Woman smiling and looking at a tablet in her kitchen.

Faces Consent App: The Inside Scoop The Insync Insurance Podcast

Please Introduce Yourself

Ben: So, my name’s Ben O’Brien, and I’m the co-founder of Faces Consent App. What my role is on day-to-day is to help grow the app and our user base as well as business development and partnerships and make sure that everybody in the beauty and aesthetics industry is aware that there’s a free app out there that allows them to run the business. So we do everything we can, pretty much everything that we can do to try and onboard as many users as possible and make the business a success. That’s what my main role is.

How did you both come up with the app idea?

Ben: Well, the app, when we first came up with the idea just over two years ago, what happened was we were running already about four different aesthetic clinics. So, my business partner is an aesthetic practitioner. We just qualified as a nurse at the moment, he’s doing his prescribing course. But what we did was a few years ago, we ran around the country doing clients. So all the way up from Newcastle all the way down to London treating clients every week, I was helping on the business side while actually was doing injectables. What we found the issue was, uh, we would come back at the end of the week. We have hundreds and dozens, dozens of consent forms on pieces of paper. These consent forms are difficult to manage because we would have before and after photos offline. And then we tried to find the consent forms that matched the photos as well as read the writing. And I thought, this is too difficult to manage because we can’t store all this paperwork everywhere.

Is this the right mess? So I said to Ash, why don’t we just try and find a consent form provider? And he said, Hey. I said, okay, so that’s fine. So what I did was I rang around a couple of consent form providers, and I said to one of them, I said, we don’t have much money to pay for this service ’cause we’re just starting off. The guy wanted a hundred pounds a month. And then I said, I can give you 50 pounds for the service ’cause no amount of technology, everything can be negotiated. And he was, now I want the full hundred. And I said, ah, okay, no problem. And I just said, I’ll go and build my own then because I only wanted something really basic. So I said, my brother is a designer, and we had a team; he had a team in India, a tech team that could turn things around quite quickly.

Ben: So I said to my brother, Paul, we wanna just create a consent form template so we can just store all our consent forms on a server, and if it needs to come back to them, they’re all there. Uh, we didn’t wanna do it for anybody else; we just wanted to do it for ourselves. Um, and then my brother said, yeah, no problem. So he went nuts with the quick design. We spoke to some guys in India and then they could just, and and they created us within 15 days. We had this template where we stored our own consent forms. We only had four or five different versions of the consent form at the time, and it was very basic and minimalistic. So it then was just doing consent forms and everything else. And then as we used it, we showed other practitioners because every professional said, oh, what do you use consent forms?

And we made our own, called Canvas Consent Forms and we put it in the app ’cause of another brand called Canvas Cosmetics. And then there’s other people were saying, can we use that software as well? And I thought, yeah, no problem. Um, just, just here’s some like details and use it as you wish. I’m not gonna charge you for it ’cause we’re already using it. And then every day a couple of people started joining and started using it. So I thought, oh, there could be a bit of a business model here. So what we did with them was create a brand name, and I thought, what could work? And, you know, faces, because everyone is treating the face and we created the brand name faces, we changed the colours, we removed the Canvas one, and then we opened up the consent format to everyone to download and use called Faces Consent.

Ben: And then every day we started getting more and more users and then we, and then how we grew so quickly was we kept it free and then we allowed, um, other practitioners to offer their feedback and how we can develop and grow it. So we reached out to dozens and dozens of practitioners and said, check out this free app, do your consent forms. If you’ve got any ideas on how we can improve it, please let me know. And every day I’d get all this feedback, I’d give all the feedback to the Indian developers, and they’d just do all this feedback, and it would really please the practitioner because I felt I’ve got a great service and a model that suits their business. So we just went on that model and just, and just launched it and carried on and carried on building from there.

And like today we’ve got 45,000 practitioners that are registered. Uh, we probably are one of the largest aesthetic apps, uh, on the market that does consent forms. But then we had to obviously, uh, we had to evolve from consent forms to booking diaries and buying products and finding insurance quotes, finding quotes, find a Trend Academy. So we created a basis that became a bit more than just consent forms. It became like a resource hub. So we created this resource hub for any beauty or aesthetic practitioner who wanted to run their business successfully. And it just grew and grew and grew. And everyone says, why? Why is it free? We wanted to keep it free because it allowed us to grow and get the traction that we needed and become this critical mass platform that anybody can use. And then we knew when we hit that tipping point, we could then monetize it because we’d have so many users. And that’s where we are at the moment today.

Dawn: That sounds amazing. I like how it’s just like, you know, we don’t wanna pay that much for some things. We’ll just create ourselves. And then it just kind of exploded. I think it’s really great.

Ben: I was gonna say, Dawn, he’s kicking himself that now because we took all his users after. He should’ve just charged me 50 pounds a month and his some phase would never be, would’ve been anything.

