How Three Howard Graduates Are Breaking Tech's Glass Ceiling With On-Demand Haircuts
Morgan Winbush, Killian Lewis and Crystal Allen-Washington's HausCall bring you haircuts anytime, anywhere.
April 20, 2017 at 12:19 pm
The tech crowd knows — the last few years, every elevator pitch around has started with the phrase, “It’s Uber for…”
Three black women have a new spin on the Uber for x concept, and it’s a dope one.
You’re busy, you’re running errands, doing school work, living life — how are you supposed to have the time to sit around in a barbershop waiting half the day to get a fresh cut?
You don’t have to worry about it with HausCall, a new service that brings the barber to you.
Formed by Howard graduates Morgan Winbush, Killian Lewis and Crystal Allen-Washington, HausCall works like this: you download the app, and can either book on demand or schedule an appointment. Barbers are sorted by user rankings; like in ridesharing apps, you can track your barber as they make their way to your location. Payment and tips are all done through the app as well.
Making the app was a lot trickier, however. Lewis, HausCall’s CEO, told Vibe that the app took four years to create because “life happens. People get married or have kids or get new jobs and sometimes we have to switch our focus.”
And too, the trio found that investors wouldn’t give them the time of day for a long while, always citing their lack of technical expertise. “It was important for at least one of us to have that experience and that skill,” Allen-Washington said, and to fill that gap, she joined The Iron Yard, a coding academy, sharpening her coding skills 13 hours a day.
All that work has paid off. FIN Digital now is providing HausCall with support, and the app is set to debut in New York and Washington D.C. in June, with an Atlanta roll-out coming in the fall of 2018.
The team already has their eyes set on the next milestone, with Winbush saying, “In the future, we have a lot of plans to work with brands like Bevel and to also work with men who were incarcerated and have trouble finding jobs to get them back on their feet.”
Until then though, all three will be busy making sure “a large portion of the money from each service” goes directly to the barbers, while also breaking barriers in tech. Allen-Washington notes that it’s been a little lonely at the top. “That’s something I don’t see on a regular basis in the tech community: a lot of women of color making the decisions.”
There certainly aren’t a lot. But with the trailblazing effort of Winbush, Lewis and Allen-Washington, there are sure to be a lot more.
You can financially support black women in tech, and get yourself a very nice, very convenient haircut by visiting the HausCall site.