Whether you’ve been on the Botox train for years, are loyal to laser facials, or curious about discovering the world of cosmetic treatments, there’s one app you need to install immediately. Upkeep is the first US marketplace which simplifies the searching, booking, and payment process for medspa/cosmetic dematology appointments—think: ‘tweakments’ like Botox and fillers, laser hair removal, body contouring, and more. The platform is the brainchild of Tiffany Faith Demers, who’s already led Upkeep through multiple rounds of venture capital funding while the app garners a waitlist of cities wanting to get onboard. We sat down with her to get the scoop on trends to note, buzzy appointments to know, and some good old fashioned business advise.
What’s your earliest memory involving beauty? Did you always know you would pursue a career in the industry?
My first memory of using beauty products was wearing blue eyeliner when I was young. I loved using a bold look to express myself, but I had to sneak it by my family so I would remove it before I went home! I didn’t specifically know I was going to get into the industry, but aesthetics, fashion, and design have always been my top interests. I went to school for Interior Architecture & Design, and I always thought I would design boutique hotels. I’ve since had various roles developing skin care and color cosmetics for brands, along with a lot of work on trend forecasting for retailers in the beauty space. This is where I got insight into the medical aesthetic vertical and began thinking about developing Upkeep.
Tell us more about that brainwave to start Upkeep.
I have been fortunate to work with fantastic companies across luxury, beauty, and tech, and to have held a wide variety of roles, ranging from overseeing creative, marketing, operational, influencer, and engineering teams. Having personal experience and insights into so many different aspects of business and growing brands, along with personal interest and extensive knowledge within the professional beauty space, I knew I could execute the vision for Upkeep and hire the right team members to grow quickly and effectively modernize the medical aesthetics space.
When did you initially have the idea?
I was on a work trip where I was hoping to receive a Hydrafacial at 6:30PM. That evening in an Uber in between meetings with two colleagues, I had no time to search Google or call around to different medspas. I realized that nothing existed to make this process more streamlined, and I knew that there had to be a better way. When I returned home to LA, I began researching how cosmetic dermatology treatments like Botox, filler, and body contouring were procured and confirmed and found that it was only via call or text. I knew an easier solution could be built, and I wanted to be the one to make that happen.
What was the white space you initially saw?
Even though the cosmetic healthcare industry is valued at $113 billion, booking aesthetic medical treatments remained outdated and cumbersome, even though other industries have evolved. I recognized this inefficiency and wanted to meaningfully improve the customer experience. Upkeep is the first-ever marketplace for medspa providers. It connects customers with medspas they can trust, while giving medspas an opportunity to expand their customer base too.
How long did it take to come to fruition?
Overall, it took about 12 months to see the final product launch in the app store.
Today, what’s the premise of Upkeep in a nutshell? What marks it apart in the app space?
Upkeep is the first-ever beauty app that allows you to search, schedule, and pay for a wide variety of medspa treatments including Botox, fillers, facials, laser hair removal, and more, all in one place. With Upkeep, choosing medspa treatments is a refined, painless process; no more searching pages of Google and phoning around for appointments! All professional providers are vetted, curated, and approved by the Upkeep team, so you know you’re in safe hands. Upkeep eliminates these pain points on both sides of the transaction—providing visibility and consumer trust for medspas looking to reach new clients, and giving consumers the hassle-free experience they expect. What makes us different is that we are very selective about the treatment types and devices we highlight on Upkeep, focusing on well proven treatments that have great results and consistent customer satisfaction. For example, Cryo Slim is one of just a few body sculpting procedures we recommend. Therefore when customers see a particular device is available on Upkeep, they automatically know it is the best in class treatment for that particular concern.
Where is the app available?
We are currently in New York, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Malibu, Miami, and Palm Beach. We are expanding to Texas, NorCal, and Arizona very soon. We have received requests for the app from all 50 states, not only from the users but from the providers themselves, so we are working on meeting the needs of our consumers!
How long does it take to onboard a new city and what does that process look like?
For providers, the vetting process is very thorough because our goal is to provide only the best of the best and to be a resource that consumers can trust. It includes a Zoom interview where we run through our proprietary 50 point checklist, and we only allow providers that own top tier devices and use reputable pharmaceuticals. We get inbound nationwide for provider applications but we reject most of them just because they don’t pass our vetting process.
