[A preamble] On Day 1, I made the decision to build my business in the public eye because there is a great deal to demystify about establishing a successful company. As a new founder, I have numerous questions, and my intention was to document everything I encounter so that I can assist future founders and individuals who opt to tread a similar path. While there's no assurance that Blioh will become a thriving business, I hope that the insights gained here can benefit others.

Dear Friends,

Our mission is to help everyone find their perfect shade. Blioh exists because we want to empower individuals to discover the products that work for them and we believe augmented reality virtual try-ons are going to play a huge role in how people make spending decisions in the future. Our commitment to personalization and convenience drives us as we strive to revolutionize the way consumers try and buy cosmetics, making it easier than ever for everyone to discover, experiment, and purchase products that resonate with their unique qualities and preferences.

Here’s a couple pictures of me trying on lipstick shades to complete my look before a dinner night out on the weekend with my husband. 

Virtual try on app blioh Virtual try on app blioh

Now, what have we been up to since the beginning of the company?

January 2024

January marked our first official month working on the company and our first milestone – one of many to come. On January 2nd, we launched the first version of our app on the iOS App Store, a culmination of extensive preparation in December.

Throughout the month, our user base steadily grew, reaching a total of 98 signed-up users by the end of January. This uptake indicated a promising level of interest in our platform and its initial (limited) offering. While a very small number for some, getting our first 10, 20, 50, and then nearly 100 registered app users was a validating experience. We reached our first 100 customers by simply sharing the app within our existing circles - family, friends and even coworkers. 

Additionally, we put in substantial efforts in the product catalog. We dedicated time to meticulously add shades and detailed information for nearly 1600 products, enhancing the overall quality and depth of our inventory.

February 2024

February proved to be another eventful month in our journey towards building Blioh. We took a significant step forward by officially incorporating and registering as a C-Corp Delaware company. It marked a pivotal moment in our commitment to turning this vision into a tangible reality. We used Stripe Atlas to accomplish this and hope to fundraise at some point in the near future, after gaining more traction and building up confidence in our pitch. 

Our user base continued to grow steadily throughout the month, reaching a total of 219 signed-up users by the end of February. At this point, we knew we needed to get the app out to people beyond folks we already knew. So we turned to social media (Instagram, Reddit and TikTok) and found individuals who were struggling to find the right foundation shades online and looking for advice, sharing our app as a potential solution. It's incredible to see the interest and support our platform is garnering, and it fuels our determination to keep pushing forward.

Listening to user feedback is crucial to us, and this month, we took action based on some valuable insights. We revamped our virtual in-app filters to make them less intimidating and more true to life. By making them slightly more realistic, we aim to enhance the user experience and ensure that trying on makeup virtually feels as natural as possible. There’s definitely more to do here in order to perfect the experience, and that will require training new machine learning models, which is in progress behind the scenes. 

In our relentless pursuit of improvement, we also expanded our product catalog by adding several new products and shades, especially new releases and products trending on social media. This not only broadens the options available to our users but also reflects our commitment to staying current and relevant in the ever-evolving beauty industry.

Excitingly, we took a bold step forward by applying to Y Combinator, recognizing the invaluable resources and mentorship they provide to startups like ours. It's a thrilling opportunity, and we're hopeful for what the future holds. More updates on that in the summer when/if we know more. 

To further streamline the user experience, we introduced checkout links within the app. Now, users can easily find and purchase products immediately after trying them on virtually, making the transition from browsing to buying seamless and effortless.

Lastly, recognizing the demand for our platform on Android devices, we introduced a waitlist for Android users on the website. Already, we've received 22 emails from individuals eager to join us on this platform, further reinforcing our belief in the potential impact of Blioh.

March 2024

March brought both challenges and triumphs as we continued to navigate the intricate landscape of entrepreneurship with determination.

One significant milestone achieved this month was receiving our Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This administrative step solidified our status as a legitimate business entity, further cementing our commitment to the journey ahead. Unfortunately, it also came with some challenges because the IRS mistakenly assigned us two different EINs, and now we are in the process of having to close one with legal paperwork. 

Additionally, we obtained our Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, a crucial requirement for signing up on the iOS App Store as an organization. Some wires may have been crossed because it took an unusually long time and required several follow ups by email correspondence to confirm the identity of the business. 

