This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 26/03/2018.
These Croydon brothers are launching a new app which lets you ‘order a hairdresser like an Uber’
At just 19 and 23 years old, the Shah brothers have big plans to help you keep your hair looking stylish.
If you’ve ever desperately needed a haircut but not had time to travel to your favorite salon or barber shop, a pair of young Croydon brothers could have the solution to your problem.
Gopal Shah, 19, and his older brother Nand, who both live in Purley, have created an app which they describe as “Uber for hairstyling” and it is going to launch by the start of April.
Customers who use the new app, called Freestyle Cuts, will be able to find a stylist in their area to visit their home and give them a cut and blow dry, a new hair colour or even a beard restyle.
The app will work in a similar way to services such as room rental company AirBnB, takeaway outfit Deliveroo and cab service Uber – with customers being matched to hairdressers who can come at a time to suit them both.
The brothers came up with the idea after realising that “they were spending three hours each time on trips to their favourite salon”.
Gopal, who received his A-level results last August, said: “I always loved the idea of having my own business which could offer something a bit different and while I was reading and researching I realised that the way which hair salons work is still the same as it was 20 years ago.
“For example, my hair salon is 45 minutes away from where I live so by the time I get there, have an appointment and get back, I’ve spent three hours on a haircut.
“That’s not to mention that I might have been my barber’s only appointment for the day but he could have been sitting there for the rest of the day twiddling his thumbs.
“It’s just not a productive use of time for customers or for stylists.
“Platforms where people can order services are really popular and I realised there wasn’t one for hair yet – but that there should be.”
With the help of Nand, who recently got his degree in computer science from King’s College London, the brothers made the app a reality and the brothers expect it to be available for download by the beginning of April.
Freestyle Cuts will cater for bookings in every London borough – but Nand insists that the brand will “represent Croydon” and hopes he can help “challenge negative stereotypes about the borough”.
The 23-year-old, who grew up in Norbury and studied at Carshalton College, said: “Everyone who isn’t from Croydon seems to have these really bad perceptions of what it’s like – I’ve been told it’s a really rough area where people get stabbed every week and nothing good happens, which isn’t true.
“We would love to help change that stereotype and help Croydon become known as a place where there are a lot of new businesses and where young people can achieve their ambitions.
“I hope we can show other young people that they have the potential to make a difference and to change the way we do everyday things – no matter where they come from.”
All stylists using Freestyle Cuts will be CRB checked – and the Shah brothers will also make sure they have relevant qualifications, experience and insurance before letting them sign up to the app.
Signing up to the app is free and customers won’t be charged to download it, but stylists will pay a 30% commission charge on any jobs booked and completed using the service.
Stylists will be able to set their prices and which areas they travel to, as well as which services they offer and when they are available.
After each booking, customers will be asked to review their stylist and will have the option of leaving a tip – just like the system with Uber.
Nand added: “The average person would never have thought about booking a car and a chauffeur before Uber came out – but now, it’s the new normal.
“We want to give everyone the chance to have the luxury of a haircut in their own home like how a celebrity would have a personal stylist.”
To find out more about the new app, visit www.freestylecuts.com
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