50 Shades of Perfect: Asmau Ahmed Launches App that Matches Beauty Products to Your Skin Tone
An age-old problem for consumers and the beauty industry is the lack of products being created that match the variety and depth of skin tones and complexions that exist.
In 2012, after years of research and testing, Asmau Ahmed, a trained engineer, launched Plum Perfect, a mobile and web-based application that operates as the ultimate personal shopper, picking out beauty products that are a perfect match for you every single time.
Ahmed wasn’t the only one that noticed this void. A few months after she launched Plum Perfect, Pantone launched their 110-shade SkinTone guide and partnered with Sephora on a foundation matching system, further underscoring the need for this type of technology on the market.
I recently caught up with Ahmed to get the inside scoop on Plum Perfect and to learn more about the company’s expansion beyond beauty products into the fashion and home categories.
Madame Noire: How would you describe Plum Perfect to someone who has never heard of it before?
Asmau Ahmed: Ultimately, Plum Perfect is designed to increase the excitement and customization of [shopping for beauty products]. We personalize the shopping experience online and in-store, by guaranteeing the right color match for every unique woman. Our application allows for any user to customize her matched colors by price, product type, color, brand or look (ie. natural, glam, wear to work).
You can take a photo of your face and Plum Perfect will instantly determine your unique color signature and search across products and retailers to present you with the perfect makeup finds.
[We will also] launch our fashion application that will use the same technology to read the color of a dress and recommend the perfect purse to accessorize. The launch of fashion will be essential to both men and women – no more guessing which tie will work with that shirt!
MN: When did you launch Plum Perfect?
AA: May 2012. But, I’ve spent many years building the technology, filing patents etc. Since our launch, we’ve experienced 350 percent growth in new users and 150 percent growth in returning visitors.
MN: How many retailers/brands have signed up for this platform?
AA: Over 20 top brands and retailers are part of the Plum Perfect network. We expect this technology to be an online game changer for our preferred retail partners, with reach into beauty, fashion, and home décor.
MN: How long did it take you to convince your first retail/brand partner to sign up? Was it an easy or hard sell?
AA: Once I figured out the key was to show a demo of what we’ve built and its capabilities, it was an easy sell. We have a number of different ways that we can partner with brands and retailers. One exciting new initiative is Beauty Sampling 2.0. where we use technology and each person’s unique color signature to recommend colors and products that she will love AND use. [Madame Noire readers] can register at PlumPerfect.com to be notified when this program goes live!