Five years ago, Sean and I founded Boulevard to solve a pain point that we had experienced personally: we wanted to streamline the client experience at salons and eliminate inconveniences, like having to call to make appointments or carry cash for gratuity. As software engineers, we didn’t know the difference between a scissor-over-comb and a buzz cut, highlights versus balayage, or why the hair products sold at salons were so much more expensive than the 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioners at the grocery store. After doing door-to-door research, we learned just how underserved salons were by the technology available to them. Even though we were outsiders to an industry that we had only engaged with as consumers, we believed we could create something better.
Announcement • Press
Boulevard’s Series B Financing: Onward, Together.
Today, I’m proud to share that we have received a $27 million Series B investment co-led by Index Ventures and Toba Capital, with participation from VMG Partners, Bonfire Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, and BoxGroup. We are grateful to our team of investors who believe the future is bright for both Boulevard and the salons and spas we power. With these funds, we plan to expand our team and platform to further serve our small, medium, enterprise, and franchise partners.
For us, salons were our “startup garage.”
In the early days of our startup, we were determined to learn everything we could and accelerated our learning through on-site product development. Whenever a new partner got started on Boulevard, I worked at the front desk, babysitting our system and designing new features between waves of clients checking in and out. Sean was usually cooped up in the back office/breakroom/closet building new functionalities in real-time. For us, salons were our “startup garage.” Being embedded was a truly formative experience that laid the foundation for the company we’ve become. Looking back, we are filled with gratitude that our earliest partners took a chance on us, welcomed us into their businesses, gave us real-time feedback, tolerated our bugs, and taught us the ins-and-outs of salon operations and culture.
In time, we saw that the challenges salons experienced were also faced by other appointment-based businesses like spas, nail salons, and medispas. That realization led Boulevard’s mission to evolve into something greater—to modernize the technology powering salons and spas, while improving the daily lives of professionals and the clients they serve.
This year, our mission has taken on an even deeper meaning. Since the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were issued across the country in mid-March, I’ve witnessed the industry we serve be affected like no other. The personal touch from stylists, massage therapists, and estheticians is not something that you can order as delivery, buy online, or perform outside. Salons and spas already operate on razor-thin margins and this pandemic has forced them to run even leaner, transform their operations, and upgrade to more nimble, modern software solutions that help them optimize every transaction. We are humbled that so many businesses are placing their trust in Boulevard during such a turbulent time and we will do anything we can to ensure their success.
To our salon and spa partners: Thank you for inspiring us daily. We are eternally grateful for your continuous feedback and all of the ways that you cheer us on. You continue to inspire us with your incredible grit and resilience. Every day you teach us something new, from “brassy” being a swear word and client retention best practices, to the nuanced challenges you face with employee classification. And although I could never quite figure out how to juggle multiple callers using the front desk phone, thanks to you my closet now has a lot more black articles of clothing and I cringe about my former shampoo choices. Whenever we get through this trying period of shutdowns, reopenings, and restrictions, I think the world will have realized something that our team has always recognized: You are essential.
Thanks for being here with us.
PS - We’re hiring!