An ingenious new idea sees pop up barbershop on wheels take to the streets of London and Brighton.
Two young men from South Norwood, London, are revolutionising the haircut industry, rolling out a mobile barbershop that can be hired using a phone app.
Darren Tenkorang – co creator of ‘Trimit’ – was a student at Sussex and came up with the idea after realising the appeal of an on-demand hair cutting service.
In an interview with the BBC, Darren said that he came up with the idea after seeing an afro-Caribbean barber shop outside Brighton station and thinking ‘I could be alright here. I could feel at home’.
Darren went on to mention that one of the main reasons behind his ground-breaking idea was expediency: “I got sick of waiting for an hour at the barbers, especially on a Friday or Saturday,” he told the BBC. He also mentioned how afro-Caribbean hair ‘takes some expertise to cut well’ so a dedicated afro-Caribbean barbers that one can call upon when needed is a commodity that many people would benefit from.
Studying business management at Sussex, Darren – who also has dyslexia – managed to get a professional placement at an insurance firm in London however, worried that the dyslexia might have held him back in a numbers-based career, he re-accessed his options and decided to try his chances as an entrepreneur.
His initial project saw him develop an algorithm that matched user’s personalities with corresponding tutoring services tailored to their specific needs, however when this did not work out, he entered the StartUp Sussex Enterprise competition for student entrepreneurs and began to focus on his real passion: male grooming.
Speaking to the BBC he recalled his memories of going to barber shops as a child, saying that although there was always a ‘special feeling of community’ he mentioned feeling ‘frustration’ at the slow, meandering pace of the whole operation
“The new generation, like me, just want a trim and to get on with their day,”
“We live our life fast-paced” he added.
Amazingly Daniel’s ‘Trimit’ app won the competition earning him the title University of Sussex Entrepreneur of the Year and with the £10000 prize money he subsequently recruited fellow entrepreneur and rival Nana Darko who’s confidence he admired.
Nana, coming from a similar background to Darren and knowing the struggles of being a young black man and wanting an expedient, yet professional trim, agreed to become partners and together they trawled the streets of Brighton signing up barbers of all types.
However, just as they seemed to be on their way to success, the project ran into difficulty. There was no way to ensure the barbers turned up on time and also, they still hadn’t figured out how to make any money from the scheme.
As momentum slowed for their fledgling start-up, Darren decided to leave Brighton to start a job with a multinational sports betting company, keeping ‘Trimit’ going as a side project.
After a lack of success in the business world, Darren and Nana decided take a risk, they were going to try again but they would alter their original idea slightly: by getting a van.
Raising money with the help of family and friends, they stripped out a Ford Transit, installed a micro-barbers powered by an electric generator, hired two professional barbers and hit the town once more.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.