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Despite pandemic, Louisville tech company expanding hair business

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 6:34 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - While many Louisville businesses are just trying to survive through the pandemic, others are surprisingly thriving in tough times.

That includes a company thinking outside the box about basic necessities. It may seem odd when you first hear it -- a tech company changing the way you get a haircut? Corporations that are getting in contend it’s smart.

While many of us look for a little flair each time we sit in the salon chair, that’s probably not what first comes to mind when you think of Louisville ad tech company El Toro. Already app savvy, the company started looking at longtime industries. But hair?

“It’s an industry that hasn’t been touched by technology for a very long time other than some booking software,” TRIM NuLu CEO Sean Stafford said.

With on-demand services out there like Uber, Stafford thought, “Why not build an app for that?” El Toro found the stylists in Louisville and started selling the idea of TRIM NuLu mobile salons to company headquarters like Texas Roadhouse and Yum! Brands.

“You install the app on your phone, you book a timeslot,” Stafford said.

It helps companies looking to compete by offering employees more perks, and it also keeps those workers in-house.

“It was strange at first,“ said Carter Mackowiak, an employee of El Toro. The company tried it out on its own employees. Mackowiak said instead of spending time trying to get a haircut before or after work, now TRIM NuLu’s mobile salon is steps from his desk.

“The more I describe it to friends and family,” Mackowiak said, “they see how convenient it is and it just makes sense. It’s one of those things that just make sense and it also doesn’t make sense why it hasn’t been done before.”

One stylist coming to one client in one room or area of a company also fits with pandemic safety guidelines. A Texas Roadhouse spokesman told WAVE 3 News that with their own temperature checks and symptom surveys to get into their office building, it keeps everyone there and seems safer. It’s also contact-free.

“And people love it to be able to book, pay and do everything right on the app,” head stylist and TRIM NuLu co-founder Chris Edwards said. “Hit two buttons and you’re done; they love the ease.”

Business is so good that Trim NuLu’s brick-and-mortar salon on East Market Street is expanding into the next storefront, doubling its size. As far as the mobile experience is concerned, there are plans for expansion to other cities, where TRIMNulu would evolve into TRIMCincy and TRIMHouston.

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