What have been some learning lessons in the journey thus far?
One thing that I’ve learned is how fast the beauty space changes. Celebrities are increasingly sharing more on social media about the treatments that are a part of their routine, and even partnering with injectable brands as paid spokespeople. Younger Millennial and Gen Z customers are also curious about trying these treatments and they see cosmetic dermatology almost like makeup that they can experiment with. In addition, men are also becoming more open to this side of the beauty industry too. These changes within the space keep us on our toes and we are always evolving to best serve our customers.
What advice would you give yourself now, looking back?
When it comes to my own journey as an entrepreneur, I think I’ve realized how difficult the path still is for solo female founders so I would tell myself to surround myself with the right partners. Even though it takes time to find the group that understands your vision and goals, the effort is worth it!
Let’s talk beauty! What are your can’t-live-without services/treatments for skin, hair, and body?
For hair, I love Oribe! Their Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo is my go-to. For body, I use NARS’ Monoi Body II or Pirette Dry Body Oil as I prefer a lightweight oil to moisturize instead of a lotion (less chemicals). Clé de Peau is my favorite brand when it comes to skincare/foundation. I use their Enhancing Eye Contour Cream Supreme, The Foundation, La Creme, and The Serum. And, of course, I also use Upkeep to book my monthly Hydrafacial and routine Botox and fillers, as well as Morpheus8 treatments which I have recently become obsessed with!
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What’s a service or treatment that’s been surging in popularity lately?
There are many but interestingly, Emsculpt NEO has been more in-demand than before and I believe this is because more men are trying it out—35% of Emsculpt NEO bookings on Upkeep actually come from men. It’s a great, non-invasive treatment with no downtime that helps with muscle building, fat destruction, and skin-tightening all in one. Customers of all genders are seeing amazing benefits from it.
Any new treatments or trends you think are about to take off in 2023?
One treatment that has increased in popularity is Morpheus8. It’s super effective for skin tightening on both face and body, and we’re seeing more and more demand for it on the app. I think this is only the beginning of the Morpheus8 trend and it will ‘take off’ fully in 2023. This was a treatment that was mostly used by celebrities in the past couple years, but now consumer awareness of the treatment and education about its benefits have grown, so more and more people are open to trying it. I’ve watched how the line between skincare, cosmetics, and actual medspa treatments is continually getting blurred, as people are turning to these devices that are more effective than products. I expect this to only increase in 2023 and beyond. Botox and fillers, for example, are becoming more accessible to the general consumer and are now seen as a fun way of expression, like people have done with makeup and hairstyles in the past. I love to see this trend because it shows that the attitude toward medspa providers has changed and people are no longer shying away from trying out cosmetic dermatology.
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What do you think is driving that interest…social media? Celebrities? Traditional media?
I think it’s a combination of everything. There is an increase in celebrities, and everyone else, being vocal about their procedures and treatments which has helped shake off some of the stigma previously attached to the medspa industry. For example, Kim Kardashian has posted multiple times on Instagram about her love for Morpheus8; Joe Jonas partnered with injectable provider Xeomin; and Eva Longoria is now InMode’s ambassador. Overall, it’s become more socially acceptable and there is more education and knowledge shared around all kinds of cosmetic dermatology treatments amongst friend groups, which causes a network effect. This category used to be kept discrete just a few years ago from even those closest to you. like your partner!
What will the next six months look like for Upkeep?
We are excited to grow Upkeep nationwide, and hopefully internationally as well. Since launching in New York City this fall, our next planned expansion is into cities across Texas. We are looking forward to starting to announce those specific locations over the next couple months. Because of our vetting process, it does takes time on our side to test and confirm the medspas we want to work with, to ensure we have the right mix of providers to launch in a new city, so we’ll be working hard on that.
What’s your overall goal and dream for the platform?
Historically there has been a stigma around choosing to use injectables and other procedures, but it’s my goal to have Upkeep help change that perception by making the industry more accessible and transparent. In addition, I am excited to unite the medspa space by providing a platform for them which also helps bring in new clientele. Many of our treatment providers are small businesses and my goal is to have Upkeep keep driving new and repeat customers into these businesses across the country.