When Roydon Jeffrey moved to Maine, he couldn’t find the right barber. Being a Black man, it took him six weeks of looking, searching online, and asking around until he found a barber who knew how to handle his type of hair. That person was Josh from GWani Styles Barbershop. The experience, for Roydon, was edifying: it proved that the beauty booking app that he and Taj English were working on was going to fill a huge gap.
To go back, Roydon met Taj’s older brother in college. When Taj and Roydon discovered that they shared a passion for tech, a partnership bloomed. Working in coffee shops around New York, where both of them grew up—Taj in Long Island and Roydon in Brooklyn—they discussed what they saw as opportunities for tech to help everyday people. And one issue stuck out: it was hard to book beauty appointments. It didn’t matter if the appointment was with a barber, hair stylist, or nail salon—there was just no easy way to do it. Add to that an explosion of people online posting creative hairstyles, nail designs, makeup, and more, and both Taj and Roydon saw a big opportunity.
Think of ListedB this way: say you’re looking for new hairstyle ideas online, and you see one you love. What if you could click on that style and instantly be recommended to a stylist in your area who knows how to do it—and then book your appointment too? It would have been a great tool for Roydon when he first moved to Maine, that’s for sure.
With this idea, Roydon and Taj were picked by Techstars, in collaboration with The Roux Institute, as one of ten startups to enter a three-month accelerator program. In the program, they were given access to capital, equipment, mentors, working professionals, and potential investors, to help them accelerate their idea into a functioning service. And The Roux Institute campus just happens to be right here in downtown Portland.
So what did they think of Portland, coming from a city that’s much larger? “It has a cool, up-and-coming feel,” said Roydon. “It’s refreshing,” said Taj, “coming from a place like New York.” Barber situation aside, they’ve both enjoyed the liveliness of the Old Port and walking around to explore different restaurants around town. In fact, they both said that they plan to stay in Portland—they live in Westbrook, currently—after they’re done with the Techstars program. Given Portland’s manageable size, it’s the perfect test market to fine-tune ListedB on a smaller group of people than their home cities.
If you’re looking forward to using ListedB, head to their website where you can sign up for email updates and follow them on social media @listedbapp.
If you’re a barber, nail stylist, hairstylist—or really any type of beauty professional—and would like to be involved with, or listed on their service, you can send Taj and Roydon an email at [email protected].
Written by our fabulous volunteer blogger Brett Willis