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The Future of Beauty: Alex Tomchenko of Glambook On How Their Technological Innovation Will Shake Up The Beauty Industry

Beauty industry opens up endless possibilities. With the availability of modern technology, beauty has become more accessible and more personalized. There are opportunities to experiment with your look with the help of VR, customize your beauty products and connect with fellow beauty enthusiasts and professionals on a global scale.

As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alex Tomchenko.

Alex Tomchenko founded Glambook in 2020 with the goal to support independent beauty professionals in launching and growing their businesses. Inspired by his wife Anastasia, a top makeup artist and hair stylist with more than a decade of experience in the industry, he understood the challenges that she and her fellow artists were facing — attracting new clients, effectively managing existing clientele and having the right tools to propel their business forward. A year after its launch, the startup has received recognition from prominent angel investors in the tech community, including Vlad Pinskij and Nikolai Piskunov, for a total initial investment of €500,000.

Prior to launching Glambook, Alex was at the helm of advertising, digital marketing, SMM and SEO agency Idealpromo that he founded in 2008. During his 12+ years on the agency side, he spearheaded over 300 projects for his clients, that included a furniture giant Hoff, the largest logistics and transportation company in Moscow Citymobil and mass-market brick-and-mortar and e-commerce fashion retailer Incity. In 2020, Alex sold Idealpromo for an undisclosed amount to focus on the launch of Glambook.

In addition to the successes of building and running his own agency, Alex was the creator behind the most popular community VKontakte in his hometown of Krasnoyarsk that he sold for over $200,000 just a few years after its launch, multiplying his initial investment by 200 times.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

While Glambook launched in 2020, our story goes back to 2008 when I founded a digital agency, and my wife Anastasia launched a career in makeup artistry. We’ve been growing and developing our skills for over 12 years, becoming experts in our respective fields. I’ve always been supportive of my wife’s journey as a beauty professional and through that I got an insider’s look into the challenges that the beauty service community was going through — finding clients, managing schedules and promoting their business.

The idea to create Glambook was born out of my passion for all things digital and marketing, and a deep understanding of the needs of beauty industry professionals, which was a perfect blend of our expertise.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

During my agency days, we had a very interesting case. We saw an opportunity in offering our marketing services to the touring dolphin experience that arrived in Krasnoyarsk, a city in Russia where our agency was based. Dolphins were a rare find in Siberia so we felt that with the right marketing and advertising the event could be a huge hit. However, when we approached the management with our proposal, they decided to pass. I’ve always believed in never taking “no” for an answer so although we couldn’t sign them on as our client, I decided to create a community on social media for the dolphin experience and it took off. In just five months, it has grown from 0 to 80,000 followers and became one of the largest and most engaged communities in our city, which we successfully sold a couple of years later. It was sold for 50x the original price that we offered to the dolphin experience management in our initial proposal.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

My career and professional growth have been influenced by two simple rules. The first one is to never give up. No matter how challenging things may be, push forward to achieve your goal regardless of the circumstances. The second one is to always aim higher. If you’re aiming higher, your quality of life will start changing for the better. You’re raising the bar for yourself, don’t settle for less, and then one day that becomes your lifestyle. But it’s important to keep the first rule in mind along the way.

One of the first business projects that I worked on was building a yellow pages-style directory for my hometown. I realized that we didn’t have one and some directories that were available had outdated information, lacked quality or professionalism. So, armed with a camera, I started to compile a brand-new directory by walking through the business district and collecting information from local shops by offering them to fill out the printouts of a homemade application. With the business’ permission, I took photos of their storefronts and interior. This way, I manually collected over 500 listings for my future directory.

This project taught me not to be afraid of starting something new and not to look down upon manual work. I’ve been following these principles throughout my career — whenever I had a new challenge in front of me, I’ve always tried to approach them with an open mind, rolling up my sleeves, if necessary. It has helped me in growing my digital marketing agency and now with building and growing Glambook.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m very grateful for my wife, Anastasia. She’s been the source of inspiration for me from the moment we met, and she encourages me to aim higher and pursue my goals. She was there for me during the challenging times, and she’s always believed in me and that things would work out. We’ve been together ever since our second date.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

Coming from my personal experience, my wife and I traveled and moved quite frequently and that meant that we had to constantly adjust to the new environment. That included starting from scratch when it came to finding experts that we needed for our daily needs, such as beauty and grooming professionals. Those who have been in a similar situation know that it’s not easy to find quality service and it’s really all about trial and error until you can find a solid alternative to what you’ve been used to before.

