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Entrepreneur Sam spots a gap in the market as he launches his “Deliveroo for barbers” app Barba

A Derby entrepreneur who made a mess of cutting his own hair when barbers were shut during the lockdown has launched a new app booking service for people who want to get a professional trim without leaving the house.

Sam Lowe, 22, has launched his new venture Barba, the UK’s first fully mobile barbering app, to enable customers to browse, book and pay via their smartphone for a mobile barber who will visit them at their own homes or workplace at their leisure.

He says the app promises to do for personal grooming services what Deliveroo and Just Eat have done for fast food delivery and is already taking bookings in Derby before it is rolled out across the country over the next few months.

Sam, a former student of Chellaston Academy, claims there is currently nothing like Barba on offer anywhere else in the UK and says it will benefit barbers, the majority of whom are self-employed and rent chairs in other barbers’ shops, with some charging up to 50% of their income in return for chair space.

Instead, Barba charges 10% on bookings through the app with no monthly fees. It also gives users complete flexibility on their calendar, services and pricing and even includes free insurance for the barber.

Sam, who has a background in marketing, said: “Barba is a lockdown idea that has evolved into a business that is helping barbers.

“During lockdown I used a pair of clippers for my hair and I decided it looked awful, but it started me thinking about developing a platform that could get a barber to come to me on demand, rather than the other way round.

“The more I looked into the industry, the more I realised that it would help the barbers as much as it would help customers so everyone would benefit.”

According to figures from the National Hair and Beauty Federation, there were 13,046 barbershops in the UK in 2019, up 64% from 2014. Sixty per cent of people working in hairdressing and barbering are self-employed.

Caine Edwards, one of the barbers who has signed up, said: “Barba allows me to focus on growing my business, whilst handling everything else.”

Customers can get 10% off their first booking by downloading the app on the Apple or Google Play store.

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Entrepreneur Sam Lowe, who has launched Barba, an app for people who want to book their haircut online, with Caine Edwards, who is one of the first barbers to sign up to the app.

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