In the classic app-genesis story, Slobodskaya and co-founder Will Newton came up with the idea for Shortcut after frustration with traditional barber shops. “When you’re working in a corporate environment and working 9 to 8, you don’t have time to leave and get a haircut,” says Slobodskaya. According to Slobodskaya, most barber shops don’t offer online booking platforms, and the ones that do still force you to come to them -- so tech 1.0.
As Irv and Will are quick to point out, the profession of cutting hair hasn’t really changed since… well, ever. “Barbers aren’t well allocated at their shop,” says Slobodskaya. “For a 40 dollar haircut, your barber might only see 16 to 22 dollars of that.” At Shortcut, barbers are free to choose their own hours and keep 70% of the cost of the haircut. Plus, barbers have a profile on the app that shows reviews and examples of their work, so users know what they’re getting. These features present an opportunity both for users and for barbers, meaning everybody benefits. And it’s showing up in their numbers, too -- although the app just launched in January of 2016, they’ve already reached 20,000 users. Will said that the majority of barbers who sign up with them love it, and retention rates are high on both sides (with 80% of barbers staying with the service and a 40% retention rate among clients.)