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Quartered Steel, Owner Dan Wild, Talks Scissor Precision & Barbershop Success

Dan Wild is the brain behind Quarter West barbershop in Belfast, as well as the Quartered Steel scissors brand that many barbers now swear by. He welcomes me to Ireland and agrees to tell me more about his brand: “Our motto is essentially precision is everything. We try to make tools that are practical, that are functional, and that are easy for people to use.”  

Dan actually started out as an engineer, building bridges for a living, before eventually finding his way into barbering. So how did that come about? 

“The recession sort of kicked it all off to be fair. I decided to retrain, I retrained about 7 or 8 years ago and I wanted something that was a great sort of social event as well. Because when you work on building sites all your life you tend to find that you love being around fellas and it’s great crack, and you want something that sort of echoes that: barbershops are fantastic for that.” 

After that, he retrained with his friend Peter – after about a year, he decided to open a shop. Renting a space in a tattoo parlour ad naming it ‘Dapper Dan’, he started on the adventure that would eventually lead to rebranding as Quarter West. Now, they’ve been going five years.  

“This year alone we’ve had 738 new customers, our business is going from strength to strength. Within another 3-4 months we’ll be opening a shop in Belfast city centre. Hopefully that will be based where all the students are. So that’s how I started and where we are now.” 

Growing the business with Booksy 

One of Dan’s secret weapons for growing the business is the excellent bookings and marketing tool, Booksy.  

“Booksy is great for marketing to your clients. You can send emails out, push messages, SMS – so we would send messages out saying recommend a friend you get 10% of your haircut or something like that. So, we use that for marketing. It’s fantastic because there’ll always be the customers who will forget to get their hair cut. You can find your slipping away customers – we found that we had 200 clients who hadn’t been in in a two-week period. And normally they’re on three-week rotations.  

“You can just send a message. As a tool it’s one of the best in the industry, if not the best in the industry. You’ve now got where you can book with Instagram, so there’s a book now button that integrates with Booksy. It’s been fantastic for us.” 

Of course, Booksy alone can’t create repeat business! Dan explains how Quartered Steel have honed their cutting style.  

“We tend to do a lot of classic styling. Because our demographic tends to be mostly office staff, so it’s real classic cuts. Nice, easy styles – styles that guys can just get up in the morning and just style. We don’t tend to get a great deal of the skin fades – we do a good bit of it, but not a great deal. And that’s probably why we’ve been nominated for male grooming salon of the year, because we are a male grooming salon rather than a chop shop barbershop.” 

Let’s talk scissors.  

“When I first started I was using probably the worst tools available. Because you think scissors are just scissors. And I could sort of sense that there must be better out there. Then we started visiting the likes of Salon International – me and Andrew, my business partner – we looked at all these different brands and there’d be 500 different pairs of scissors that basically all did the same thing. I thought this can’t be right, there’s got to be a functional side to this.  

“So that’s when we decided that we’d start travelling over to Japan and Korea and China trying to find manufacturers who would make what we wanted to make but would also make it functional and easy to use. We found loads of manufacturers. Not all of them were fantastic, but some were brilliant, and we set our hearts on the ones that we work with now.” 

With big name barbers like Danny Robinson and Adie Phelan testing their products and giving them feedback, it’s no wonder that they’ve been it’s no wonder that they’ve been able to develop such an excellent range. In fact, they’ve managed to have no returns in two and a half years – quite a feat!  

“If you buy a second-hand pair of scissors then what you’re buying is somebody else’s problem. That’s why we looked into leasing. Leasing is fantastic because it’s tax deductible. As long as you’re making the payment every month, at the end of the year we’ll give you a statement that you can give to HMRC and offset it against tax. 

“Leasing makes it affordable for every single barber or hairdresser out there. If they come to us and say I’d love a pair of your scissors but I can’t afford it we’ll say okay, but can you afford £25 per month.” 

They offer a 3-year maintained programme, which includes servicing the scissors to ensure that they stay sharp all year around. If you want to get involved, then you can head to Quartered Steels for Life on Instagram or quarteredsteels.com; they’ve got all the information you need to lease (although you can also buy direct)! Fill in your and you’ll get the information back in a couple of days.  

