It’s usually not my policy to blog about something unless it is nationally available. But I’ll break with form for Priv, an on-demand beauty services provider, because it’s just such a good idea that the world needs to know about it. Plus, the company is expanding…and will hopefully be available wherever you are soon. But I digress.
The concept is simple (the best ones usually are): Download the Priv app from iTunes. Then tap to set up an account. Scroll through services such as: haircut, blow-out, nails (including gels and gel removal), makeup, fitness, and massage (the charge is different if the therapist has to bring a table). Choose your service (or services), click, then book. The app (which works on Android, too, albeit not as seamlessly), uses the location services on your iPhone to find a freelance hair/makeup/nail/fitness/massage professional near you. The service provider is then dispatched to you in under an hour.
I tested the service last week when I had to go to a fancy dinner and found myself with chipped nails slogging away at my computer without hope of escaping for a manicure. Seeing as it fell under the umbrella of work for me, I Priv’d (the company uses its name as a verb) a nail tech. Within an hour, Alexaundra McCormick was at my desk, removing my old gel polish and applying fresh lacquer. She came with sterilized and plastic-bagged tools as well as fresh files (the company tosses nail files after each customer). She had more than 20 regular and gel polish shades to choose from, and the service felt (and looked) as professional (or more) than what I would have received at a salon. She was beyond lovely and personable; and it didn’t get awkward when I had nothing to say (or when the phone rang in my office and I had to take it).
As for the price? Comparable to a New York City salon (actually, slightly less, due to no overhead). I’m guessing that as the company expands (currently Priv is just serving Manhattan, but by September they’ll be in Los Angeles, followed by San Francisco and London), the prices will reflect local going rates.
The founders of Priv explained to me that they have a waiting lounge (fully stocked with computers; and offering continuing education classes) in which service providers can wait for bookings. This is how the company can assure that someone is always nearby when you Priv. In addition, Priv service providers, who are basically independent contractors, are instructed to shut off their app unless they are free (in other words, there’s transparency in booking, you can choose specific providers or Priv can suggest nearby matches).
Now, if only I could Priv a plumber.