The technology that Glambook is based on is about creating transparency and accessibility. We’re taking the established offline beauty industry experience online. We’re offering independent beauty professionals an opportunity to digitize their work, reviews, scope of services, while giving clients a broad spectrum of details to make an informed decision about service providers. Our goal is to take the unknown out of the equation for the clients. When clients make their appointments at the salon, they may have no or limited control as to which professional will be taking care of them. With Glambook, you’re booking your appointment directly with the professional you would like to visit and whose work you admire.

Additionally, we offer easy-to-use modern tools to the beauty industry professionals that help them optimize their schedule and workflow, which were not available in the offline space. It allows for seamless experience so that they can dedicate more time to their clients.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

While technology is becoming our best friend and a trusted source when it comes to all areas of our life — from food ordering and virtually trying on fashion and beauty trends to managing our finances and home security — I don’t believe that it will ever replace human connections. At Glambook, we’ve kept that in mind and bridged the gap between online and offline, bringing beauty services to our users in a convenient way of booking through a digital/mobile app.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

  • Beauty industry opens up endless possibilities. With the availability of modern technology, beauty has become more accessible and more personalized. There are opportunities to experiment with your look with the help of VR, customize your beauty products and connect with fellow beauty enthusiasts and professionals on a global scale.
  • Getting services on-demand, anywhere. We’re so used to getting everything on-demand these days — the way we consume content, getting our food delivered to our doorsteps, online shopping, the list is endless. Thanks to digital innovation, on-demand beauty services are becoming more mainstream and tailored to fit the needs of a modern consumer. We at Glambook are excited to be a platform that offers our clients an opportunity to look their best with help of on-demand beauty services, anywhere, anytime.
  • Beauty is multicultural. I love the fact that different countries have different views on beauty, styles and trends. When I travel, I always pay attention to what beauty looks like in places that I’m visiting, and how the country’s heritage and their authentic culture helped shape their beauty scene.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

  • Master classes and certification. It’s important for beauty professionals to continuously learn new skills and aim for professional growth. It will help with the overall improvement of the quality of services and take the beauty services industry to the next level.
  • Low pay. Many beauty service professionals that work at salons only get a fraction of the price the client pays for the service. I think that salons should become platforms for beauty professionals to practice and offer their services to clients. This way, it would help them reduce costs and offer additional value to the end customer, with most of the income from services going to the professionals.
  • Desire to fit in. While many brands and beauty retailers are changing the narrative by going “un-retouched,” there’s still much work to be done to raise awareness about finding beauty in everyone. Instead of seeking to dramatically alter your look to fit into a societal norm, you may use the experience of beauty industry professionals to enhance your natural beauty while still being you.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

  • Be yourself. Don’t try to fit into the standards of others. The basic principle of beauty is the inner balance and self-love.
  • Nutrition is the cornerstone of beauty. Stick to a balanced, healthy diet and you’ll see the reflection on the outside.
  • Sport. Find something that speaks to you and that would help your body stay toned and fit.
  • Pamper yourself. Carve out the time for a spa visit or shake things up with a new haircut.
  • Get inspired by other people and ideas and be an inspiration yourself! Surround yourself with people who motivate and bring out the best in you.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I am a big believer in building and maintaining strong relationships and being sincere with one another. A lot of disappointments happen from unrealistic expectations. So, it’s important to stay true to yourself and be kind to others.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One of my favorite quotes is by a prominent Russian singer and songwriter “There are no reasons to stop, so I glide. And there are no peaks in the world that you can’t climb.” A few years ago, I set a goal — to build a product that can be useful to millions of people. Creating and growing Glambook has built a foundation for this journey towards my goal.

How can our readers follow you online?

LinkedIn: https://de.linkedin.com/in/alex-tomchenko

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TomchenkoAlex

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MyGlambk/ and https://www.facebook.com/TomchenkoAlex

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

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