Michael Thurman had a 1-year-old at home and another baby on the way when the onset of COVID-19 left him out of work for eight weeks, he shared. Contemplating how he could have more freedom and stability as a barber, the wheels began to spin under Thurman’s scalp.
His idea: to create a traveling barber platform, now known as Cutting fleet – it would allow barbers to connect with clients and easily perform their services at a client’s preferred location – whether in the office, at home or wherever possible.
“It was the day I was returning to work when this idea of ’Uber for barbers’ came to my mind,” said Thurman, describing the inspiration for Cutter Fleet. “My wife really supported me to go; so that was crazy – being a hairstylist and getting into the tech industry. Cutter Fleet has changed a lot over the past year.
Click on here to visit the Cutter Fleet website.
As Thurman first attempted to rock Cutter’s fleet, he naively tried to secure investment funds, he recalls, and was immediately shut down.
“But I got some really good advice,” Thurman continued. “I took that advice and started growing the business by learning more about the technical side, building relationships with software developers, learning what it meant to have a back platform. -end and now learning to code. “
Thurman went from barely using his social media in April 2020 to launching the first website he ever created four months later in August, he said.
Cutter Fleet is currently a web platform, but an IOS and Android app is expected in the coming months, Thurman said. The app will be different from the website in that clients and barbers will have the ability to rank and build relationships.
“Like Uber, every barber and customer will have a profile,” Thurman said. “The classification system consists of eliminating these [barbers] who do not do a good job or are unprofessional, as well as ensuring that barbers are not abused by a particular client. … Yes [a client] classifies someone as five stars, then the system will alert them first to the availability of that barber.
Change in the rules
In addition to providing barbers with an outlet to work, Thurman wants to give barbers the financial freedom to set their own hours and rates, he said. Cutter Fleet is able to give barbers 90 percent of their service income because there is no brick-and-mortar overhead, he noted.
“What I am currently doing in the barber industry is to provide this convenience to barbers. There are experienced barbers across the country who are out of work due to their stores being closed during the pandemic. And then for young barbers, it’s an opportunity for them to develop their business, ”explained Thurman.
“[Physical shops] give barbers a fixed number on your value that you might disagree with, and there’s nothing wrong with believing you’re worth more.
While the pandemic has brought her obvious struggles, Thurman believes she has created opportunities to think differently about everyday life, he shared.
“We’re seeing a huge shift in what it means to be in a work environment – it doesn’t now mean you’re within the confines of a brick and mortar space,” he said. “I cut my hair in town; I have people in the suburbs. These guys don’t have to sit in crowded hair salons on Saturday mornings – they can mow the grass while their sons have their hair cut, then go about their business. So it’s really convenient for everyone.
Thurman also has a handful of clients who require in-home haircuts due to medical issues, he added.
Anticipating the growth and success of Cutter Fleet, Thurman is already planning to launch a sister start-up specializing in women’s beauty services called Babe Squad KC, he said.
“Many women have asked me about services for women,” Thurman said. “… We are currently looking for stylists for the Babe Squad KC platform. I think it will be fine – we’re talking about blowouts on the spot, makeup artists, nail techs, and whatever else we can travel with.
Giving back to the community
Thanks to his loyal customers and those who helped him along the journey with Cutter Fleet, Thurman felt adopted by the Kansas City community, he said.
In turn, a significant part of Cutter Fleet supports the communities in which the small business serves, he noted. Two areas where Cutter Fleet intentionally seeks to give back include helping veterans and people with autism.
“I have a close relative with an intellectual disability, so it’s important for me to always find ways to donate to research groups and support programs. [to] people and families who need support, ”Thurman explained. “I give back to veterans programs because I’m a veteran.
“It is important that we support each other,” he continued, “because for so many veterans the war is still not over.
Click on here for the latest updates on Cutter Fleet.
This story is possible thanks to the support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, non-partisan foundation that seeks to create inclusive prosperity through a prepared workforce and entrepreneur-driven economic development. The Foundation works to change conditions, tackle root causes and break down systemic barriers so that all people – regardless of race, gender or geography – have the opportunity to achieve economic stability. , mobility and prosperity.