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UTD Grad, Husband Develop App to Fill Empty Salon Chairs

Photo courtesy UTD.

It was a simple idea that has taken one segment of the economy by storm: sell empty beauty salon stations via mobile app.

Courtney Caldwell and her husband, Tye, own Salon 74 by Tye in Plano. For several months after they expanded, a number of the stations sat idle. During this same time, Tye was getting inquiries from hair stylists looking for stations to rent on a per-day basis.

“These traveling stylists were not looking for a long-term contract or even a weekly commitment,” Courtney said. “They simply desired professional salon space in which to service their local clientele. That was when ShearShare was born.”

Since beta testing at the beginning of this year in six cities, ShearShare app has moved into more than 100 U.S. cities and eight nations in less than two months.

The average U.S. salon operates at about 60 percent capacity, Courtney said.

“By listing their open salon space on the ShearShare app, they get to monetize their extra salon chairs or suites.” -Courtney Caldwell

“Most salon owners have excess inventory that is collecting dust versus dollars,” she said. “By listing their open salon space on the ShearShare app, they get to monetize their extra salon chairs or suites. On the flip side, traveling cosmetologists who want to work out of professional salon environments have the opportunity to lease by the day and not be tied down with a long-term contract.”

Courtney said her husband, who mentors cosmetology students, has found that young stylists —those in the millennial age group — worry about paying for salon space right after graduation, but not having a large enough client base to cover costs.

“The millennials continue to tell us that what’s important to them is access, not ownership,” Courtney said.

The current model for monetizing the ShearShare app is to charge users a fee per booking. In a nationwide competition, ShearShare was invited to present at Startup Grind in Silicon Valley. To be accepted into Startup Grind, a fledgling company must service a billion-dollar market and be poised to grow by 10X month-over-month. ShearShare also was recently accepted into YC Fellowship, a highly regarded accelerator program that confers $20,000 to help with startup costs.

“To say that Courtney and Tye are knocking it out of the park in the entrepreneurial world is an understatement.” -Jeremy Vickers

“This is amazing news about the YC Fellowship,” said Jeremy Vickers, executive director of The University of Texas at Dallas Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “To say that Courtney and Tye are knocking it out of the park in the entrepreneurial world is an understatement.”

Courtney, who has extensive marketing experience and earned her MBA from the UT Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management, says her education changed her perspective.

“I feel that my MBA helped prepare me to recognize marketplace trends,” she said. “Being able to see things through a different lens really gave me a license to take intelligent risks. My husband likes to say, ‘Jump, and grow your wings on the way down.’ I believe that my UT Dallas education underlines that type of entrepreneurial spirit.”

Follow UT Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management on Twitter @jindal_utdallas. 


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Jeanne Spreier is a writer for The University of Texas at Dallas. She previously was the marketing and communications director for a medical device startup in Dallas and has worked for several daily n(...)

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