You can also head to larrythebarberman.com, or find Larry the Barber Man on Instagram or Facebook, if you want to see more great interviews with fascinating barbers like Dan. It’s also a great way to catch up on all the best barbering tips and tricks to make sure you’re top of your game.  

 

 

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I interviewed Adrian Ward and Stefan Batory to find out more about the Booksy app, which already has 2 million people using it, and only seems to be growing. Stefan is the CEO of Booksy, and Adie is the VP of their ambassador programme – I catch up with them to find out more about the service they offered.

First of all, Adie tells me about the ambassadors that they’ve been recruiting and the work they’re doing worldwide:

“We find that most of our ambassadors come from guys and girls who have been using the product and are passionate about the product. They want to reach out and get involved and be more proactive with the company. So that’s pretty much what I do – I put people together and get them excited.”

What are you looking for specifically from barbers who want to get involved?

“It varies from nail techs to stylists to barbers – it’s not just in the barbering industry, it’s all over. When we’re looking to get them involved it’s really their passion for the product and how proactive they want to be.”

I’ve seen adverts on social media saying that Booksy can increase business by average of 20% – some people have seen an increase of as much as 40%. I ask Adie how this can be the case?

“It varies from merchant to merchant, but I think it’s the mere fact that they get focused and have more time for pampering their clients. This is very powerful for them. It’s about being more efficient with how they manage their customers – and because their customers can book 24/7, they find that the repeat business and the regular business grows.”

 

One concern that I have heard from some potential Booksy customers is the worry that using the service might cause their tax bills to rise, since the authorities will be checking details in the app. I ask Stefan to explain why this concern is a misguided one:

“First of all, I’ve never heard of authorities coming after Booksy merchants by checking the book against their financial statements. It’s a myth, no-one really checks that. But even if they did, I still believe that increase in revenue would be higher than the additional taxes. The benefit just outweighs the downside. When customers can book with you 24 hours seven days a week and the hassle is taken out of the process they simply become more frequent.”

Say you’re a business that wanted to sell your company, what difference would Booksy make?

“When you’re a company, Booksy helps you to understand what your best performing services are and who your best performing barbers are. How much money you make on specific services and products. By understanding your business better, you can make better business decisions. You can hire people before you run out of capacity. There are situations where we’ve heard from businesses that they have grown from two or three barbers to ten or even a dozen in just 12-18 months. So Booksy allows them to grow their business more efficiently.”

Adie adds that “The statistics don’t lie. Any investor will be interested in investing in a business if they can see the results.”

I also ask Stefan to explain the different analytics that Booksy makes available, a great tool for measuring your business performance.

“Booksy has pretty sophisticated business analytics, so basically you can use it to take the hassle out of running the business when it comes to day-to-day operations. If you need a monthly statement for your accountant or an investor, you can print it out and show them exactly how your business is doing. And it’s instant – you can see the high level KPIs or email yourself an excel spreadsheet.”

 

Booksy is a clearly an excellent service, but if you still need convincing then you might find it interesting to hear about some of the latest additions. It has recently integrated with certain Google services to help with bookings, and also has an integration with Yelp which will be particularly helpful for barbers in North America. There’s even an integration with Instagram on the way, which will let your customers book whilst they’re browsing your latest cuts! And if all that’s not enough, they’re also adding one of my

Recent additions/coming soon: – Recently integrated with Google reserve, and one with Yelp which is particularly important for North American companies. Now also finishing integrating with Instagram, so there will be a seamless integration for barbers who want to use Instagram for booking. And one feature that I find particularly exciting is the new waitlist, which is currently being finalised. This will give clients the ability to join a waitlist during busy periods, filling in appointments if another client drops out.

Aside from these excellent new product features, I ask Adie what’s new on his side of the company.

“We have seen a very high organic growth, and that’s just lovely to have. That’s very encouraging. We’re conscious of the fact that we need to have more professional videos, and to really bring our merchants together. So, we’re working on some very exciting ideas and how we can make it easy for merchants to do videos and upload it onto our system. A great idea that our technical people are working on at the moment is to allow customers to do short video reviews. Exciting things are coming.”

And what about moving into new countries?

“We’ve got Brazil and Columbia, we launched in Spain at the end of last year. We’re constantly rolling out into new markets. This year we’ll also be going to a lot of conferences and shows.”

