deemed confident. The only way we will really see change in the investment industry is when women like myself, and other women in startups exit their startups and help other female founders with investment,” she added.

We have moved forward, and it’s important to acknowledge this, especially comparing where we are in 2022 with 50 years ago, but it is a slow process. Beauty Buddy has raised a pre-seed round of £575,000 and plan to close its current round at £700,000. This current funding round is focused on knowledge and experience, finding investors that will add value.

“I’m really finding the investment journey more challenging because of relying on meeting people on Zoom over the past two years, rather than in person. “We’re excited for it to close so we can make moves!”


Brands pay Beauty Buddy to send out their products to app users who are part of the Beauty Squad, meaning they’ve left a minimum of 10 product reviews. Products are tailored to app users, meaning they should work for their skin type and age range. Therefore, users are likely to be happy with the products they are sent, and then leave positive reviews for them, benefiting the brands.

From the data side, Beauty Buddy then report to the brand the demographics for people who liked the product the most, and the least, providing reasons why. This then acts as valuable feedback, helping brands to market better.

The second element is affiliate links. Beauty Buddy also focus on bespoke competitive data, analysing the demographic of consumers of beauty products, narrowing them down. This

will enable brands to better target their marketing as they become more aware of who specifically likes and uses their products, and the reasons why. This is vital in the beauty industry as currently brands have access to small amounts of data to make their decisions, and the data they do have is expensive and often quite irrelevant.

Empathy is a superpower

Beauty Buddy plans to scale, focusing on the UK over the next year, and the US after that as many of the brands the startup is working with are based there.

It also wants to be the go-to place for when brands are launching a new product: “We want to be the first platform that brands inform,” said Wendy. As with most startup journeys, Wendy’s journey has been a rollercoaster. “For me, a standout moment was when the first review was left on the app on the App Store. Then it was our first hire, growing our team.

“It’s all the little stepping stones that let you see the bigger picture, and I’m really enjoying the journey. I think you have to enjoy everything you do or else you won’t do well,” said Wendy.

She continued: “At the beginning, I would have probably cried if something went wrong, because we are emotional, that’s what makes us women. We’re empathetic, that’s our superpower.”

This article originally appeared in the Sept/Oct issue of Startups Magazine. Click here to subscribe.