An interview with... WOW HOW beauty app Founder, Gaynor Matthews
Female Tech Boss extraordinaire Gaynor Matthews is nothing short of amazing! We couldn’t wait to chat with her more about her revolutionising beauty app Wow How, and more about her life!
We absolutely love the concept of Wow How! Tell us a bit more about how it works.
The app has two main elements “Try On” and “Teach Me How”.
Try On allows users to see what colour combinations i.e. eyeshadow, blusher and lipstick is most suited to their skin tone in real time and on their own face. This feature allows the user to experiment with new colours without spending any money on product, a true try before you buy experience!
Teach Me How, once the user selects the desired look this could be Day, Evening or Special Occasion the app offers a personalised tutorial created from the users facial features i.e. face, eye, brow, nose, lip shapes as well hair and eye colour to give them a easy to follow, step by step guidance to make the most of their features!
It’s amazing, my lips felt so smooth and silky. Also, it lasts such a long time, I think it’s a brilliant product, will definitely try out its other uses.
What was your career journey to reach this point?
My first job was as a secretary and then I moved into finance. At 22 I was one of the youngest directors in the UK. At the age of 30 I branched out on my own into consultancy, specialised in start-up support. I joined the management team of a telecom’s start-up in 2005 which we successfully exited in 2013. Having experienced the whole journey from start to finish I wanted to give something back so I created a private investment group (Dragons Den style) and invested in tech start-ups, I also started my own support business Sway Solutions which lead to the creation of WOW HOW.
What gave you the inspiration to launch the app? Was there a gap in the market?
I’d personally reached a milestone age (50) and realised I’d not changed my makeup style in over 30 years. I’d been doing the same makeup style in the day and the same for the evening, my skin & features were also different and yet I was doing the same technique day in day out which I’d learnt from magazines in my teens.
I did some research, spoke to a MUA who confirmed her clients were always asking about how to apply makeup and booking lessons.
This got me thinking and I saw a need in the market for a Look & Learn app. The key problem I personally felt was that I didn’t know what colours were best for my skin tone and then how to apply the makeup correctly for my features.
You have a background in technology, what made you branch into the beauty tech world?
The beauty industry is huge, when I had my lightbulb moment 21/2 years ago technology within the beauty market was in its infancy, I’d experienced this before in telecoms so I saw this as a great opportunity.
How does Wow How effect decision making when purchasing products?
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that we all have one or two products in our makeup bag that we never use. I’ve had plenty of counter consultations and makeovers where I’ve felt pressure to purchase because the consultation was free. With WOW HOW you can experiment with hundreds of colours and styles in the comfort of your own home and at a time that’s convenient to you. Then when you are happy with the combinations use the app as a reference to purchase your products.
WOW HOW has no brand bias!
What’s your best piece of advice for someone looking to take the first step in launching a new app or changing career path?
Ensure you do your research and that you are 100% committed. Also, make sure there’s a need, that you have enough money to develop a MVP (doesn’t need all the bells and whistles) and money market your product. They are all as equally important.
Being a busy CEO, is it difficult to find time to live a more natural lifestyle?
Yes it can be difficult at times however, I think it is essential to ensure wellbeing. My partner is very supportive and is a type 1 diabetic, I also have a 10 year old daughter so healthy eating and regular exercise play an important role in our home life.
I also recognise that to be at the top of my game and prepared for what comes next on the start-up rollercoaster the healthier I am the better I can react and perform.
What’s your favourite way to keep a healthy lifestyle?
Eating good quality food, we are fortunate to have a traditional butcher in our village so I cook most of meals myself.
What are your best tips for balancing your life?
Be efficient in your time management so you can release quality time to spend with your family and friends. I’m at my best in the mornings so I often work early before everyone wakes up. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do everything, don’t be afraid to delegate or ask for help it’s very important to have a life outside of work.
What is your daily beauty routine? Do you use any natural products?
I’m a creature of habit, I cleanse, tone and moisturise daily with the occasional facial. Have to put my hands up I don’t use any natural products so I’m looking forward to trying yours.
What’s a day in the life for a beauty tech founder?
Unpredictable, you have to be an all-rounder. At the moment it’s very PR focused as we’ve just come out of a development cycle but I’m also working on our road map and funding for growth.
What have you discovered about beauty that you otherwise didn’t know prior to the app?
I’d say realising what colours suit my skin tone the best and having the confidence to try something new, as I said previously I’m a creature of habit so WOW HOW has empowered me to change.
What is next for you and Wow How?
It’s been so exciting already, I’ve got a fantastic team around me Hayley Hall, Tracy May-Harriott, Chloe Brewer, Helen Routledge all experts in their field. We have plans to go global, add new features and functions, continue to develop our technology so my job is to steer the ship!