 

One final question, then, to both Adie and Stefan: Why would you say that Booksy is the very best?

Stefan: “I think there are three reasons for that. The first one is that it’s the easiest booking app that’s out there, both for merchants and for clients. So, the ease of use. The second one is that we have great customer success teams helping our customers 24 hours, 7 days a week and nobody has that level of support for their clients. The third one is that we have people like Adrian who just make Booksy feel like a family. This is the love and passion that we are all sharing.”

Adrian: “To repeat really what Stefan just said. I mean, we just had an interview with a chap in North Carolina. He’d been using Booksy 6 months and he said “I don’t have to work when I go home anymore. He said it’s saved my marriage! So, we find that it’s been a massive game-changer for the customers. We have a saying: it’s all about service first and we make our money afterwards.”

 

Interested in making life easier by using Booksy? Head to booksy.com to find out more about how it works and decide whether it could work for you. I’ve certainly seen the results, for everyone from barbers to beauticians, so I would recommend checking it out if you’re in this type of industry. You could also benefit from looking at the Larry the Barber Man Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channels, where there’s loads of great information from other barbering professionals.

Click here to try booksy for yourself: http://www.ihave2have.it

 

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Booksy and @barbersince98: Two Industry Dynamos Team Up to Aid Barbers Everywhere

You know @barbersince98 – also known as Oscar Torres – as the barber running one of the premier showcase sites in the business with more than a quarter million Instagram followers.  An American based in Rhode Island,  Oscar recently retired from cutting hair to blend his enormous online presence with Booksy, the powerful mobile appointment app and industry game-changer.

When I had a chance to interview him in Ireland this spring, I wanted to know the story behind Oscar’s incredible successes and his decision to go all in with Booksy.

Haircuts in the bathtub

Oscar told me he’s loved barbering since his mom plunked the kids into an empty tub for their homemade cuts. “When she said, ‘Strip down to your underwear and get in the tub,’ we knew it was haircut time!” he recalls.  “To be honest, though, I wasn’t the biggest fan of my mom’s skills.”

“When I was thirteen I found inspiration in my sister’s boyfriend, who would give me and my brothers haircuts,” he added. “I used to watch and think ‘This seems doable. I think I could try this.’”

Oscar soon talked his grandmother into spending most of his back-to-school money on his first set of clippers and trimmers, and Mom was not too happy.  “She said, ‘We’re taking this back to the store.’  But I was like, ‘Mom, I can make the money back!’  A couple of days later I had people knocking on my door for haircuts and that weekend I made all the money back.”

After being offered an apprenticeship by a classmate’s father, Oscar went to work in a barber shop. “That was 1998,” he said, “I took it seriously and it has been a blessing ever since.” It also explains where @barbersince98 comes from!

As his barbering and video/journalism skills grew, Oscar became a fast-growing fixture on Instagram. When Booksy began to take off, the two began to see a potential partnership, one based on mutual respect for innovation and skill.

“I saw the uniqueness of what Booksy is doing,” Oscar said. “There are a lot of tools in our industry, and most of them are just ordinary, but Booksy is helping people make more money, obtain more clients, represent themselves in the most professional manner.”

In my travels, I’ve found many barbers struggle with staying organized, even though doing so increases consistency, reliability and ultimately makes for a more successful career.  Oscar agrees;  one reason he loves Booksy.  “Booksy is helping barbers stay organized and helping clients communicate with their barbers,” he said.  Booksy takes the pressure off barbers to handle phone calls and walk-ins while trying to concentrate on the person in the chair, a fundamental and serious organizational problem for many.

With Booksy, customers see their barber’s schedule on their mobile device and book their appointments themselves 24/7, or even cancel or reschedule. All a barber needs to do is give great haircuts and check the calendar to see who’s next!

Meeting Obama’s barber

Oscar’s a big believer in consistency and reliability, and Booksy’s organizational tools help barbers develop both.  Oscar recently got big support for that point of view from Barack Obama’s personal barber, the legendary Zariff at Chicago’s Hyde Park Hair Salon.  After landing an Instagram interview with Zariff, Oscar told me “Zariff focuses on being consistent and reliable.  He feels skills are vital, but the first two are the most important. A skilled barber that is not consistent and not reliable, how effective can that barber be?”

