This startup wants to be the Uber for men's haircuts

by Sam Dewey
July 11, 2016

Chicago’s seen its fair share of tech startups looking to improve upon broken elements of the beauty industry. PrettyQuick made it easier to book appointments at top salons and Stylisted applied the on-demand model to that experience, inviting stylists and makeup artists directly into your home.

Now, a new Chicago-based beauty startup is hoping to get in on a cut of the market.

Meet Beau, a platform that provides $28 on-demand haircuts for men in Chicago. The service, which debuted at the beginning of the month, allows men looking for a cut to set up an appointment out of their own homes at a date and time of their choosing. After appointment details are entered, users submit descriptions or pictures of their current look as well as an overview of the style or cut they’re looking to move toward. Appointments are confirmed via SMS, and payments are made directly through the platform.

Co-founder Kevin Yun said there are plenty of apps designed with women in mind, but there are few options for men that are both local and affordable.

Dubbed “Beau Pros,” stylists on the platform are fully vetted and trained, Yun said. All of Beau’s hairdressers hold licenses through the State of Illinois, plus at least a year of experience under their belts. Experience at some establishments, like Great Clips or Super Cuts, may disqualify a candidate, Yun said. Following a background check, stylists are then onboarded via phone and ready to visit clients.

Ninety percent of what the user is charged goes directly to the stylist, in addition to 100 percent of the tip — which are also processed through the platform. Yun said no cash payments are allowed.

About 40 stylists were initially available during the platform’s launch. Since then, Yun said that pool has dwindled down to the low double-digits.

Yun said the team originally considered offering women services in addition to men’s haircuts, but ultimately opted to narrow down their service in order to focus on perfecting men’s haircuts.

“We knew that the male haircut experience at home was our first goal,” Yun said.

Yun previously founded UX/UI bootcamp Designation Labs, a business he launched from his dorm room at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He said he has since shifted focus to Beau full-time, an idea he has been working on since 2015. He and co-founder Manu Edakara work out of the city’s various co-working spaces, he said.

Though Yun said raising funds may very well sit on the horizon, confirming product/market fit is still his main priority.

“We’ll see where these next couple months take us,” he said.

Users can access Beau through their website, though Yun added that a native app is currently in the works.

Images via Beau.

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