Dawn: It’s crazy, isn’t it? Yeah. Well, I think it’s really good as well because you, I think, just help with the transparency of that kind of paperwork. So obviously, you know, you need to make sure you have all those bits together trying to shuffle through like hundreds of bits of paperwork, which I’m guessing a lot of people maybe still even do struggle with. You know, it’s really great that you’ve created this absolutely amazing solution where it’s all just together. I’m probably just saying to you what everyone else has probably said to you, like, it’s brilliant. It’s like a gold mine.

Ben: That’s good because it worked so well was because we listened to what the users want. We didn’t guess what we want. We didn’t just try and think of things that they think they might want. Uh, we actually interviewed people and I said, what would you want out this business? We had to really dumb it down because there’s no point complicating it or o o over, uh, making the mechanics too difficult because people wouldn’t understand it. We had to really make it as simple as possible. So like, just an example of like, it’s gotta be as easy as a three-year-old or your pet can use. If a three-year-old can’t use it, then it’s never gonna work because not everyone’s technical. We have many of our users that are like technical; they’ve never used an app in their life. They use, they use paper, but now they use faces. It’s so simple. We have like big buttons on there and just make it sure it’s streamlined and simple to use. That’s where I think that’s where we work on from many angles.

Dawn: No, that’s absolutely amazing and it’s great that, you know, a lot of companies I think forget to actually get that consumer feedback straight from the source and actually kind of use it to further themselves. I mean a lot of people do, but you know, it’s, it’s something I think every single business model could actually learn from. Just talk to them. What do you want?

Ben: That takes time. That takes time and money. And where our competitors, I believe went wrong, where their model isn’t as successful. Obviously, there’s more, there are successful bigger models on us. You’ve got, uh, other companies like Fresher who’ve raised about 200 million to do what we do, but they, they copied us on the consent forms and they, and they can’t beat us on the consent forms. They, I spoke to those guys and they’ve got a consent form section, they don’t really focus on it, but they’re better us booking, we’re better than the consent forms and things like that. So we have a lot of users that use fresh air for the booking and they use us as their consent forms. But that’s where we’re, we’re we’re getting better on is the booking side too. Um, but I’ve seen quite a few of these companies come and go over the last couple of years. Where they go wrong is they focus too much on the, on the payment.

They say it’s 30 pounds a month, but yeah, that’s great. But when we’re getting so many signups every day Mm, these signups aren’t established businesses. They could be just someone who’s just qualified as as a practitioner and they’ve spent all their money on training all their money on stock. And now what they’re trying to do is just create a bit of a business. They don’t want another like 30 pounds a month. But what we want to do is give it them totally free, make ’em feel like it’s a great product and then, and then eventually they will help, um, monetize it for you once they, they’ve grown their business with yourself. I think that’s the reason and the reason why we uh, we be at growing the guys.

Dawn: That sounds brilliant. Now obviously, you’re on the INSYNC podcast, so you guys actually do have a partnership with us. Um, I wasn’t here when that happened, actually, so this would be really useful.

How did you come to having a partnership with us?

Ben: I don’t think anyone was interested to start with just like all other partnerships when we first launched, nobody got back. Nobody was interested, just thought it’s not, nothing’s gonna work out. But then I think a few months later, about a year later, one of the guys contacted me and says, I think we can do something here. And what we wanna do is we want to move away from paper consent and go digital. Can we create a platform and too, yeah, no problem. We can re-skin our platform, create a white label for you guys, store all your information, we can then promote it how you want. You can store your client details and you can offer incentives. And I thought, yeah, let’s do that. So it took about, I think, three to six, three to four months to get the partnership all sorted and ready, and now it’s fully functional.

We have a great relationship with the guys at Insync, and we take care of all their customer service for the app and help generally with any of the questions. But how the partnership came around it, which initially was on our insurance, we have a tab on on faces where you can find an insurance provider. And what we do is we, when a client, when a practitioner registers on faces and they’re looking for an insurance, uh, company, they can contact Insync direct for a quote. So, we were sending quite a few leads to Insync in general. And then we forward to scale it up a little bit by offering this white label edition, it works really well. I see a lot people that use it. And it’s just gonna protect you guys in the future for consent and, and booking diaries. And as we, as we grow, the good thing is we put all our new features onto the app as well. So we are happy to grow both platforms. It’s going, I think it’s going quite well.

Dawn: No, I completely agree. I see some of the feedback, and I’ve spoken to some active users face-to-face, uh, well zoom face-to-face, and they absolutely love the app and how amazing it is, how versatile and also just how easy it is to do, they just feel so much more secure with it. ’cause they’ve got, you know, the insurance policy that they know definitely covers everything, but also like a really great resource that can help them, um, run their business. And you know, at the end of the day, you know, the last thing you wanna worry about is paperwork and you know, have I got the right insurance type, you know?

Ben: Absolutely. Yeah, that makes sense.

What’s next for Faces?

