ShearShare, like most great business ideas, originated at the intersection of expertise and necessity. The ShearShare mobile app helps barbers and cosmetologists find open booths to work while salon owners turn their empty chairs into extra dollars.
What started as leveraging their personal connections between beauticians and salon owners grew into a manual matchmaking manhunt. As the two founders, Courtney and Tye Caldwell, spent more and more time matching stylists to empty salon chairs, they soon realized it was time to leverage digital connectivity.
How it Works: one platform evoking limitless social shearing
Household names like AirBnb, Car2go, and TaskRabbit are pioneers of the sharing economy—they make traveling, commuting, and even cleaning your oven easier. Now ShearShare is doing the same for beauty and barbering professionals.
By downloading ShearShare’s mobile application from the iTunes or Google Play store, licensed barbers, hair stylists, makeup artists, estheticians, nail technicians, and massage therapists can book open work spaces at salons and barbershops in their area using a simple city search. This allows them to provide on-demand accessibility and service their clientele in a professional environment.
Salon and barbershop owners love the app, too, as it can help them increase revenue. By listing their excess inventory on ShearShare, they are more likely to hit full capacity, and by filling seats with new clientele, they’re growing brand exposure outside their community.
Meet the Caldwells:
Many have described the cofounder dynamic as similar to finding a lifetime partner—indinero’s cofounders even attribute much of their success to couple’s counseling—but for ShearShare’s founders, Courtney and Tye Caldwell, the two already had a rock-solid 15-year relationship under their belt.
When asked about what it’s like to build a startup with a spouse, the couple’s answers would make even the loneliest hearts believe in soul mates:
“This is the person I would trust with my life. It’s even easier trusting him in business because we each have our lane that we run in. I’m not a hairstylist, so I can’t say what the stylist would want on the app, and he doesn’t run in my lane with marketing and operations. We let each other be the best that we can be for the company, so it makes it easy to build on each other’s strengths.”
– Courtney Caldwell, ShearShare’s Cofounder & COO
“I used to tell her all the time; ‘I wish I could hire someone like you. I wish I could pay you what you’re worth.’ And you know, here we are today running ShearShare and I’ve finally got the best team player that anyone could have. When it comes to having people that are teammates, whether it’s your wife or people that you hire, always look for the value in people and if you find that value, do whatever you can to get it.”
– Tye Caldwell, ShearShare’s Cofounder & CEO
Between the two of them, the Caldwells define “power couple.” Courtney has 20-plus years working in marketing for technology companies like Zendesk, Zenefits, and Oracle helping them build revenue-generating teams around the globe. Tye, who just received his Doctorate of Professional Barbering, has a lifelong career as a master barber/stylist and award-winning salon owner. His #1 best-selling book, “Mentored by Failure: A 5-Point Guide to Long-Term Success in the Beauty & Style Industry,” is a consolidation of teachings he’s passed on to others in the industry about creating successful businesses from behind the styling chair.
Entering the app landscape without a technical cofounder
You may have noticed that this pair isn’t the hoodie-wearing software engineers you might picture when you think “mobile app startup.” Because of this, the duo met some early skepticism when they originally explored the idea. However, thanks to their intuitions and reputable tech connections, they remained determined and built their vision.
Courtney and Tye worked with an outsourced app development company to build their app. Even though they decided to forego hiring an in-house developer or team, they wanted to feel connected to the team they did bring on:
“I’m all about relationships. I’m about teams. We ended up going with the dev team that we did because we wanted somebody who appreciated relationships, somebody who had character and integrity about their business, and who did some really cool work. We knew that in talking with the CEOs of a couple of companies, they probably hired people who were very similar.”
– Tye on what the Caldwells look for in their key business partners
Planning for volume and long-term growth with indinero
Just as ShearShare looked outward to develop their application, they knew that keeping up with the finances of a growing business was going to require just as much expert support. Tye had worked with accountants for his salon business to keep up with basic bookkeeping and tax filing but felt that ShearShare’s high volume of digital transactions and sales across multiple states would require a more robust solution.
“We knew we were going to a whole other level creating ShearShare, especially because it’s tech. While running my businesses, I always made sure I had all the information, all the numbers to review. When it comes to accounting, I need to know that I’m not overlooking anything. [With indinero] we realized that you guys were very detailed during our meetings and monthly calls and that was one of the things we required in a partner.”
– Tye on how indinero stood out against past accounting and bookkeeping support systems
The Caldwells heard about indinero through the Y Combinator network the two businesses share. From the start, Courtney and Tye appreciated indinero’s responsiveness and attentiveness to the business as a whole:
“It was the initial email from your CEO, the quick response back, and Jessica connecting us immediately with someone internally to serve as our main point of contact. We had such a good conversation with them, probably 45 minutes to an hour, talking about ShearShare, our unique business model, and the challenges that worried us going multi-city, multi-state, and multi-country. It was a really good conversation to get to the heart of the people there at indinero. That’s what made it so easy to saddle up with you guys.”
– Courtney shares how indinero exceeded her expectations from the start
Since getting up and running in February 2016, ShearShare has turned unused salon and barbershop seats into a new way to generate revenue, gaining recognition in the worldwide beauty industry and stateside in the startup community. The platform features a booming Rolodex of salons, spas, and barbershops from more than 240 cities and 11 countries and was recently named Startup of the Year at Tech.Co’s Innovate! conference.
— TechCo (@TechCoHQ) September 22, 2016
As the business owners look into their bright future, they see hiring possibilities and potential fundraising on the horizon:
“With indinero, we feel very confident that when we walk into those investor meetings, and the question about finances comes up, we’re locked, loaded, and ready with the right information.”