Probably not effective enough to land Barack Obama as a client!

Oscar knows marketing and PR inside out, so he immediately grasped how important it is that Booksy goes above and beyond their already-innovative appointment management tool to help barbers market and grow.  Booksy can integrate a barber’s web site into the Booksy domain to boost Google rankings, and geolocate Booksy barbershops, attracting clients with practically no involvement from the barber at all.  “With Booksy a regular person like me or you can go to a different city,” he enthuses, “and if you don’t know any barbers there, you open up the Booksy app and it gives you the closest barbers. That’s bringing new clients to you.”

Oscar is so enthusiastic that he happily retired from barbering to focus on helping barbers get Booksy into their working lives.  Booksy’s power, combined with Oscar’s industry presence and marketing expertise, are a huge benefit to barbers everywhere.  “My job is to introduce Booksy to people who haven’t used it before or who are using it and need some help on how to make their page more presentable,” he sums up.  “By me dealing with so many businesses on this platform, that allows me to give people advice on what to do and what not to do.”

“I offer brand exposure,” he added. “I like helping brands who have a meaningful purpose in our industry.  My Instagram is a showcase platform.  If you have a brand that stands out and you need some help, I can help you out with that.”

“You can’t reinvent the wheel, but you can change the ride”

I always ask my interviewees for advice to young barbers and Oscar is straight up with his.

“One thing I learned is that you are never going to reinvent the wheel, but you can change the ride,” he told me.

“Social media is a big platform. You can be appreciated by people who will probably never sit in your chair because they are in another country, but I can’t stress enough, don’t lose the importance of your community.

“It is cool to get likes and follows by people you will never meet, but you need to focus on your community and the people who go into your business on a weekly and a monthly basis.”

And while Oscar agrees there is no substitute for persistence and hard work, he comes back to how important it is for barbers to be organized.

“If you think you are grinding now, tighten up your belt because it’s a long ride!” he laughs. “There are things you are going to go through, a lot of clients you will lose and gain, and at the end of the day, you need to stay organized!”

“That’s another reason I am with Booksy.  It helps barbers who are young stay organized and keep your clients,” he adds. “Focus on your clients, stay organized and good things can happen.”

My thanks to Oscar for a fascinating conversation.  You can contact him and inquire how he can help your business by emailing Oscar.torres@booksy.net

It’s amazing to me how Booksy is gaining traction all over the industry, and it is inspiring that so many barbers recognize its value and are not being left behind!

Be sure to watch the full interview on my YouTube @larrythebarberman, and ’til next time, happy barbering!

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Booksy’s Stefan Batory is Boosting Barbers’ Business, Easing Their Stress and Changing Their Lives. Not bad for a Late-Night Long-Distance Runner!

Barbers are over the world are getting to know Booksy, the mobile app that’s changing the business and, according to CEO and co-founder Stefan Batory, improving the professional and personal lives of business owners, independent contractors, and shop employees.

I’ve encountered many successful barbers who swear by Booksy, so I jumped at the chance to meet with Stefan at the Booksy home office in Poland recently.

Fascinating fact: Booksy would not be happening at all if Stefan wasn’t a late night long-distance runner.

Because of his business schedule, Stefan told me his running work outs happen late at night, “sometimes even after midnight.”

“If I feel something is not OK, that I need physiotherapy, it is too late to call for an appointment, and the therapist is not returning text messages at that hour,” he explained. “Often, he would have something available first thing in the morning, but I had no way of knowing that. So,  I missed out on seeing him and he missing out on filling that early appointment.”

“Even when I called during work hours, a therapist works with his hands, and it is not possible to answer the phone, respond to texts or keep up on emails in real time.”

“It seemed to me there must be a solution for this.”

The Booksy idea was born.

In the simplest terms, Booksy is a mobile app that allows clients to book their own appointments on their smart phones at any time in a matter of moments.  For the customer, that’s maximum convenience.  For the barber, it means no more dealing with missed phone calls, late text responses or lost emails. The Booksy monthly subscription model is also much simpler for barbers than paying a percentage of sales, as some booking apps require.

It all means a huge reduction in barber stress and hassle, Stefan says, and a big boost to the bottom line.