Ben: Yeah, so we’ve got next stages. So we have a pharmaceutical side on the app. So what practitioners can do is they can register on our pharmacy, they can find a prescriber, uh, they can write digital prescriptions, they can, they get processed by the pharmacy and get sent. So that’s one of our main revenue streams at the moment. So what we’ve done is we’ve created an Amazon-esque platform where we collate so many sellers in our industry or verified sellers that sell dermal fillers, consumables, and toxins. We put them all into one place allowing the practitioner to come onto the platform and do a one click checkout from lots of different sellers. So just like you go onto Amazon, we created all the aesthetics kind of version of that is working really well. We probably do almost 300,000 pounds a month worth of sales every month through the shop.

So it’s working really well. That’s our major revenue stream. But we’re just about to launch a partnership with a big lending company. What’s gonna happen is that practitioners can offer finance to their clients through the app, and then what will happen is when the finances have been approved, the practitioner receives the money directly into their bank, and then the finance company will chase their clients for their monthly repayments. And nobody else is doing this in our industry. There are not many lenders that offer finance in the aesthetics industry because they think it’s too high risk. But we found a couple that would work on our platform and we believe that’s gonna be a success. They believe they’re gonna do about 24 million pounds worth of finance through phases next year (2023).

Ben: They believed in what we did. They invested 500,000 pounds into the business for an equity stake. So we raised some money two weeks ago to allow us to increase our team, increase the design and structure and help grow where we’re going because for two years we didn’t make any money. So it cost Ashley and me about 20,000 pounds a month at the time to run this business. So every month, I had to pay 20,000 pounds in lockdown as well. 20 grand did go to run an app for free. Many people can’t sustain that. We had to make it work somehow. So then we’ve got the growth and then we managed to raise a first round for 90,000 from some angel investors. And then from this finance company that are gonna offer the finance, they made an angel investment of 500,000. So we’ve got an evaluation now of 5 million pounds on the app. What we’re gonna probably do is we may need to raise another round in the future, or just if we get a really good exit, then that’s fine too. Or we just keep growing into the biggest platform in the beauty industry.

Dawn: That sounds good. It’s very promising for you guys. I’m quite ex excited to see all this shoot off now actually, I’m really excited for you.

Ben: Yeah. So we’ll be offering the finance on CCAP as well. So all your customers, you can then offer finance, through the NC platform today.

Dawn: And you never know as well that might actually bring in more people. Because I think sometimes the prices may feel a bit daunting to customers, which the prices themselves are probably actually very decently laid out because of just like the aesthetics, like skills and everything, and obviously the cost of it and the time it takes and everything else. So it probably would actually just bring in at least twice as many clients maybe if they see that, they can spread it out a little bit more.

Ben: You know, it works on the same kind of model as it’s a buy now pay later model. Yeah. Basically, it’s like Klarna or Clear Pay, but these lending companies that we have on board, that’s what they specialize in aesthetic finance.

Dawn: Okay. Oh wow. That’s amazing. So they, they know what they’re on about themselves.

Ben: Yeah. So we launched that hopefully end of this week or next week and then hopefully it’ll be a success.

Have you got any advice for those wishing to start an app?

Ben: Yeah. Have deep pockets for the start! It’s great to create an app. You can do it; you can do it fairly cheaply. When I say cheap, the cheapest is probably about 20,000 pounds to get a basic model up. But when you’re creating apps, don’t think you’ve created the app and then it’s done forever. An app like Faces is a living and breathing monster machine. It needs fixes and needs tweaks, needs amendments every day. It’s like a big machine that needs staff working on it full-time because things fall apart daily. You need a team of developers to fix that. So it’s not a case of building it and then leaving it, it’s a case of building it and constantly working on it; which is thousands and thousands that tens of thousands of pounds a month to run it.

But it also depends on what you’re trying to do and what you’re trying to create. But I’d always suggest it’s good to get an MVPA a minimum viable product. Don’t create a monster, you’ll always have as a founder this massive idea of what you wanna try and create. But I wouldn’t advise going, creating that. I would create the most basic thing. You can keep it cheap and keep it lean. That’s why Faces did well when we first started, we would just create consent forms. We were just consent forms, nothing else. That’s how we got our traction and our online user base from there. So just keep it very minimal and then you can scale it from there because if you try and make perfection, you’ll be there forever and it will and you’ll run outta money before you even launch find, create something to start with and get some feedback.

Ben: What we did was went onto Facebook groups and I messaged hundreds of people every day saying, just purchase that. Can we have some feedback? Make it feel like they’re part of it. And then that’s how we grew. We grew organically. We didn’t pay for any advertising, it was just all word of mouth. So yeah, so get validation as well before you create something who’s your target market? Ask them and think, oh, that’s a good idea. If everyone says no, it’s a crap idea, don’t do it. But if a few people say it’s a great idea, and they would use it, then do it and test it. Do something basic and if it grows from there, it grows from there.

Dawn: Now it’s fabulous. And I think there’s a lot to take away from your experience, I guess any, anyone who’s looking to start something up. And I think, yeah, there was definitely a gap in the market, I think for you guys as well. So you, you really managed to find that niche and just kind of hone in on it and then develop it as it went along as well. So it was really impressive to hear about the whole history. Um, and also where you, where you guys are gonna go next as well. ’cause it sounds like it’s just the going up and up .

Similar Posts