MAZE Services are bridging the gap of convenience & quality by providing the in-salon experience on demand. From cuts to blowouts, up-dos, and braids, the Maze team members are committed to providing the salon experience on the go. We chat to founder Macie Mata about how acquisition has her team tackling other areas within the US and how she is aiming to take on the tech industry post-seed round funding.
Hey Macie, can you introduce yourself to us?
My name is Macie Mata, Founder, and CEO of MAZE Services.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
I grew up in a small town outside of Chicago and have been on the run since I turned eighteen. I immediately jumped into my seven-year, financial career as a teller with Wells Fargo Bank, using that opportunity to climb the corporate ladder and eventually finding my passion within the business. My career took me all over the United States. I spent time in Nashville, Charlotte, San Francisco, and New York. After my time in Silicon Valley, I knew I wanted to build something that could have a mass influence on the beauty industry and that is when I started MAZE Services.
What is a day in the life of you like?
I start my day with a morning stretch and meditation around 7am. Then I head into the office to get everything started. My workload is very dependent on my company’s current stage, but as of right now we are working on our internship program, the funding round, and market execution prep as we continue product development.
Typically, I stop working around 4pm and get in a workout before kicking off our department calls around 9pm. I try my best to wind down around midnight, but I am very much a night owl. My business partner will vouch on that statement as she is used to my late night emails and brainstorming sessions.
What is the concept behind the mobile hair and nail app MAZE Services?
Bridging the gap of convenience and quality for our clients by mobilising these everyday services. Also, give stylists everywhere the power they deserve over their schedule and income.
How is your MAZE funded, is it bootstrapped, self-funded ect?
As of right now, we are self-funded. Bootstrapping is a skill set all its own and you need a strong team backing you up. We just opened our seed round and we will be raising $300K to better assist in the execution of our first three markets.
Can you tell us more about the brand DNA and ethos?
Our brand is bright and inviting. We are providing male services as well, so as much as we need our brand to represent the beauty industry it also must be appealing to men.
Can you tell us how you are helping to bridge the gap for your clients in a service driven industry?
In today’s world, convenience and quality are key. We vet out all of our stylists so you can get salon grade quality without leaving the house. You also get to pick your personal stylists from star ratings and reviews. The industry will still be driven by service, but our app allows you to know more about the stylist you’re booking than ever before.
Can you highlight 3 ways to successfully launch an app into the tech market?
The major tech market is Silicon Valley. MAZE will be targeting mid-sized markets for a better execution rate. Silicon Valley is a great market, but our plan for a future acquisition has us tackling other areas within the US first.
Who does the team involve behind you?
Right now, we are a small, but powerful team. As we execute each market we will add to our internal team. Outside of the in-house tea,m we have 50 stylists that are ready for our Charlotte launch.
- Samonica Ngo, co-founder,
- Lauren Hix, marketing manager,
- Falon Wanless, marketing intern,
- Denoro Stallworth, lead engineer,
- Oilides Rodriguez, backend engineer.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
The location is unknown because MAZE plans to execute 10 mid-sized markets per year, after year one. Once we get closer to year five I hope to see us in a position to be acquired or acquiring our competitor. My team feels strongly about the ecosystem in Charlotte, so we will most likely keep our headquarters in this area as we grow.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
Early in my corporate career, I was very insecure about not being a college graduate. I had to sell myself on skillset and experience when that topic came up in an interview. Now I find myself struggling with the male, female dynamic when it comes to the Investor and Technology industry. Both are very male-dominated and women must constantly push to prove themselves. I know we can shift this culture, but it will take time.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
Throughout my career I have had numerous mentors and I know, because of these relationships I was able to push myself to new levels. Not only was I constantly learning from people who had already done it, but they saw things in me that I couldn’t. I encourage everyone to find a mentor within their industry.
What outlets do use to market MAZE?
Social media is such a huge marketing tool in today’s world. We have different marketing strategies for Facebook and Instagram due to the target customer, but they are our most popular currently.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
Currently, myself and my co-founder make it a point to stay active in our community. We do charity events and lots of networking within the Startup Ecosystem. Surrounding yourself with likeminded people is always a great strategy to ensure you feel supported.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about the tech industry and how are you using your platform and voice to educate people more?
I feel a lot of the things said about the Tech Industry are currently true. Diversity is an issue and women are just starting to find a voice. I know the success of my business will give me more influence over this topic and I’ll continue to make strides daily to represent women and our power.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
Millennials are breaking barriers and shifting the way the world does business. I’d love to see more support around the non-traditional ideas millennials bring to the table, but also millennials being more patient with the work place as they adapt and learn new skills.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
As an entrepreneur, we want to do everything all at once. The best advice I have received and continue to remind myself daily, is to concur one thing at a time. When it comes to our target market, product development, and scaling I must guide my team to accomplish the first step before jumping to the second. This truly is a marathon, not a sprint.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Fire fast. If someone isn’t fit for your team to get rid of them. Bad energy or intentions can spread to your entire team and the longer you allow that, the longer it takes to get everything back in order.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
What is the balance? I am an entrepreneur. I am obsessed with what I am creating, and it consumes my life. My best friend is my business partner, which is a blessing but can also make things difficult. Right now, my health and my business are my two priorities. To others, this may look like a lot of sacrifice, but I absolutely love what I am doing. Surround yourself with people that get it and your days will feel less lonely.
A seminal point in your career so far?
I’d say I’ve always had an entrepreneur hustle and mindset, but when I moved to Silicon Valley is when I started to understand the difference in startups and structured, corporate stability. I learned that my risky ideas were okay and that’s what really pushed me to follow my true passion. I then took a leap of faith and moved back to NC to start MAZE and step out of my financial career.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
When I see others excited about what we have built it is immediate satisfaction. To know that we have the power to influence mass amounts of people and completely shift an industry is exhilarating.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your business?
Being self-funded was my initial struggle. I scaled back my lifestyle to make this dream a reality. Once I adapted to that change it has always been the team. Bringing on new team members can be stressful. They need to believe in our mission and mesh with the existing culture. Without my team, I can’t stay afloat, so I’m always challenging myself to be better for them.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
Within the beauty industry, I admire the DryBar brand and the empire they have built. The consistency within the salons and the bright yellow never fails to represent them well.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I just got a 12-month subscription for ‘Harvard Business Review’ and I’m overly excited!
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- ‘This Week In Startups’ with Jason Calacanis.
- ‘The Failure Factor.’
- ‘The Pitch.’
How do you define success?
If I consistently do the activities that have me operating at my highest level I feel successful. I enjoy doing 1-2-week hyper-focused sprints. Knowing exactly what my schedule will be within that time and what goals I will aim to accomplish bring me satisfaction and the most success.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN is an amazing movement. I stand behind anything that empowers women and gives us a voice. If we continue to stand together I believe the way the world does business will truly change. We are paving the way for future female generations.
Finally, what can we expect from you next throughout 2019?
In 2019 my team plans to execute three markets. You will see our brand throughout Charlotte, NC, Denver, CO and Nashville, TN. I am excited for 2019 to truly pave the way for our future scaling process and showcase all we’ve been working on.