Customer Spotlight: Ursula’s About Phace Rittenhouse Makeup Studio
Ursula Augustine was recently awarded the title of Software Savant in DaySmart’s 2021 Small Business Brilliance Awards. This recognition celebrates customers who have acted resourcefully, leveraging their dynamic DaySmart toolkit to continue driving business forward.
After working as a makeup artist in a hotel beauty studio for years, Ursula wondered why, in a city as big as Philadelphia, there still weren’t any spaces dedicated exclusively to makeup services. She got to work designing a business plan to fill this gap and, fourteen years ago, opened Ursula’s About Phace Rittenhouse Makeup Studio. We recently spoke with her about her experience running a trailblazing business and how software usage plays into her strategy.
Ursula's About Phace
Q: To start, we’d love to learn a little more about your business.
A: We are Philadelphia’s premier destination for all things beauty. The “ph” in our name represents the city, as well as the protective level of pH in the skin. We specialize in professional makeup for real life, as well as for print and video. I want clients to be able to go from the sidewalk to the catwalk.
We also offer microblading and my patented brow shaping service, Bonzeye Brow Sculpting, which doesn’t use wax. I could make more money with waxing, but my priority is to protect clients’ skin. I’m taking a quality service business approach, and people really appreciate that. In fact, we’re a five-time Best of Philly Magazine winner, and we were recognized as a Hotspot in Philadelphia by Allure.
Q: You were also recently awarded the Software Savant title. What inspired you to adopt a program like Salon Iris?
A: I got Salon Iris as soon as we opened because I realized I was going to be a one-woman show. I thought that all I needed was a chair and a product line – and a great software program to be my teammate.
I love Salon Iris, and I’ve stayed true to the system because I can always get customer service support when I need it. I’m not great with technology, so it’s reassuring to know that I can always call in and have a human being help me with an issue.
Q: Which features do you use?
A: I use the digital appointment book, which gives my staff and clients 24/7 access to schedules. I’m connected to the mobile app so I can stay on top of business and hear money coming in with each appointment even when I’m not in the studio. Clients also love to communicate with me—work-related or not—so I often use the two-way texting and email features so that we can keep in touch.
The ability to add notes to each clients’ profiles is very handy. Within the software, I can write down clients’ makeup formulas and purchase history, which cuts down on paper and helps me remember which services they like for the next time they’re in. More importantly, I can make comments to remember everything that’s going on in their lives. For example, one client told me she’d just had a baby, so I wrote down her baby’s name in the system so that I could ask how he was the next time she was in. She was so impressed! You meet so many people working in a studio, so Salon Iris helps me make each of them feel special.
Q: You also conducted teleconsultations during the pandemic. Tell us about those.
A: Stylists are like therapists, so when we closed during the pandemic, my team and I needed a way to stay in touch with clients. I called Salon Iris’ customer service team for help, and they taught me how to run the teleconsultations. I used my newsletter to promote how clients could meet with me virtually for at-home tutorials, like how to do their brows for Zoom conferences. These meetings would turn into us catching up, and it would feel just like our fun, in-person studio visits.
Bringing a smile to everyone’s face helped us all get through the past year. Now that people are getting vaccinated, hopefully, life in the city starts moving again and I get to see more clients in person. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.