Helping People Find Safe Places To Get Services Done Without Judgment: Anthara Patrice On My Beauty Fill
A survivor of domestic violence, Anthara Patrice launched a tech company that helps people find safe places to get services done without judgment.
My Beauty Fill is an all-in-one platform for barber and beauty professionals that connects them to consumers through video consulting.
To launch a startup requires perseverance and resilience. My Beauty Fill is Patrice’s second company, and the startup challenges have not deterred her, she said. When an investor who agreed to invest a quarter of a million dollars in her startup ghosted her, she set out to find another one and did so in less than five days.
This type of disappearing act by investors “happens quite a bit,” Patrice told Moguldom. “But on my end, I said ‘OK, this is just another reason to go even harder and to continue to focus on putting out a really good platform.”
What’s her secret sauce? “This may sound really cliché, but after almost losing my life, I feel like I can overcome anything,” Patrice said.
Patrice spoke with Moguldom about her journey as a tech founder and the challenges not often discussed on closing with investors.
Moguldom: Why did you launch My Beauty Fill?
Anthara Patrice: After working in the beauty industry with my family’s business and consulting over the past 23 years, I noticed there were a lot of technology solutions missing for professionals. I realized that having gone through my domestic violence experience, I could tie that with beauty. Helping people find safe places to get services done without judgment. And that is how My Beauty Fill came about.
Moguldom: Who uses your platform and what can they expect when they join?
Anthara Patrice: My Beauty Fill users are beauty professionals and beauty brands. We connect them to their consumers through video consulting, appointment management and then brand management. The video consulting is for pre-service confirmation. Whether you’re getting your hair colored, or maybe the professional needs to see your skin or even talk through the services, the app can help with the communications between the professional and client. Professionals and beauty brands can list products for sale within an area and can also list the products on our marketplace. Also, there is video integration for more brand education. Think of a YouTube experience but it’s very personal. Someone can schedule a one-on-one with the brand, or they can watch brand content. Additionally, beauty professionals can manage their employees on the back including vacation time and breaks. It is great for multiple locations and our users can manage their analytics.
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Moguldom: You’ve said the scariest part of being an entrepreneur is wondering if funding will come through before the next payroll. Do you still have that fear and how do you get over it?
Anthara Patrice: You still have that fear because the money comes and goes. But we actually have recently secured $250,000 from an angel investor and so things have been going really well. Of course, it’s going towards tech and tech is expensive. We’re still seeking more funding so that we can scale and move aggressively throughout the industry. I don’t think you ever really just get over that until you are completely revenue positive, and you’ve really tapped into all of the segments of your business model.
Moguldom: How did you find your investor?
Anthara Patrice: I found the investor through a referral. It is actually a crazy story. We had an investor who had already committed, and we were supposed to meet with the lawyer and get the payment wired and finished. They pretty much ghosted us. And this was someone who I had known and built a relationship with over time. When they came back around, they said some things have changed and they could do it later. Within four and a half days, I had to find another investor to replace that $250,000. And luckily, we were able to find someone. We missed out on AfroTech, but we were able to replace the funding.
Moguldom: How long had you been seeking funding before the investor disappeared on you?
Anthara Patrice: I had actually been in the process since late May, right after we started the beta in early May. Roughly six months.
Moguldom: You mentioned you are still looking for people to invest in your company. After what you went through, you probably have a clearer idea of what the ideal investor looks like for your company. What type of investor do you want?
Anthara Patrice: I want an investor who is transparent about their finances upfront and not on the back end. Someone who actively has an interest in social impact, because that is a huge focal point for My Beauty Fill. I want an investor who has resources to help us not just financially but can be a great board member and knows someone over at Aveda or another organization.
Moguldom: We do not talk enough about how things can go wrong during the fundraising process in the Black tech community. Did this discourage you at all? Did you take this as a sign to stop or that you had connected with a bad investor?
Anthara Patrice: This was more of a flaky investor because that does happen quite a bit in the startup world, especially being a woman of color. It happens quite a bit. But on my end, I said “OK. This is just another reason to go even harder and to continue to focus on putting out a really good platform.”
Moguldom: Besides finding another investor quickly to replace the previous one, what are some other wins you had with your company since launching?
Anthara Patrice: We were accepted to the Consumer Electronics Show 2020. We’re a 2020 startup exhibitor in Startup Alley. So that’s really exciting.
Moguldom: My Beauty Fill is your second company. Any lessons this time around that you’re using from the first company you launched?
Anthara Patrice: To take my time and everything will always work out.
Moguldom: You don’t have a traditional tech background, How did you build your team in order to create the technology needed for My Beauty Fill?
Anthara Patrice: Everyone was from referrals or we had a prior relationship. You know in technology, because there’s so much proprietary information, you have to be really careful about working whoever you work with on your product. But everyone was a referral and they had done something similar in prior industries that were aligned with the technology we needed.
Moguldom: Being a victim of domestic violence, overcoming the challenges of launching a second startup and pushing past the loss of the first investor, what is your secret sauce to perseverance?
Anthara Patrice: This may sound really cliché, but after almost losing my life, I feel like I can overcome anything. I was beaten to unconsciousness by my ex-fiancé. Most people think it’s the physical act you have to overcome, but it’s the emotional one, and the financial abuse as well. I just feel like I can overcome anything after what I have gone through. If I can, you can overcome too.
Moguldom: What do the next five years look like for My Beauty Fill?
Anthara Patrice: Over the next five years, we’re going to scale aggressively. We’re going to build out some live activations and also move more into the ed-tech arena.