“If a client cancels a few hours or even an hour before the appointment, someone can book that last minute availability through the app.  Barbers tell me before using Booksy they had empty chairs on Friday and Saturday, even if they were super successful. They just could not keep up with the phone calls and the text messages. But the second they started using Booksy, that stopped being a problem.  People could change their times and dates and book appointment themselves.”

For customers, no more waiting for a barber to get back. For the barber, no more time spent chasing down all those messages.

“So we not only took the stress out of their lives but the fill rate became much higher because people could check in on their phones at the last minute and say, ‘Oh, he is available in 20 minutes,’ and book it.”

Success has followed this simple yet groundbreaking idea.  Booksy has more than 5,000 clients and has raised millions in capital markets to continue to develop and expand.

Their growing client base means Booksy has amassed original usage data that reveals previously unknown insights all barbers should be aware of.

For example, using the million-plus  appointments made using Booksy each month,  “we noticed 60% of appointments come outside of working hours, which proves people like to book appointments at night or super early,” Stefan says.” That changes business dramatically because, before Booksy, they were unable to make those appointments.”

“We also have the data to prove that people who switch to self-booking with Booksy increase the frequency of their visits by as much as 10 to 30 percent. The client who used to call you 8 or ten times a year now comes twelve or fourteen times a year. This is great because everyone knows it is much easier and cheaper to give your current clients better service than to acquire new clients.”

“What surprised us was that before Booksy, barbers not only missed out on business but also got hurt by cancellations or reschedules because they could not respond quickly.  So barbers would stay in their shops and wait for clients who never showed up. Booksy solves that, too. It’s easy for clients to cancel, it shows up on your calendar immediately, and it opens up a slot for someone else. The barber never has to get involved.”

Another unique feature is the merchant-facing software, which among other things keeps track of point of sale, which helps when calculating commissions and making other personnel and marketing decisions.

I was curious why Stefan chose to focus on barbers. He assured me Booksy was working with hair stylists, therapists, personal trainers, even doctors, and dentists, but there was indeed something about barbering that made us an attractive industry.

“Barbers work with their hands,” he told me.  “Anyone who works with their hands understands that it’s impossible to answer the phone, keep up with emails or respond to texts.”

“More barbers still use pen and paper whereas hair salons have been using management software for years, not necessarily for appointments but for back-office management.  It’s more difficult for them to switch over to Booksy.”

“We designed Booksy as a mobile-first app, and because we knew barbers making appointments manually don’t usually have computers in the shop, they were the perfect niche for the service.”

I shared with Stefan stories I have heard from barbers all over who love Booksy’s popularity with customers and its capability to remove stress from a barber’s daily work life. I had even met a barber who told me that until Booksy came along, he was ready to leave the business due to the stress of customer management.

‘People say it is magic,” he laughs. “They tell me, ‘I don’t do anything, and Booksy does the job, booking clients, handling cancellations and reschedulings, communicates with my clients. I can focus on barbering.’”

“We get messages all the time about this, how Booksy is not only about revenue, but we are helping change lifestyles.”

“One of the best stories I heard was a barber in the US who wrote, ‘Thank you, Booksy, for helping me to have a healthier lifestyle. Before Booksy, I had a lunch break but never had time to eat because I had to reply to emails and messages and phone calls. But now, I have 30 minutes to relax and enjoy lunch.”

“Many barbers are very artistic,” he adds, “They are doing administrative work not because they love it but just because they have to.  Part of what I love about Booksy is we are taking stuff that is not directly involved with their passion and doing it for them. Their life is easier and their work more enjoyable. They can focus on what they do best.”

That’s a real life changer!

Booksy is constantly developing, but Stefan says they are careful not to complicate the app, since ease of use is one of the keys to its popularity. “Of our 5,000 cents, almost all of them set it up themselves, and it took just two or three minutes,” he says proudly.

We will all need to stay tuned because, though is isn’t quite ready to reveal details, Stefan is close to announcing major partnerships with large internet service companies and social media giants that will make Booksy even more attractive to barbers and clients alike.

On behalf of barbers everywhere, I say “Keep on running, Stefan!”

I enjoyed our visit, and I am grateful for the time this very busy man found for me. I think this information is beneficial to all my followers and I hope you will give it serious thought and SHARE my blog or video with your friends. Perhaps it can change your life, too.

Til next time, Happy Barbering!

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