Written by Philip Bennett on November 17, 2016
It’s magical to watch new companies share their brilliant ideas and compete. There’s almost nothing more uniquely human than taking an idea and turning it into something real — and that’s what nearly 50 startups at the Tech.Co “Innovate and Celebrate!” event did.
The Tech.Co Startup of the Year 2016 competition featured some of the biggest up-and-coming businesses in the nation, but in a head-to-head contest, somebody has to win. This year, that somebody was ShearShare.
What is ShearShare?
It’s an app that launched in February of 2016, and it’s already used by salons and barbershops in 250 cities and 11 countries around the world.
Like most companies, ShearShare had humble beginnings. In this case, it was a married couple named Courtney and Tye Caldwell with a lot of experience in the beauty industry. They owned their own salon called “Salon74 by Tye,” and they had extra space to fill for other professionals, but it seemed like licensed beauticians weren’t making the long-term commitments for salon space that they used to.
With almost a quarter-century in the business, Tye recognized a shift when he saw one. Some stylists were calling and asking to borrow a seat for just a day or two — and that just wasn’t done in the industry even five years ago. So, the Caldwells shrugged and gave it a shot. Things really began to pick up when they started manually matching stylists to salons short-term, and miraculously, discovered there was no app or platform doing this. That’s when they decided to make it themselves.
Disrupting the Beauty Space
The team didn’t start developing ShearShare in earnest until 2015. It began with screen-by-screen sketches of the hypothetical app on napkins. Through a friend, Courtney and Tye found a development team in Silicon Valley to build out their concept, and with the product up and running, the revenue started flowing.
But the Caldwells want to point out that they put incredible amounts of time, energy, and sacrifice into building ShearShare. “I can’t tell you how many nights we ate rice and beans, saving wherever possible,” Courtney said.
ShearShare’s massive success and growth in such a short time is inspirational, to say the least, but it’s worth noting how much effort went into their business. This includes the Caldwells’ combined decades of experience in the beauty industry before ever trying to launch an app to disrupt it.
Winning Startup of the Year 2016
Headquartered in McKinney, Texas, ShearShare is now a thriving platform that connects individuals with space to barbers and cosmetologists who want space of their own for just a day. This allows beauty professionals to work in a professional environment on a flexible schedule, freeing them from the commitment of a long-term lease contract.
As the winner of this huge startup competition, ShearShare receives the title of “Tech.Co Startup of the Year 2016” and gets a lot of other extras, like 12 months of IBM hosting credits and 15,000 American Airlines Business Extra Points.
The Caldwells are thrilled with the company’s success, but they’ve also made it clear that their end goal is for ShearShare to be their legacy. They want to be able to leave it for future generations of cosmetologists and barbers to be able to succeed, even if it’s just one empty chair at a time.
Congratulations to ShearShare for an amazing job, and to the Caldwells for braving the entrepreneurial waters and finding out that its great. You’re an inspiration to business owners everywhere!