Bloom and Bust: Spa app’s abrupt closure leaves vendors, customers out of pocket

The BloomMe logo and the company’s founders, Iella Koblenz and Philipp Imanuel Koblenz. Photos: Facebook
The BloomMe logo and the company’s founders, Iella Koblenz and Philipp Imanuel Koblenz. Photos: Facebook

Well, that got ugly fast. Spa and salon booking app BloomMe has abruptly closed, leaving both vendors and customers confused and out of pocket.

The company emailed its vendors and customers on Tuesday evening to say that they had ceased operations, effective immediately. The app, which allowed users to book and pay for beauty appointments at over 1,300 spas and salons, had a reported customer base of 250,000 people in Hong Kong. BloomMe Pro, the company’s spa management software, has also gone offline, leaving business owners that bought subscriptions high and dry.

Many users have taken to social media to complain that they were blindsided by the closure. One member of the popular Hong Kong Moms Facebook group said she had recently purchased “BloomMe credit” (which could be redeemed against treatment costs) when the company ran a promotion just a few weeks ago.

A notice on BloomMe’s website says the business “collapsed” due to circumstances beyond their control, “including but not limited to the corona[virus] outbreak”. However, dozens of vendors say they have been chasing the company for payment since the end of last year.

Apple Daily reports that a group of more than 50 people went to the Western Police Station yesterday to file a complaint against the company, claiming that they were owed a total of HKD2 million for treatments that they gave to BloomMe customers. Meanwhile, a former BloomMe employee also told the paper that they were owed wages, and would be contacting the Labor Department for help.

The police has reportedly classified the case as fraud, and an investigation is currently underway. No arrests have been made at the time of writing.

BloomMe was founded in Hong Kong in 2015 by Philipp Imanuel Koblenz and Iella Koblenz, a married couple from Germany. As one of the earliest and most comprehensive beauty booking apps that launched in the city, it quickly grew its user base through events and word of mouth. Full disclosure: we actually wrote about one of these events.

In September 2019, Philipp Koblenz gave an interview on the Hong Kong International Business Channel, where he said the company had opened a Taipei office and was planning to expand to other cities around the region.

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CITY: HONG KONGCATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: BUSINESS

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