Husband and Wife Duo, Dr. Tye and Courtney Caldwell, Are Disrupting The Beauty and Tech Industry With Their “HairBNB” Platform

ShearShare is the first mobile app to provide flexible, on-demand B2B tools for in-demand stylists on a pay-as-you-go basis. The venture-backed beauty tech company is the brainchild of co-founders and life partners, Dr. Tye and Courtney Caldwell, who represent 30 years in the beauty and barbering industry and two decades in B2B technology marketing. Together, they’ve taken ShearShare from a simple idea to help monetize excess capacity in their own barbershop and salon, to a nationwide marketplace providing on-demand rental services to tens of thousands of industry professionals, owners, and operators.

ShearShare announced its rebrand and a new look, which includes an elevated website experience and refreshed logo, a new and improved mobile UX, and a plethora of educational and business resources for its user community — including daily liability insurance through its exclusive partnership with Lloyd’s of London. In addition to strategic hiring, ShearShare continues to lead in influence — recently receiving an industry award for beauty and tech innovation. ShearShare also appeared at the SXSW conference alongside Google.

Recently ShearShare closed its series seed round, raising $2.3 million for a total of $5.5 million raised for the platform.

What was it about the beauty and tech industry that made you want to get involved?

Dr. Tye: I had a love for the industry at a very young age. As the seventh of eight children, we did not have the luxury of weekly trips to the neighborhood barbershop. One day I picked up a pair of school scissors and started cutting my own hair. Then I cut my younger brother’s hair; then I cut my nephew’s hair. Eventually, one of my older brothers let me borrow his friend’s clippers, and I never looked back. Tech came into the picture when we decided to help solve a massive problem for our fellow industry pros.

Courtney: At the start of the 20th century, one of my ancestors–notable inventor, Garrett A. Morgan–started a haircare products company for African-American women called G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Co. Add to that the experiences I was afforded being married to a master barber-stylist and helping to run our award-winning salon, and you have a recipe for favor! While Tye was building the salon and shop every day, I was spending my time in Corporate America working in B2B tech marketing. Knowing that we had a unique moat to solve this particular problem made it easier to take the leap into beauty tech.

What has the journey been like working together as husband and wife?

In a word, the journey has been gratifying. Many people convince themselves that they would not enjoy working with family or with a spouse. But you choose to spend your life with this person, you commit to this individual–both good and bad, and you go through the ups and downs of life with this person. It’s the same thing in a cofounder relationship, so why draw a line in the sand when you get to the office? Besides, the silver rule in our house is, “leave people, places, and things better off than when you found them.” And that applies to how we’ve built relationships over the years–not just externally but with each other. Courtney and I both feel strongly that ShearShare is the legacy we’re supposed to leave, which makes the journey as married cofounders all the more satisfying.

What are some of the most memorable moments in your career together so far?

Before we won the 43North startup competition and moved to Buffalo, New York, we started ShearShare out of our home in McKinney, Texas. So being the first Texas startup to win Google Demo Day was a true honor and a tremendous validation point for us, especially since we are two non-technical cofounders. But one of our favorite moments that happens over and over again is hearing from our fellow industry pros that we are helping to keep their small businesses open. And that to us is all that matters. It fuels the fire to get up everyday and fight the good fight for the second largest industry for freelancers and independent contractors.

Any exclusive news you would like to share first with us?

As a result of Hearst Corporation being a ShearShare investor (care of their LevelUp Ventures arm), Julee Wilson is our internal sponsor. Julee is the Beauty Director for Cosmopolitan Magazine and has served as the Global Beauty Director for ESSENCE, Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor for The Huffington Post, and others. We are thrilled to be working with Julee to draw on her perspective.

What else would you like our readers to know about you and the work that you do?

I guess I’d want your readers to know that we’re not just working on the front lines to bring a newfound respect to our beauty and barbering industry, but that we’re also working behind the scenes to help influence elevation. Tye is actually the first African-American male member-elect to the Professional Beauty Association, which is a 100-year-old organization responsible for our lobbyists and legislature. We live and breathe this industry and tirelessly give back to our community through mentorship, advisorship, public speaking, grants, etc.

In all that we do, it’s evident that we love this industry more today than when Tye started almost thirty years ago.

What does the rest of 2022 look like for you?

Dr. Tye: Reimagining the future of work for the best industry in the world: a future where everyone wins.

Courtney: Making sure we’re leveraging tech to help our fellow professionals maximize their earnings potential.

What advice would you have for other couples who aspire to build a company together?

Really understand the dynamic of what you each bring to the table, and then trust each other to run in your lane. Don’t focus on the weaknesses as much as you do the other person’s strengths, because that’s where you’ll win. Merge those strengths, and breathe life into your new working relationship by defaulting to optimism.

For more information on ShearShare and to visit the elevated rebrand, please visit ShearShare.com. For more information on hiring opportunities, visit ForgeBuffalo.com

Tammy Reese

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