Swivel app finds salons for your hair type and desired style

A corporate lawyer and a magazine editor got sick of asking women on the street where they got their hair done, so they quit their jobs and created an app to help women of color find better beauty salons.

Swivel Beauty App connects women with dozens of reviews and dozens of salons across New York and New Jersey. Friends since elementary school, Jihan Thompson and Jennifer Lambert decided last year that it was time to become business partners, too. They co-founded Swivel and launched in August 2016.

The first thing they did, Jennifer says, was send an email to their network of about 500 women asking what salons they used and what they liked about them.

The app started with just 11 salons and about 30 stylists. They now have more than 100 salons across all five boroughs of New York City and even into northern New Jersey. This summer, they're expanding to Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

The free Swivel Beauty App, available on iOS, lets women choose salons based on their type of hair and the style they want. You can filter by price, location, and schedule.

Jihan says Swivel is a platform for women who love to get their hair done and who need to find a stylist, maybe on their lunch break, after work, before a big meeting. They want to know that there are salons nearby with stylists available.

Swivel is also a marketing platform to help the salons get their name out there. One of their salon options is LW Salon on West 45th Street in Manhattan, where Leona Wilson and her team have been giving great blowouts for nearly five years. Leona says each of her stylists specializes in a service, but they're best known for their silk press. That's when a woman with natural hair has it blown out and flat-ironed.

Jennifer says they really wanted to make sure Swivel offered all types of services in all different locations. They don't just focus on natural hair, but can also find the right salon if you need a relaxer, locks, braids, bantu knots, or twist outs. Jihan says your hair type doesn't matter; you should look and feel your best. They're going to find you the right stylist.

Jennifer and Jihan started Swivel with their joint savings. They now make money by taking a commission on the appointments booked through the app.

They say they get emails daily from women across the country asking for Swivel in their cities. They'll start expanding this summer in D.C. and Chicago and will 'blow out' from there.

If you don't have iOS you can get help finding a great stylist on www.swivelbeauty.com.