Duo introduces app for hairstylists

July 21, 2012

Local entrepreneurs Janell Shaffer and Danielle McDowell—the tech veterans behind consumer review site MyBestFriendsHair.com—have officially released an iPad application for hairstylists that they hope will transform the industry.

The free “Style Match” app allows professionals to manage client information on mobile devices, an advantage in what the partners said is a tech-averse business.

Stylists can keep track of details like the texture, length and color of their clients’ hair, as well as before-and-after photos. The application also includes an interactive stylebook—an updated alternative to flipping through giant books of different hairstyles.

“It’s a great consultation tool,” McDowell said.

otr-friendshair-072312-15col.jpg Janell Shaffer, left, and Danielle McDowell have expanded on their MyBestFriends Hair.com idea. (Photo courtesy of MyBestFriendsHair.com)

Shaffer, 37, came up with the idea of a matchmaking site for hairstylists in 2010, when her own hairdresser changed salons without notice. She found herself wishing for a consumer-review site akin to Angie’s List, which focuses on home improvement and medical services.

“I’m obsessed with reviews,” Shaffer said. “I don’t buy a thing without knowing what other people think.”

She started MyBestFriendsHair.com as a hobby site while working full time, and last year she and McDowell decided to devote themselves to fleshing out the idea. Shaffer is the company’s CEO; McDowell, 28, is chief marketing officer.

They launched the site nationwide this January, and by May had listings for stylists in all 50 states.

“This is a phenomenal tool for stylists to market what they do,” McDowell said.

The partners got the company started with their personal savings and began looking for additional funding in November. By mid-February, they had raised $365,000. Investors include some individual “angels” and local venture funds Elevate Ventures and Gravity Ventures.


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