Faces of AWNY: Giorgia Rossi

Georgia Rossi is a Co-Founder of Lookbooker an online booking aggregator of hair and beauty services that is revolutionizing the way you make salon appointments.

Favorite NYC brunch spot

La Buvette

Favorite NYC cocktail spot & cocktail of choice

Wallflower on West 12th Street (they also do a great dinner!). After a long day in the office, the aptly named Stockholm Syndrome is perfect and for a Summer’s evening I can’t go past the Negroni.

How did you get into your job in NYC?

I had been travelling in NYC during university and then spent 5 months as a tourist exploring and getting to know the city without any intention of working in the US. When the idea for LookBooker came along, I knew that NYC would be the perfect launch pad as the best hair and beauty market in the world. In my former life, I was a management consultant traveling across Australia and my Co-Founder and I lead really busy lives – sometimes travelling to 2+ cities a week. We started LookBooker as users in need of the service we provide. We were working long hours and it floored us that it was easier to book a round the world flight, doctor’s appointment or takeway than it was to book a haircut. As we began to interview salons and spas in NYC, we knew that the inefficiency of offline appointment taking was a major pain point for business owners too. We knew we had to build LookBooker and we launched it in New York last year.

What do you like about being part of AWNY?

There’s nothing better than a network of women supporting each other and the AWNY network were some of my earliest customers and chief brand evangelists! When you mix the easy going nature of an Australian with the fun you can have in NYC as a woman, there’s no better combination for a friend, champion or customer!

What was your biggest win this week?

This week I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at the Built By Girls conference on entrepreneurialism and fundraising. It’s so energizing to be able to speak to the next generation of budding entrepreneurs and even more exciting to see so many young women have the courage to pursue working in the technology space (traditionally very male dominated). When a group of high school-ers can restore your faith in the future of women in technology, that’s a pretty big win.

What’s the biggest challenge or road block you’ve been faced with since being in NYC and how do you overcome it?

I think that the size of New York City can be overwhelming. At LookBooker we are chasing a huge market – there are 10,000 salons in the city alone and we want every single one of them to know that they can now be part of a marketplace that lets people book hair and grooming appointments online. It can sound clichéd but there never seem to be enough hours in the day to reach our clients and we want to extend an invite to every single business in the industry to join the platform. I’ve had to learn how to rapidly prioritize – to be comfortable with disappointing some people and to get comfortable with going to bed each night knowing that my to do list is longer than it was when I began that morning. New York is full of hustlers though and as they say in this city – the struggle is real.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about living/working in NYC?

I’ve always loved the Simone de Beauvoir quote “there is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless”. It’s true, there is so much to do, so many things to see and people to speak with I have gotten comfortable with adding more hours to the day!

Who are some Aussie ladies doing awesome things in NYC who are currently on your radar?

In the startup space, I think that Alex Keating at DWNLD is doing great things. In fashion there are so many amazing designers making waves here (including Rachael Ruddick and Camilla Franks). In the corporate world my cousin, Fiamma Fay Morton is the regional head of CBA over here (and winning the prize for best dressed woman in banking) and of course there is Chantelle and Emma, leading the charge at Business Chicks who are helping us all come together!

Where do you live? Why did you choose that area?

I live in the village – it’s the perfect mix of vagabonds, characters, NYU students and some of the best restaurants and bars in the city. There’s no busier, more vibrant or more eclectic neighborhood to live on the island!

What do you like/dislike about living in NY?

I love the energy the city gives me. Every morning is a hive of activity and the ambitious nature of New Yorkers (native and transplants) motivates me to reach higher and higher. There’s nothing like feeling you’re going to be knocked off your perch at any moment to keep you humble and hard working!

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment/s?

I was lucky enough to have my parents visit me for a week in the Spring and to have gotten to see all of those beautiful spring flowers break through the dirt after a long and snowy winter, that was pretty cool. Being Australian I’m convinced that I’m genetically wired to be more affected by the snow and the cold here so, just like the flowers, I was excited to get the chance to have some new beginnings in the spring!

What do you do?

I’m the founder of LookBooker. LookBooker is an online platform that is revolutionizing the way that New Yorkers book their hair and beauty appointments. We’ve simplified the process and offered an online booking solution so that customers can now search for, compare and instantly book with one of hundreds of salons, spas and barbershops without having to make a phone call! We launched in 2014 and are now the biggest online hair and beauty marketplace in the city. You can check it out here!

As a Professional working in NYC what are the differences to working in Australia?

New Yorkers are much more direct than was my experience prior to working here. They’re not afraid to ask for what they want, to give you feedback or to make moves that favor their career advancement. In a city where anything is possible for those who work for it that creates an incredible opportunity to be amongst it and for every machiavellean move in their artillery New Yorkers are as willing to lend a hand to those who ask.

Any advice for other Professionals working in NYC?

The advice that I usually share is around being a woman in technology and in the U.S and that’s to be not scared off by the numbers but to be aware of them. Women are definitely fighting an uphill battle here – <3% of venture backed founders are women, <5% of venture funding goes to women, women start businesses with 1/8th of the capital of men, and <4% of senior venture partners are women. As a woman I think it’s important to be armed with this information and know the landscape you’re a part of but also be comforted with the knowledge that whilst the odds are not in our favor, there’s never been a better time for women in technology. With the support and infrastructure that now exists, with the renewed focus there is around better gender balance in the industry and with awesome role models to look up to and forge through ahead of you there’s no reason not to be excited!

What’s your favorite New York spot?

I love walking around the East Village and my favorite coffe shop in the morning and bar in the evening is The Roost on Avenue B. I love settling in to read my book over coffee with my boyfriend there and ordering a wine from the same table when it turns into the evening!

Anything you miss about Australia?

Everything! Carmello Koalas, Violet Crumbles, Tim Tams, the sand at Bondi Beach, my Mum and Vegemite. Send help please!

What are your top 3 tips for friends visiting NYC?

Make a trip out to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and Prospect Park if you want an off the beaten track version of Central Park. Australian coffee is better than American coffee so head over to visit my friends at Two Hands on Mott St for some “good food by good dudes”. Make sure you visit one of the jazz bars in Greenwich Village – Blue Note is my absolute favorite.

20150629 Lookbooker Giorgia Rossi-25

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