The UK’s first virtual barber has opened to offer customers a £15 trim by linking clients with stylists who can guide them through cutting their hair on a video call.
Entrepreneurs Jereon Sibia, 31, and Dan Silvertown, 27, both from London, decided to launch the Lockdown Haircut service after Dan suffered a bad cut after attempting to follow a YouTube tutorial.
Lockdown Haircut clients in need of a DIY trim are asked to bring a pair of clippers, as well as a comb, to their virtual 20 minute appointment, when they are connected with a professional barber who guides them through their trim over video call.
Each session costs £15, with £7.50 for the barber’s time and a proportion of sales going towards helping NHS workers to fight coronavirus.
The UK’s first virtual barbers shop, Lockdown Haircut, has opened, offering people the chance to video call with a professional who can talk them through the chop (BEFORE: One client, Stephen Lehec, from London, AFTER: Stephen appeared groomed after his virtual hair cut (right))
Jereon and Dan, who are both former investment consultants, were motivated to start the project in order to use their technology expertise to save Britons for DIY hair disasters during lockdown.
Speaking to FEMAIL Jereon revealed how the idea came from his co-founder Dan having a bad DIY experience, and the pair decided there was a way to raise money and support barbers while helping people looking their best.
He said: ‘With Tinder dates via Zoom now really a thing during the lockdown, we figured we’re not the only ones battling the full caveman vibe.’
He added: ‘Dan did his via a Youtube tutorial which went really badly so we thought there must be a better way of doing it.’
Co-founder Dan Silvertown (left) was inspired to open the virtual barber shop after attempting a YouTube tutorial which went ‘really badly’ (pictured, being given a tutorial over video call by a professional barber)
Jereon said: ‘We started the website over the Easter weekend and put it together in 72 hours before waking up the following morning to dozens of bookings.
‘We have partnered with around a dozen barbers and we have had appointments from as far away as Australia, the United States, Dubai and India.’
He added: ‘I have been meaning to do it but we have actually had no free slots available for the last few days!
‘My 21-year-old sister, Eline, is planning to cut my hair on Friday via the platform.’
Dan (pictured getting a trim in lockdown by flatmate Phil) said they wanted to help people find a way to feel good during the coronavirus crisis
Independent barbers are able to partner with the platform, while clients can book any 15 minute slot available.
To prepare for the virtual hair cut customers will need a pair of electric clippers, a comb, and a laptop with webcam.
Steps to using the virtual barbershop
1) Book online in seconds. You will need an electric razor/clippers (scissors won’t work), a comb, and a laptop with a webcam.
2) Login to your video appointment. Your professional barber will give you detailed step-by-step instructions. You can soft-trim or ask a housemate for assistance.
3) Appointments last for 20 minutes and cost £15, with £7.50 going to the barber and £2.50 being donated to NHS charities.
3) Look fresh and take a selfie to post to Instagram, tagging @Lockdownhaircut
After booking a 20-minute slot, the customer is then guided through the process with a barber.
From every £15 trim, £2.50 goes towards NHS Charities Together, with £7.50 for the barber’s time and £5 covering VAT and running costs.
Since the virtual barber shop opened on Monday 20, they have averaged 20 appointments per day and have raised £2,000 for the NHS, with people even roping in family members and flatmates to give them a hand with their chops.
Dan said: ‘The reception has been amazing, it shows real community spirit that so far every barber we’re working with has offered to donate their wages to the NHS.’
But Jereon added how the platform does not intend to take sales away from barbers in the long term but wanted to be ‘the next best thing’ for customers.
He also explained that the organisation is not trying to give customers their ‘best ever’ haircut but will enable people to look better in lockdown and raise money for the NHS.
He said: ‘We are probably one of the only businesses that wants to go out of business and when lockdown ends we can close the website and go to the barbers normally.’
Meanwhile cofounder Jereon Sibia, 31, said he has been unable to book a slot with a virtual barber because the service has been so popular
And the platform has been a huge hit across the board: ‘We thought this was going to be aimed at young people getting ready for Zoom dates but it turned out that the average age is 50.’
Jeroen added: ‘We hold two records at the moment: We are the UK’s first online barber and strangely enough, the UK’s busiest barber – by hair and volume!
He said how despite being proud of both of the records, the duo hope to lose the latter when lockdown ends, saying: ‘I guess that means we’re sort of rooting for our own business to become obsolete!’
To prepare for the virtual hair cut, customers will need a pair of electric clippers, a comb and a laptop with webcam.