Happy wife, happy life, the old saying goes. When Michael Bridgeforth’s hairdresser wife, Haley, sometimes struggled with the parts of her job that could be frustrating—keeping schedules organized, setting appointment reminders, and finding time to promote her services—Bridgeforth got busy. Along with best friend and “computer genius” Brian G. Strasburg, the two co-founded HairHoncho, a free mobile app that recently launched and is already winning over stylists and clients, alike.
“I’ve been married for over ten years to a beautiful, hardworking, and super talented hair stylist,” Bridgeforth explains on HairHoncho’s website. “I’ve always admired her career as a hair stylist. She loves her job. She gets to be creative and build lasting relationships with her clients.”
But, he goes on, he’d also seen her lose her appointment book and suffer three costly no-shows in one day. He knew there was a better way forward and that if you build it, they will come. Bridgeforth and Strasburg designed both a stylist-facing (which offers point-of-sale, scheduling, auto reminders, the ability to create a branded website and more) and a client-facing app (with a stylist locator and booking options) for HairHoncho. We asked Michael Bridgeforth to talk to us about what makes HairHoncho the big gorilla in the room. (More on the gorilla later…)
(pictured: HairHoncho Stylist App)
MODERN SALON: There are other scheduling Apps and software for the salon industry out there--what is special about HairHoncho?
MICHAEL BRIDGEFORTH: Every pixel of our app was designed specifically for the independent stylists who want to run a successful business. We listen carefully to their needs and build features that we hope can make their lives easier. Unlike other apps in this space, ours is free, and we plan to stay free forever.
MS: You have a discover feature on the HairHonchoClient App; how do stylists get connected with you, so they are part of this search feature?
MB: Once a stylist signs up for a merchant account, they unlock certain features which allows them to be discovered in the Client App including the ability to design a free website and to be able to accept credit cards for payment.
MODERN SALON: On the free hair stylist website, can they sell retail?
MB: We don't have any plans for our app users to sell retail through their websites, yet. We’ve discussed this with our stylists and most of them still prefer for their customers to come into the salon for their products. This allows stylists to continue to offer best advice on product usage.
(pictured: HairHoncho Client App)
MODERN SALON: Can they connect to their social media platforms? (So potential clients can see their work on Instagram, for instance.)
MB: Yes, we have some built-in capabilities in the photo gallery where the stylist can upload photos to the app, share on their website and share on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
MODERN SALON: Do you have plans for a next phase or for upgrades to HairHoncho?
MB: Some possible features that we'd like to add include:
- Revenue reporting tools for stylists to keep an eye on earnings, most valuable clients and top selling products
- Marketing tools for loyalty programs, email marketing, push notifications
- Digital gift cards
- Custom website themes
- 5-star rating and reviews
MS: You do not have a subscription fee, is that right? Why not?
MB: Yes, our app is free. We're kind of like Square where there are no subscription fees, but we charge a 2.75% fee when you use the app to process credit cards.
MS: What’s with the gorilla in your logo?
MB: Not only are gorillas hairy and great groomers but we love the definition of the 800-pound gorilla from Urban Dictionary: An 800-pound gorilla – A seemingly unbeatable presence always to be reckoned with; whose experience, influence, and skill threatens to defeat competitors with little effort.