As #lockdown2.0 lifts restrictions for a sector that’s been hit hard by social distancing measures, HairFare, a professional-to-host matchmaking platform for the hair and beauty industry, launches today to allow business owners and professionals to optimise opportunities for earning potential and increase flexible working revenue streams. The much-needed platform launches following 6 months of disruption to those working in the industry, which has seen an estimated hit of £9000 per small business this year, with a third of businesses forecast to close permanently, according to research from SimplyBusiness.
To boost long-term income potential – in any financial climate – it’s common practice for salons, studios and barbershops to rent chairs and under-utilised space to self employed professionals. But despite the hair and beauty industry having generated over £7.5bn in turnover for the UK economy, it is a market that’s lacking innovation. In the UK, 54% of barbers/hairdressers and 57% of beauticians are self employed professionals that until now have had no option but to take a time-consuming, unreliable and convoluted approach to finding relevant ‘hosts’ on online classified advertisement communities such as Gumtree. Businesses have also been shoehorned into taking the inefficient and costly route, advertising on non-specialised websites and having to pay in advance without any assurance of trustworthy results.
With the hair and beauty industry facing an uncertain year ahead, shop owners and professionals need to maximise revenue opportunities at every moment they are allowed to open. HairFare responds to this challenge and has been designed as a long-term solution to streamline the method of connecting professionals with businesses and to ultimately help shop owners and professionals tap into greater earning potential, quickly and easily.
Specific industry challenges that the HairFare platform solves:
- Helps hair and beauty shops, studios and salons to ensure that every chair or available space is in use, bringing in extra revenue from better optimised real estate.
- Simplifies the search for new talent for hair and beauty businesses.
- Helps hair and beauty professionals to find available space to work, on an hour by hour, day by day basis.
- Ensures hair and beauty professionals have the best chance of earning maximum revenues, allowing them to top up earnings that might have been restricted due to social distancing measures.
- Extend the network of hair and beauty professionals, allowing the opportunity to meet new clientele from new locations.
- Enables businesses to change model: reducing dependency on customers as rent is prepaid, and opens up the opportunity to generate a more stable income.
- Provides opportunity for qualified professionals and the next generation of hair and beauty apprentices to hone their skills, gain crucial experience, and start to build their own client base
Co-founder, HairFare, Murat Feimoglu said: “Hairfare is a digital matchmaking solution that shows available working space/chairs for rent to hair and beauty professionals that need somewhere to work in a convenient location. What this means for shop owners is that in those moments when they are allowed to open, they can continue to make the most they can, which will help their survival in ‘closed’ periods.”
A win-win solution, professionals will also benefit from the freedom and flexibility of finding work more efficiently, and more relevantly, based on skills and location. “Our matchmaking solution will also help professionals – who are their own bosses and want to serve clients on their own terms – to enjoy a work/life balance that opens up time and opportunity to maintain important focus on their mental health and wellbeing,” added Feimoglu.
The pain of rental chair
An agile solution, the HairFare platform has been designed to fully digitise the rental chair market. Unlike the online advertisement sites currently used to list rental opportunities, the platform offers a specialised experience that allows users to share more detail, making the matching experience more targeted. It covers areas such as cutting walk-ins and private clients; services offered and price; and equipment supplied.
“By taking a tech-powered approach to solving the rental space problem, we have created a platform that alleviates the pain points associated with the traditional rental chair marketplace for both businesses and professionals alike,” said co-founder, HairFare, Omer Ukuser.
“The hair and beauty industry is lagging behind its counterparts in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector when it comes to technological advancements. This gap became even more evident when social distancing measures were implemented, and the open-closed-open restrictions put in place. But regardless of these uncertain times, this sector needs a long-term and user friendly solution that takes the pain away from professionals and shop owners alike who are seeking space / expertise to boost income and create a more flexible approach to work.
“Our users are at the centre of our platform, and for their benefit, we aim to be the disruptive brand which leads a shift in the culture of working from traditional techniques to a mobile, agile arrangement,” concluded Ukuser.
Hairfare is making a staged launch across the UK, and is currently available in North, South, East, West and Central London; Essex; Northampton; Southampton; Kent; and Wigan, with plans to expand into cities across the UK in 2021.