The Scoop on SKOOP! Riley Christopher & Kristen Depowski, on changing the beauty booking game

Shortly after meeting at real estate tech startup VTS, cofounders Kristen Depowski and Riley Christopher discovered they had more than their day job in common...They each served as their friends’ go-to source for beauty and wellness advice and recommendations. After years of maintaining lengthy spreadsheets of the best salons, spas, and treatments—not to mention personally booking appointments for friends—they quickly realized the system was fragmented. A desire to streamline this process and empower their friends to make the best decisions ultimately gave rise to Skoop.

Riley Christopher Kristen Depowski SKOOP beauty
Riley & Kristen, SKOOP co-founders

You're building SKOOP... what sparked the idea? And when can we get our hands on it!

We worked together at our last company, a real estate tech startup. As the only two women on the team, we were tired of having to step off of our desk to book appointments. For our own friends, we have always been the go tos for the best recommendations - think where to go for botox downtown, a massage in Chelsea, a facial near work, etc. Kristen even had an excel spreadsheet to track! So, we decided to create an app for finding and booking the best hairstylist, colorist, facialist, acupuncturist, nutritionist, or any other -ist in the world of beauty and wellness. Skoop certified service providers from over 18 different categories represent the best of the best in NYC. Not only are they recommended by Skoop members themselves, but a certified board of experts vets each provider to ensure they meet our strict standards. Think of us as a sexy Yelp meets Resy meets LinkedIn.

What's been your biggest challenge while building the brand?

Uncertainty around when people will comfortably return to services at the same rate they were pre-pandemic has been tough in ironing out our business model and go to market strategy. Early on in the height of the pandemic, we had to be cognizant of how to keep our community engaged while taking into account that beauty services were certainly not top of mind for anyone in the midst of a global health crisis.

How have you evolved the idea of SKOOP throughout the pandemic?

We have expanded Skoop’s categories (of bookable services) to include many more wellness practitioners and medical providers. We have some of the best dermatologists, cosmetic dentists, dieticians, healers, and psychics. Many of these providers offer virtual consultations/ sessions so we have used telehealth and virtual appointments to stay relevant and accessible. Now more than ever, wellness is top of mind for our community so we want to cater to that field.

If you could have one positive social impact on the world, what would you do?

Our dream is to one day create a Skoop chapter that empowers underprivileged youth/teens to have access to our community of providers. We recognize that the opportunity to receive the services we offer is a privilege and we hope to make the best beauty and wellness treatments more accessible to a broader community of young women. It’s not about changing your looks, it’s about feeling good from the inside out and really stepping into your power.

As you know. community is everything to us at Diem... how have your communities helped you personally & professionally?

Our own personal networks and communities have catapulted us to where we are today -- as individuals, as cofounders, and as a company.

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