Cherie, an App to Build Community Around Beauty, Donates $60k to L.A. Beauty Businesses Hit By COVID

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

Cherie, an App to Build Community Around Beauty, Donates $60k to L.A. Beauty Businesses Hit By COVID

Kelly Chen founded Cherie in August 2019 to bring a sense of community to a beauty industry that can sometimes feel alienating. A former general manager at Musical.ly (now TikTok), Chen launched her app out of Culver City as a platform to promote "honest discussions" about beauty, wherein people "define beauty on their own terms" and can find "trusted information about beauty products."


Cherie's app serves as a forum for 'honest' discussions about beauty and beauty products

As the COVID-19 crisis shuttered nail and hair salons and cloistered people inside their homes, content and discussion on Cherie around self-care, stress relief and tips for keeping hands moisturized amid all the hand-washing has ticked up.

Chen's platform has now garnered over 50,000 downloads, and she's using the attention to help Los Angeles beauty businesses and the entrepreneurs who fuel them cope with the fallout of the pandemic.

In April Cherie announced its Future Beauty Fund, pledging to commit $60,000 to 20 Los Angeles beauty businesses selected by community vote. The 100,000+ votes are now in, and the winners were announced Friday afternoon.

A selection of the winners told dot.LA how they intend to spend their prize-money. Common plans include next month's rent, hygienic materials like hand sanitizer to increase patrons' safety and restocking customer-favorite products.

"Now we can have a little bit of ease knowing we can use the award money towards our rent and focus more on getting back on our feet," said Jenelle Prieto, owner of Lancaster-based La Reve Beauty Spa.

Appreciation from the winners came in spades, both for Cherie's efforts and for support from the wider community.

Cherie set aside $110k to donate to the LA beauty community

"This donation means the world to us," said Judy Hiep, owner of Pasadena's Let's Go Hair Salon. "It's not only another surviving month for us, it's also keeping our dreams alive during these uncertain times."

"Sometimes in this line of business I find myself answering questions like, 'Is this all you do?' Or 'Are you also in school or something?'," said Jacqueline Villa, owner of J&J Studio in Artesia. "As if this career path is a hobby, and not a full-time, hands-on passion that happens to be my livelihood. To me, this donation means that there are people out there that understand the hard work and dedication to perform this craft, and realize how this pandemic has affected us and our clients."

An additional $50,000 will go to 50 beauty professionals who will get $1,000 each to provide content and expertise via Cherie's app over a two month stretch. Licensed cosmetologists, aestheticians, barbers, manicurists and certified makeup professionals were eligible to apply; winners have started onboarding and more will join on an ongoing basis, according to a company representative.

"Our community has been affected by COVID-19 and we just want to play our part in supporting them during this difficult time," Chen said.

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Xeal Raises $40 Million In Series B To Expand Its Charging Empire

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Xeal Energy logo and car in parking lot
courtesy of Xeal Energy

Xeal Energy, a high tech charging infrastructure company focused on apartment buildings and commercial real estate properties, secured $40 million dollars in Series B funding this week. Keyframe Capital led the round and ArcTern Ventures, Moderne Ventures, Ramez Naam, Nexus Labs, Wind Ventures and Alpaca VC also contributed.

For the last few years, Xeal has prided itself on going after customers that have typically been overlooked in the charging market. When dot.LA spoke with cofounder and CEO Alexander Isaacson, he’d just gotten back from a trip from Chicago where he’d been attending a senior living conference to see if there was a fit for chargers in retirement homes or assisted living communities. “It's cool to see other asset types—not just apartments and workplaces, but new types of buildings—starting to think about charging stations,” said Isaacson.

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Jury Rules in Favor of FIGS, Tosses Out False Advertising Lawsuit

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

​FIGS model showing off scrubs
Courtesy of FIGS

Scrubs maker FIGS gained a win in court this week after a jury found there was no merit to the false advertising and misleading business practices claims brought by rival medical apparel maker Strategic Partners Inc. (SPI).

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