Tye Caldwell (Cofounder/CEO) & Courtney Caldwell (Cofounder/COO) | Dallas, Texas | Services
Dr. Tye Caldwell & Courtney Caldwell, ShearShare | Dallas, Texas
ShearShare was a digitally first company before COVID-19, owing to a three-month stint in a Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders, where the Caldwells began assembling their digital toolkit.
Most SMBs (53%) also plan to continue to use more digital technologies in their business, even after the pandemic.
Gmail accounts came first. “Then after bringing on our fully remote team, we set up communications tools like Slack and Zoom to keep in touch,” Courtney says. The company uses the Firebase platform to facilitate bookings and Google Maps to direct users to participating salons. The team also uses G Suite tools like Google Sheets and Google Docs for planning and collaboration. And, when it comes to marketing and networking, ShearShare turns to Google Ads, as well as platforms like YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
At the beginning of 2020, ShearShare was a company on the move. Bookings were up by nearly 150% compared to the year before, and the app had grown to cover about 600 cities across the country. Then COVID-19 hit. Revenue dropped to zero in March and stayed there for two months. But the Caldwells didn’t panic. “We decided not to obsess over the short-term pain and instead focus on how we could be most helpful to the community we were there to serve,” Tye explains.
For example, 54% of Arts, Education, and Entertainment SMBs increased video conferencing to deliver what are traditionally in-person services.
Because of its digital infrastructure, ShearShare was able to adapt fast and offer alternative services to their customer base. To serve their community’s needs, the ShearShare team created educational content to help stylists secure PPP loans, make sense of burdensome paperwork, and find local banks to work with. “The primary goal was always to help our fellow industry professionals find ways to put food on the table until the crisis passed,” Courtney says. The ShearShare team also created a virtual beauty supply store that allowed salon and barbershop owners to sell their products on a central hub
Supporting the hair care community paid off. According to data from Google Analytics, the ShearShare blog experienced a 295% rise in weekly traffic volume. And a glance at Hubspot revealed marketing email engagement was 75% higher than pre-COVID averages. By the time states began to allow phased reopenings of local businesses, many of the hair care establishments on the ShearShare platform were able to operate at regulated capacity thanks to the app. And, thanks to ShearShare’s educational content, they were also able to do so with a fuller understanding of how to keep both workers and customers safe.
“COVID-19 certainly changed our business, but it was mostly for the better because it brought us closer to the community,” Tye says. Courtney agrees and is happy that their digitally-driven business — which is once again growing fast and going strong — was able to help other brick-and-mortar businesses survive and reopen safely. “I never could have imagined that, when we launched ShearShare, we would end up helping to fuel the recovery of an industry we both care so much about,” Courtney says. “It’s beyond gratifying.”
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