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A Beautiful App

Who has time to call around to get an appointment to the spa or salon? Not Kathleen Baird Jennings, a 2002 graduate of Washington and Lee University, who took matters into her own hands and created an app (similar to OpenTable or Kayak.com) so customers could make reservations on their smartphone.

Her app, BeautyNow, allows customers to schedule a salon or massage appointment directly through a businesses’ scheduling system. The app was designed and developed by Houston-based website design shop Poetic Systems and has built a national user base of more than 5,000 salons and spas since its initial launch in February 2014.

Kathleen’s app caught the attention of John Paul DeJoria, the billionaire entrepreneur behind John Paul Mitchell Systems, a popular hair care brand, and Patron Spirits. In an interview with the Houston Business Journal, she said, “We had a few phone calls, and I went to Austin (to meet DeJoria) for a meeting. He realized that this is the direction the beauty industry was going.” He was impressed enough to place a $500,000 equity seed investment in BeautyNow in December.

The app is not just for women. Kathleen has created partnerships with the barber salon The Boardroom so men can schedule appointments, too. Kathleen, who is married to James Jennings ’93, said, “I imagine this becoming the way people make their beauty appointments.”