Yoga in your living room? D.C.’s on-demand app offers in-home lifestyle services

WASHINGTON — Dinner, coffee and a ride to work can all be delivered to your door with a simple swipe of a smartphone. And now, your next workout is just as convenient.

With D.C.’s latest app, down-dogs are on demand too.

Washington native Susanna Quinn describes her new company, Veluxe, as the Uber for beauty and fitness services. On the app, customers can arrange for hairstylists, makeup artists and personal trainers to come to their homes with as little as three hours of advance notice for services such as blow-drys and personal training sessions.

Susanna Quinn is the founder of Veluxe, an on-demand lifestyle company.
Susanna Quinn is the founder of Veluxe, an on-demand lifestyle company.

Quinn, a busy mother and philanthropist, says she first had the idea for the company after adding up the time and money she saved by arranging for her personal trainer to come to her house. She no longer had to battle D.C. traffic and parking to get to the gym, and she could pay her trainer less while he made more, since he didn’t have to fork over fees to a gym facility.

“It’s an economic model that works well for him and works well for me,” Quinn says.

She thought about other lifestyle services that could be made more convenient by bringing them into the home, and mulled over the best way for other time-strapped and stressed-out Washingtonians to access these services.

“With the growth of e-commerce and the development of technology, I realized the answer was on my smartphone,” she says.

Quinn got to work with a development team and launched the beta version of the app at the end of 2014. Currently, it’s only available to those with an invite code, but Quinn plans to make Veluxe accessible to the public late this spring.

First, she needs to grow the company’s network of 16 beauty and fitness professionals. She’s currently working with a group of leading experts in the beauty and fitness industries — including Carl Ray, the personal makeup artist to Michelle Obama; and Brendan Brazier, a bestselling author and creator of Vega — to help recruit service providers for Veluxe.

“I don’t consider myself qualified to judge a yoga teacher, so I want the best yoga teacher possible to go out and find and assess the yoga teachers,” Quinn says.  “I thought the best model would be to find the leading experts in these industries to do the recruiting and the assessing and the training of our providers.”

The Veluxe app.

As Quinn acquires more providers, she plans to issue more invite codes.

The concept for Veluxe may sound like it’s an app for the affluent, but Quinn says that’s not the case: The prices for the on-demand services are competitive with what one might pay at a salon or gym. A Veluxe blow-dry is $65, a personal training session is $85 and a makeup application costs $95.

(After some research, we found that a blow-dry at a salon in Georgetown or Dupont Circle costs around $70; and personal training sessions at gyms in the area cost anywhere from $100 to $200 an hour. Similar to Uber, tip is included on the Veluxe charge.)

“Sure, we have VIP clients who want Veluxe, but in reality, we priced it competitively,” says Quinn, who says she wants everyone from busy moms to college students to young professionals to use the app.

After expanding the app in the D.C. area, Quinn plans to bring Veluxe to other cities across the country.

“We really want to build a great company, and a big company, and we want to scale it all over the country, and we want to have beauty and fitness experts who are the best in the industry Veluxing everyone,” she says.  “And that kind of a business isn’t built on VIPs; it’s built on accessibility.”

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