We speak to Venetia Archer, Founder of RUUBY App on elevating the beauty game and taking VIP services global.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?

I am an early riser and I love the quiet of the morning – my days tend to be very busy, and so I enjoy the time on my own. I’ll have a matcha tea in bed and check up on activity from the day before and work out my plan for the day ahead. My morning beauty routine is quick (my staples are Dr. Bar- bara Sturm, Augustinus Bader and new Swedish brand, Mantle). Then I wake up my two-year-old daughter, Penelope. We always have breakfast together – sometimes coinciding with a pre-8am Ruuby blowdry, and then I’ll walk to the office.

How did you know it was the right time to launch RUUBY App which steps previously led you to this path?

Launching an on-demand beauty services platform was not quite what anyone expected from me. Prior to founding Ruuby, I was a geopolitical analyst, and specialised in Somali piracy, so it was a considerable pivot! However, I am the queen of convenience, and my life in London had been transformed by platforms like Uber and Deliveroo. I sat on the idea for on-demand beauty for a while and in 2015 decided to take the plunge and launch the business. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, and so I was just waiting for the right idea to land.

What is the DNA of the brand?

Quality, community, and innovation are at our core. We are obsessed with delivering the highest quality services possible. We meet and vet every single professional we work with, and now count over 1,500 of the best beauty and wellness experts on our platform. We look for innovators – we work with the leading global Brazilian lymphatic masseuses, celebrity makeup artists, facialists and more. We are always introducing new treatments – whether it be IVs, LED/advanced facials or acupuncture. We stay ahead of the curve and seek out the latest innovations. We’re excited to launch Dr. Levy treatments later this year – his products are second to none and the treatments are exceptional.

How challenging was it to refine the offering in terms of service and how did you know when you had got it right?

We constantly iterate, and our offering now is completely different to what it was when I first launched Ruuby. Covid was an interesting time. We were unable to operate for the duration of the period, which was naturally a great challenge. However, since the easing of restrictions, demand for our services has grown dramatically – consumer needs are different to what they were before the pandemic. One of the things that have made Ruuby so successful is our adaptability – we understand consumer/business needs evolve, and we never, ever sit still.

How do you ensure that services stay consistent to standard as you scale, and did you try all services yourself from the outset?

We do a lot here. As mentioned earlier, we meet every single therapist we work with, and test every treatment. We ask – would our most discerning client be happy? If so, we onboard. In addition, we launched our Ruuby Academy last year, and deliver regular trainings with our brand partners to ensure consistency and professional progression on the part of our therapists.

What is your must-have service?

Last summer, everyone went wild for Brazilian lymphatic massage treatments. This is still incredibly popular – particularly pre-summer. Facial lymphatic, and buccal massage has also taken off. The results are incredible. If you do half the face, the difference is dramatic.

“One of our longest standing brand partners is Dr. Barbara Sturm, and her facial is one of the most booked and most loved treatments on platform.”

Can you tell us about your new VIP service?

Our Black Label offering is a bespoke concierge solution for our VIP and international clients. Essentially, we support our clients in any and all of their beauty and wellness needs – from arranging a masseuse for a family on a yacht in the Medi- terranean, to securing a celebrity makeup artist for Fash- ion Week travels, to organising a regular pre-Oscar facial schedule for a celebrity client. We are launching our first international pop-ups this Summer in St Tropez and Ibiza, which I’m excited about – we’ve wanted to do this for a while. Looking ahead, we’re excited to expand our reach even further. We have plans to bring our offering to the Middle East next year.

What is the most requested service from our global VIPs?

The most requested service is usually massage. Many of our clients travel regularly, and would like to travel with a trusted masseuse to ensure consistency of treatment.

What have been the most challenging or rewarding aspects to date?

The most rewarding aspect of this business is the fact that we can offer our therapists incredible work opportunities, and the freedom to work flexibly. Running a young business is full of challenges too – whether it be finding and hiring the right people or maintaining focus and avoiding distraction.

How do you approach challenges?

I take my time. This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned. If something is not immediately clear, I’ll seek advice, work through the various options and wait. The answer always comes… if I’m not sure, I’m not ready.

How do you approach scaling without compromising on quality?

This can be tough, but we do this in a few ways. We’ve developed a robust screening process to ensure only the highest quality professionals are onboarded, and then offer continuous learning and training opportunities to ensure that quality is not just maintained but improved over time. One of our longest-standing brand partners is Dr. Bar- bara Sturm, and her facial is one of the most booked and most loved treatments on the platform. We do a lot together on the training piece.

How has social media supported scaling the business?

When we launched in 2015 the social media landscape was totally different. It was much easier for a brand to stand out, and a lot of our early growth was due to a handful of brand advocates, who organically chose to share their experiences with Ruuby. This was invaluable in the early days when we were trying to establish the brand. We still do a lot on social, and what I love most is seeing our user-generated content – Ruuby behind the scenes!

Have you had any mentors and if so, what advice did they impart?

I have had some in- credible mentors, which has been particularly important to me as a first-time founder. One of my most fantastic friends, Whitney Bromberg Hawkings (founder of FLOW- ERBX) is a pioneer in the world of flowers, and we talk a lot about challenges – I learn a lot from her. The key piece of advice? Never give up!

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to trust my instinct. No one knows your business better than you do!

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