Inspiring Startups — How Dr. Tye & Courtney Caldwell Created ShearShare
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Dr. Tye & Courtney Caldwell are the married co-founders of SHEARSHARE, the first salon and barbershop space rental app.
Dr. Tye is a 25-year beauty industry veteran, is a #1 best selling author, and holds a doctorate in professional barbering.
Courtney spent 20 years as a B2B tech marketer and is a 2018 Dallas business journal women in technology honoree.
What’s special about SHEARSHARE?
SHEARSHARE is the first app that lets stylists rent space to work by the day in cities all over the world!
Why did you start SHEARSHARE ?
Originally, monetizing empty space was a problem we were trying to solve for ourselves. We had watched too many of our friends have to close down salons due to not being able to fill their stations with professional stylists.
And on the flip side, we saw so many passionate stylists leave the industry because booth rent was too costly and/or they didn’t want to be tied down to a long term lease contract.
So when we happened upon this idea by accident, we knew we could help bridge the gap on both sides.
How did you start it? Did you have any previous experience as an entrepreneur?
Yes, Tye is what many would dub, “unemployable”. He’s been an entrepreneur since the age of 19 and is used to taking calculated risks. When we started SHEARSHARE, we actually drew each screen of the app on a Chipotle napkin.
How do you go building an app when you don’t have the technical expertise?
By the time we considered building an app, we had 3 years of experience manually matching stylists to empty salon space. So, those months served to inform the user experience on the app. Once we had that in hand, we needed a technical arm that could build out our MVP (minimum viable product).
That’s when we called a friend out in Silicon valley (who is now an advisor) and asked for her guidance. She connected us to a third-party tech team that was able to code our SHEARSHRE MVP.
How did you validate your idea?
We didn’t know it at the time, but we were validating our idea when we were manually matching for 3 years.
How did you finance your project?
We bootstrapped for the first year and then subsidized additional capital by winning pitch competitions. Then we were accepted into YC fellowship and received a startup grant and then 500 startups, which was our largest infusion of capital at the time.
How did you market and promote Shearshare when you were launching?
Word of mouth. We tried Facebook ads, but that was an epic fail
How long did it take to get your first customers ?
We generated our first customer on the first day of our beta launch. It was a traveling stylist headed to South Carolina.
What do you like most being an entrepreneur?
The ability to create and in doing so, impact so many lives and businesses
What has been your biggest challenge/failure as an entrepreneur?
You are challenged everyday and learn something new everyday as an entrepreneur. The biggest failure comes only when you stop.
How do you manage developing different businesses at the same time while keeping focus and without burning out? (SHEARSHARE, your salon, …)
Our passion is all things beauty and barbering. No matter what, we will be doing something together in beauty and tech. Passion for our community of stylists and owners keep us going.
What has been your revenue progression at SHEARSHARE since you launched?
The first month we made $ 200. But we were happy! More so because real people were actually using something that we had imagined in our minds. Now we’re much further along from a revenue standpoint.
What’s your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Jump and grow your wings on the way down!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Daily meditation/prayer, making lists, spending time with the team.