Trim is a subscription-based service connecting users to hairdressers and barbers

- January 23, 2018 4 MIN READ

From food to fitness classes, razors to organic tampons, there is seemingly a subscription for almost any product or service out there.

Soon to launch is an app focused on getting men cheaper access too haircuts. Billing itself as a sort of “Classpass for haircuts”, Trim is a subscription service that allows users to get haircuts from hairdressers and barbers in exchange for an annual fee.

Founded by James Farrell, Aden Levin, David Gloury, and Nic Rea, it works in two ways: users can get an unlimited number of haircuts from apprentice or trainee hairdressers, and a capped number of cuts from professional hairdressers and barbers.

As cofounder and Farrell explained it, “Customers will save hundreds off their yearly hairdresser bill, the industry will be able to more effectively train hairdressers and businesses will be able to build their customer base through our service.”

Rather than, as the usual startup story goes, coming up with the idea through his own transformative experience getting a haircut or something of the like, Farrell said he simply observed the trend towards subscription-based models for products or services consumers see as indispensable.

“That is, they know they are going to use the product or service week to week or month to month and are thus happy to pay a discounted yearly fee. Mens’ razors, coffee and even vinyls have received their own subscription services, so the idea was really born out of brainstorming what was the next possibility,” he explained.

“After deciding that haircuts was going to be our product we did some research into the industry and came up with the idea of combining a subscription service with training hairdresser apprentices and trainees.”

As it prepares for launch, Farrell and Gloury explained Trim will work by giving a new user 12 credits in exchange for their yearly $150 subscription fee (or $99 for the first 1,000 users to sign up), with different types of haircuts each worth a certain number of credits. 

“Users may opt to get 12 clipper cuts a year, six haircuts a year or get a premium haircut initially and have that tidied up every three to four weeks by an apprentice. We believe a popular way to use the service will be to have an initial premium haircut which will be tidied up every three to four weeks either by an apprentice or lower tier hairdresser.”

Of course, key to all of this is actually getting partner hairdressers and barbers to join Trim. In a departure from the usual tack early-stage founders take, Farrell and Gloury admitted getting them on board has been difficult.

“To be honest, there isn’t much of an incentive for successful barbers and hairdressers to join us, given we’re so new.”

Despite the difficulty, the cofounders believes Trim is a solid offering for salons.

“Given how the service functions, we look for a range of hairdressers and barbers that will cover all our customers needs. Initially we have looked for businesses that feel they are not standing out amongst their competition and could use an influx of new customers. Perhaps they haven’t effectively used search engine optimisation, or they are struggling with downtimes throughout the day,” Farrell said. 

“The partners that have signed up so far have been interested in getting access to our growing customer base and having new customers use their hairdressers. Given our small initial fee, they have little to lose given that every Trim customer that comes through is likely one they wouldn’t have had anyway and may be a customer who comes back time and time again.”

On the other side of the market, Trim is looking to target men who get their haircut every three to four weeks, usually at a cost of $20 to $30.

“Broadly speaking, it’s any man who knows they are going to get 10-plus haircuts a year and aren’t looking for them all to be premium cuts at barber shops,” Farrell said.

Further down the line the startup will look to expand its service to women (though surely others with shorter hair or needing quick trims could feasibly already use Trim).

“We believe there is a growing market of women who aren’t willing to pay more simply because of their gender and would appreciate a service that charges by haircut, rather than gender, given the increasing market of men who require intricate time consuming cuts.”

Beyond hairdressers or barbers themselves, the service doesn’t exactly have direct competitors in terms of another app-based subscription service. However, the market of services connecting women to hairdressers and beauty professionals is rapidly expanding.

Founded by Jenene Crossan and Steven Torrance in 2012, New Zealand startup Flossie is a software platform helping customers easily find, book, and pay for beauty appointments at partner salons. As Crossan puts it, the system is a “customer solution for businesses who sell time”.

Launched in Auckland three years ago, Flossie soon expanded around New Zealand with NZ$4.3 million in funding; it has brought on 45,000 customers across 450 vetted salons, and grown 20 percent month on month to reach $2.5 million in annualised sales, and is now moving into Melbourne and Sydney, where it will join fellow services Bookwell, Glamazon, and Luxit.

Upon launch, Trim is aiming to run pop up hairdressers around Australia to bring users on board, with the focus on the rest of the year to then keep growing and managing the community.

Image: David Gloury, James Farrell, Nick Rea. Source: Supplied.