Photography by Shiri Lara of Shiri Lara Photography
Interview by Talia Aroshas
No more of those haircut horror stories, and you can wave goodbye to days of unwanted highlights and undeserving bangs. We've all been there: you naively bring a picture of your favorite celeb do’ to the hairstylist and get a completely different looking result. But that's a thing of the past thanks to Manetained.
Manetained is an online aggregator of salons, designed to personally curate the look you want. It is a platform where hairstylists and salons of all kinds can be found right down to the hairstyle and price range. Search by specific salon, service, and neighborhood. Or you can go through their lookbook and pick out your favorite hairstyle or cut, then simply click the heart on the image to add it to your favorites or share it with your friends. You can even email or text the image to yourself with just one simple touch and easily bring the photo to the salon with you. And all the images are REAL customers of the salon, so none of those phony photoshopped looks here. Not sure of the look you want yet? Check out their concierge service where you can meet with a consultant to recreate a style all within your own personal budget. Concierge services is all about getting help to recreate a look or finding, tools, makeup or products for your hair type.
No more need for the tedious Google search for the best hair salons in your area. Get your favorite look, salon, and price budget all in one place. Manetained- making your style needs easier, one click at a time.
Joonbug was lucky enough to sit and chat with the site's founder, Jennifer Holowchak, and get the 411 on all Manetained has to offer, how it came to be, and what seperates it from any other beauty site available.
First and foremost, where did the idea for MANETAINED come from? How long did the process from concept to final product take?
I moved to Manhattan nine years ago as a student to attend Columbia University. Like all students, I was poor, totally new to the city, and OBSESSED with Sarah Jessica Parker's ombre. It was the first take on the ombre back then and I absolutely loved the idea of being able to have lighter hair without the root up keep. So I literally cut out a little photo and walked around with it in my pocket. I went from salon to salon asking stylists if they could re-create the look. Three salons (and many tears) later I emerged nothing like the photo- I had streaky highlights, orange tips and a negative bank account. I actually had one stylist yell at me for not telling her that my hair naturally pulled red. I remember thinking to myself-- if only there was just a massive book I could scroll through and find someone who could do this, or even find her hairstylist, I would pay $1000 for this look. Even years after I graduated school I still struggled finding stylists. About a year and half ago, I decided to bite the bullet and just create it to save us all and namely my bank account. I wanted a product that was simple, easy to use, and provide people an accurate way to find a stylists based on work, real work- no models, no photo shop, real people, real photos from actual hairstylists in Manhattan.
What sets MANETAINED apart from other beauty sites? What unique tools does it offer?
There is nothing like Manetained out there. The site allows the user to find their ideal look and then either text or email themselves the photo to take to the salon with them. The photo comes complete with price, stylist name, salon name and service performed. However, if you have never heard of the salon or just want a bit more information, you can click on the link at the bottom of the photo and be taken the salon's profile page. There we have a full price list, all the looks that salon has created and basic salon info including salon photos and an "About Our Salon" section. If you want to see more work by a particular stylist, feel free to click on the stylist name and up will pop his or her entire portfolio of work. For those who have specific requests (i.e.- eyebrow wax, highlights and cut) simply use our wishlist service search. Click on the drop down box, select the services you are looking for, and only those salons that offer the entire list of services you want will come up. From there sort by location or price. We also have a section called Concierge Services. Sometimes we leave a salon looking amazing, but not entirely sure how to re-create the look ourselves. Well we can help you find the tools and right products for your hair, as well as teach you would to style it.
My biggest pet peeve with sites out there are inaccuracies and subjectivity. What I like and what you like could be two different things. It's hair. I want to see what I'm going to look like and not read about it. I also want to know that when I search for a salon it still exists and I'm seeing a full range of options. Right now we have 25 salons signed up and we work directly with the owners to guarantee the best result with the most accurate information.
Have you always been interested in the beauty industry?
I have always been obsessed with hair. I think hair is a woman's best asset. If you have good hair, you feel more confident, look better, and you can even wear jeans and t-shirt and look just as good as someone in a Gucci dress. I personally eat Mac & Cheese for a week, just to be able to afford the perfect head of highlights and face-framing cut.
How long was the journey in creating the site? What was the biggest challenge you faced?
The website has been in creation for about a year and half. There were so many challenges a long the way, working two jobs is never easy. I would work 12 hours a day and then pound the pavement for the next 5 hours at night and all day every weekend. I still don't stop because I believe in the product and want to deliver a high-quality useful product to consumers. I want to find the right salons and give users choice and value. But probably the biggest challenge is facing critics. There is always someone who doesn't see the value in your product and that is when you have to dig deeper in yourself, push even harder and find the strength to continue. The other night I was on a date and telling him about the website. He asked me who I thought cut his hair, to which he responded, I actually cut my own, because I can't find a good stylist either. It made me laugh and pretty happy to know that guys have the same problems us girls face! I am also a perfectionist, that doesn't help either.
What are your hopes for MANETAINED--where do you see it in 5 years?
When someone asks me to describe my site in one sentence I say: It's the Match.com of hair care. I want there to be openness and transparency. I want to end bad haircuts and the need for corrective color. I want a product that matches client style to hair salon style. I want a search engine that is customizable, accurate and actually works. I want to totally transform the industry and how we find hair care. That is exactly what I am going to do, one day at a time.