Aussie Beauty Heroes: Founder & CEO of Purely Polished Iman Davamoni talks gendered pandemic support

Iman Davamoni founded Australia’s slickest mobile beauty and wellness service app after personally finding there was a gap in the market. While on maternity leave from her HR job she found herself fruitlessly searching for a service or app of the same quality that she knew existed overseas. In just weeks she built her minimum viable product and the brand has been up and running for nearly 5 years now.

Having weathered the pandemic as a beauty tech startup founder, Iman has thoughts about the way male-dominated industries have been offered tailored support while predominantly female industries, like beauty, have been mostly overlooked or lumped in with industries that in fact, have very different needs to beauty. So how has Purely Polished survived and what advice does this HR-professional-turn-startup-founder have for industry compatriots?

PB: How has this lockdown been different, if at all, from the other ones?

“This lockdown has most definitely felt heavier than the other ones. It’s been over a year since the first one in and it’s getting harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The government decision to continue having lockdowns is having a huge impact on small businesses and many are starting to close down.”

PB: How are you surviving financially, if you don’t mind us asking? Is the government aid helping? Is there something else you wish was provided?

“We’re located across Australia so we’re still able to operate in some cities, although Sydney and Melbourne are our two biggest markets. The government grants are assisting us to a certain level, but it doesn’t touch the surface of the loss we’re incurring.”

PB: How has your business been affected?

“COVID-19 has been both positive and negative for us – our bookings doubled following the last lockdown but the stop and starts have affected our momentum. We raised funding in Dec 2020 and put in place a number of goals but each time we go into lockdown we have to change our focus.”

PB: How do you see our industry coming out of this? Better, worse, the same? And why?

“Beauty will always be needed however, it’s going to take time for everything to go back to normal and unfortunately a number of salons have already shut down. Our top services are nails and massages. Hair and makeup have taken a hit because of the lack of events and weddings being held.” 

PB: Do you think the multi-billion-dollar beauty industry has been given proper consideration through this pandemic? Yes or no and why/why not?

“There has been more focus on other industries such as hospitality. The NSW government has created an initiative to drive people back into restaurants and events with the Dine & Play vouchers. They’ve entirely neglected to address the severe short-term and long-term impact on the beauty industry. The beauty industry is predominantly female and this pandemic has amplified the systemic issue of gender equality.”

PB: How you are you working on your business while you can’t work with clients?

“We’re heavily focused on the cities we’re able to operate in and running our virtual beauty sessions with our corporate clients. We’re spending the rest of the time building out new services, products and initiatives to hit the ground running post lockdown.”

PB: What revenue streams have you been able to develop that you hadn’t really relied upon before?

“During the last lockdown we launched our virtual beauty classes and had a great uptake from our corporate clients. The offering was a perfect way to engage their employees who were working from home.”

PB: In what ways do you think our industry has fared compared to others?

“Beauty products such as skincare and cosmetics sales are through the roof however, for beauty services – the industry has taken a beating and salon owners can only hold for a little more before they start to loose hope.”

PB: What are your plans for safeguarding your business when the pandemic ends?

“We need to be agile and be responsive to when there are lockdown announcements. Ensuring we have other revenue streams is important too.”

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