Imagine this: Uber but for barbershops!
In a world that is run by the internet and online shopping, Darren Tenkorang and his team innovated a unique idea to change and transform the barber industry. Right after developing an app that would allow customers to book appointments online, the innovator established the tech-enabled mobile barbershop, TRIM-IT. Explained in a Forbes feature, Darren’s idea began when he spent hours in a barbershop waiting for an appointment. He then texted a friend saying: “I’m thinking of making an appointment app for barbers”.
A small dorm room at the University of Sussex was where it all began. Darren and his team entered a business competition winning £10,000. This gave them the capital to develop a platform that would make it easier for people to book haircut appointments. Although they had signed up almost 300 barbers with the app, it was not providing customers with the high-quality service Darren had hoped for. The businessman knew he had to delve deeper into the next step for their business.
The graduate decided to then go a more innovative route and presented an unconventional idea that changed the view of barbershops – a barbershop in the back of a van. The proposition was that the already developed app, TRIM-IT, would grant customers the platform to book a mobile barber to their homes, workplaces or even gyms. This service however, would come at a higher cost, as barbers would be earning a little more than the average barber due to the convenience of the service.
To move the idea forward, Darren and his team started to renovate a van in his mum’s backyard, he stated:”The first build was a complete experiment no one knew what they were doing.”
Along with the van build, the team had to focus on adjusting the app for the needs of the business. Peter Lloyd (co-founder & chief technology officer) took the lead in reshaping the app, making it efficient for customers to book their appointments, and barbers to respond effectively.
Their first mobile barbershop was a big hit. Due to their successful business model, they attracted angel investors, enabling them to grow to 7 mobile barbershops and 11 barbers. Furthermore, the barbers were giving 65 haircuts a day, before the UK went into its first national lockdown.
Due to the convenience of TRIM-IT, sales increased up to 300% after the lockdown. This proved to be an overwhelming demand that they simply could not meet, due to the size of the company at that stage. Trying to service all of London, they had a waiting list of 7000 men. It became clear to Darren and his team that they needed to expand. They concluded that barbers would be given their own barbershop van and would pay a monthly fee of £335 per month. The TRIM-IT team would also take 0-9% commission on sales.
Raising $1.1 million to expand the franchise model, Darren and his team can now move forward providing endless opportunities for barbers, and convenience to customers.
TRIM-IT has a goal of having 2,500 vans throughout the US and Europe.
With the support of family and friends, Darren has built an ever-growing and ever-evolving business. In a video posted on his twitter, Darren’s dad expressed how proud he was of his son, whilst using the TRIM-IT service:”I’m so proud Darren … of what you’ve done, especially with this TRIM-IT. I never thought of something of this sort in my life, but you coming up with this – I’m very very proud.”
In light of the coronavirus lockdown and closure of barbers, TRIM-IT will be back in service in April! We wish them more success.