#FellowshipSpotlight | Style Trail
STYLE TRAIL | @StyleTrailCo / styletrail.co
Eric Warner brings his unique design thinking to Style Trail-- an app that connects barber and beauty shop owners to the talented licensed professionals they need to fill their empty booths all over the world.
We met up with Eric at ETC Baltimore, a tech incubator and co-working space located in the King Cork and Seal Building in east Baltimore.
What brought you to this project?
ERIC: By day, I'm a UXUI designer. My passion is for design in general, web and graphic. I'm also a problem solver and last year, at the barbershop, a light bulb just went off in my head.
I would always notice the empty chairs in barbershops and the sort of primitive help-wanted signs always in windows. I asked myself why is there still no decent digital ways for these beauty and barber shops to fill chairs and find talent? I started to do research and realized there was a lack of resources for smaller mom-and-pop shops to connect outside of traditional word-of-mouth or foot traffic-driven advertisement. I also started to think about the possibilities for connecting and strengthening the culture and communities centered around these places.
Growing up, the barbershop was the first place I was exposed to a professional working environment and also the place I would go to talk about what was going on in my life. Those people became like role models to me and this is my way of giving back to that community.
Well, how's it going so far? Have you had positive reception?
Yeah! We have been setting up shop at beauty shows, having people fill out surveys, talking to stylists and pitching directly about Style Trail, if this is a product that is missing in the industry and something they would want. We've got really positive reception from them. One of the things stylists love the most is our sort of AirBnB meets Uber model - you can create your own schedule and book how long you would like to work at a particular salon or barbershop. They love that flexibility and opportunity to create extra income on the side.
Where are you at now and where do you see yourself going?
We're launching November 5th! Right now we've been rolling out a lot of press and marketing. I even have a few articles coming out in Forbes, Buzzfeed, Authority Magazine, Thrive Global which is exciting.
Short-term, we want to connect shops with talent and also create the availability for new services in these shops. So, if someone does something outside of what your salon currently offers, like let's say coloring, we can connect you with the talent pool to offer a completely new service and increase your revenue opportunities. Long-term, we want to become the booking agent for the beauty industry. No middle man. Connecting people and salons directly to opportunities.
What has BCAN brought to the table for you?
For one, mentorship. That has really kept me going. BCAN has also connected us with residencies which has helped a lot too. It's been great having access to resources that I wouldn't have access to normally.
I've been in Baltimore for five years. I'm from Philly which has a ton of talented people and artists but I haven't seen a community of artists like Baltimore before. They help each other in such a big way, like a family. Plus there are so many opportunities in Baltimore to help get your creative business off the ground. Baltimore wants to help Baltimore grow and, now, there are a lot of outside people taking notice and investing.
In the meanwhile, I'm staying humble and hungry and I'm ready to get out there and grow.