On the operational front, we established a dedicated business bank account, streamlining our financial processes and setting a solid foundation for future growth and transactions. But that was only after being denied for an account by Mercury due to lame address verification processes. I guess they didn’t want our money. We ended up going with SVB for now since they have a streamlined process for dealing with the needs of startups.

Despite the administrative hurdles, our user base continued to grow steadily, reaching an impressive milestone of over 500 signed-up users by the end of March. We have been personally humbled by the hurdles and requirements folks are willing to jump through in order to download and sign up for the app. It's incredibly gratifying to see the ongoing interest and support, reaffirming our belief that this is something the world needs. We have spent zero dollars on marketing and customer acquisition still. 

In our pursuit of opportunities for growth and mentorship, we also applied to Techstars, recognizing the invaluable resources and guidance they offer to startups like ours. While the journey of entrepreneurship is marked by highs and lows, we faced setbacks as well. Regrettably, we received rejections from HF0 and Neo, underscoring the competitive nature of the startup ecosystem and the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity.

As we reflect on the events of March, we are reminded of the resilience and tenacity required to navigate the unpredictable terrain of entrepreneurship. With each challenge overcome and every lesson learned, we grow stronger and more determined in our pursuit of realizing the vision that propels us forward.

What’s next?

Virtual try on app blioh

Looking ahead, our primary objective is to sustain and accelerate our current growth trajectory while simultaneously focusing on improving user retention and broadening our market visibility.

Our growth has been remarkable, characterized by a rapid escalation in user numbers. Upon analyzing our growth patterns, we've identified a promising trend: the acceleration of our user acquisition process. Initially, it took us over 35 days to secure our first 100 users. However, this pace has significantly quickened since then. We achieved 200 registered users within 27 days, followed by hitting 300 in just 13 days after that, 400 users in 12 days after, and finally 500 users within a mere 7 days.This acceleration underscores the burgeoning interest and engagement with our platform, indicative of ample opportunities for further expansion. 

Despite the flourishing user acquisition, our focus is now shifting towards enhancing user retention. We've observed a phenomenon where many users download the app, engage with a few features, and perhaps make a purchase, but fail to return. This underscores the critical need to enrich our app experience and provide compelling reasons for users to engage with our platform consistently. While our product may not necessitate daily usage, it's imperative to introduce additional features and incentives to foster sustained engagement.

To bolster our market visibility and attract a wider audience, we're intensifying our efforts in content creation and search engine optimization (SEO). By generating informative blog posts, compelling content, and optimizing our website for search engines, our aim is to augment our organic reach and attract users actively seeking solutions within our domain. Strengthening our presence in Google search results is pivotal for expanding our user base and consolidating our position in the market.

Furthermore, our dedication to user-centric development remains steadfast. We will persist in engaging with our users, soliciting feedback on their app experiences, and seeking suggestions for enhancements and new features. By prioritizing user feedback and integrating their insights into our development roadmap, we ensure that our platform evolves in tandem with user needs and preferences. 

How can you help? 

If you are a founder: 

If you've navigated similar challenges in building a startup, your experience can be invaluable to us. Share your insights, lessons learned, and best practices that have helped you overcome obstacles along the way. We’d be happy to do the same. We’d also be open to explore potential collaboration opportunities where our respective strengths and expertise align. Whether it's a partnership, joint venture, or shared resources, collaboration can amplify our impact and mutual success.

Please contact us for an intro or virtual coffee chat if any of that sounds interesting to you. 

If you are an investor:

We plan to fundraise soon. If our mission resonates with you and you believe in the potential of our platform, consider investing in our company. Your financial support can fuel our growth, enable product development, and expand our reach to a wider audience. Beyond financial investment, your expertise and guidance can be invaluable to us as we navigate the complexities of scaling a startup. Share your insights, provide strategic advice, and connect us to your network to help us maximize our potential. And even if you yourself are not interested in investing, perhaps you could introduce us to other potential investors, partners or experts who may be interested in our mission. 

If you are an app user: 

Your feedback is crucial in helping us improve and enhance the app experience. Share your thoughts, suggestions, and any issues you encounter while using the app. Your input guides our development efforts and ensures that we meet your needs and preferences. Help us spread awareness about our platform by sharing your positive experiences with friends, family, and on social media. Word-of-mouth recommendations are powerful in attracting new users and expanding our community.

Lastly, to all who have contributed to our journey thus far, we extend our deepest gratitude. Your belief in our vision has propelled us forward, and we are immensely grateful for the opportunity to continue this adventure alongside each of you.


The Blioh Team