Shears on Wheels

Cutting hair while shaving time is the main focus of new, on-demand grooming services Doorbell Barbers and Doorbell Salon. Launched in 2015 by Stamford resident Christian Iannucci, the on-call, on-site services are ideal for executives for whom efficiency and convenience are key. Iannucci’s customer base also includes everyone from busy parents to wedding parties and even homebound seniors.

Equipped with his grandfather’s shears, Iannucci (who is the grandson of the late, well-known barber Joseph Iannucci) received his cosmetology license from SoNo Academy in Connecticut and will come to your office to groom you and your colleagues for that important meeting or presentation.

Customers can quickly book services online or by phone, and a licensed stylist will arrive at their doors within 60 minutes. Services include haircuts ($40), straight-razor shaves ($60), and beard trims ($40). Beauty services include blowouts ($50), haircuts ($75), color ($150), and makeup application ($150). Monthly membership packages are also available. As an added perk, each haircut service is accompanied by hand-selected products, your own music playlist, and a complimentary beverage. 

For Iannucci, the business — which currently serves Westchester, Fairfield, and New Haven Counties — is about “connecting, building relationships and serving others” by providing a “needed service to the community.”

Stylists brings the shop to your doorstep

By Aleesia Forni

September 29, 2016 

Think of it as Uber for haircuts.

Taking a page from on-demand services like the aforementioned transportation company, Stamford resident Christian Iannucci has created something similar for those who need a trim or a shave.

His companies, Doorbell Barbers and Doorbell Salon, allow clients to book and pay for a haircut or other grooming service online in less than 60 seconds. A licensed barber or beautician will then come directly to the client’s home, office or other specified location, fully equipped with a portable workbench, Bluetooth radio and wireless set of tools. That location could be anywhere from a home to an office, the gym or a hospital room.

“We’ve had people call us to come out to the beach,” Iannucci said.

After graduating from Marymount Manhattan College, Iannucci got his start in entrepreneurship in 2010 when he co-founded City Wine Tours, a company that designs walking tours showcasing wine destinations in specific neighborhoods.

“I was always stifled by corporate restrictions, the corporate workplace,” he said. “I was always fast-paced and very action oriented, so I often found lots of limitations with a normal nine-to-five.”

Christian Iannucci, owner of Doorbell Barbers. Photograph by Bob Rozycki.

While enjoying the flexibility that comes with owning a business, Iannucci was soon ready for a change of pace.

“I was really looking to have more of a meaningful impact and really connect with people more and service others,” he said.

Iannucci drew from his experience growing up in the Bridgeport barbershop, The Male Room Haircutters, owned and operated by his late grandfather, Joe Iannucci, for more than 40 years. He began toying with the idea of what an in-home or on-call service would look like in the beauty and grooming industry.

To bring his vision to life, Iannucci enrolled in SoNo Academy in Norwalk and completed a yearlong apprenticeship, all while tweaking the idea for an on-demand barbershop service.

In July 2015, Iannucci launched Doorbell Barbers and soon after, in December of that year, created a similar service for women, Doorbell Salon. Customers can choose to book a single appointment — men’s haircuts are $40 and women’s are $75 — or sign up for a monthly membership package. The company also offers makeup, blowouts, facials, massages and a variety of packages including those for bachelorette parties or grooms and their groomsmen on their wedding days.

But Iannucci is quick to point out that it’s not just a grooming service, it’s an experience. Customers can choose their own music, products and even a preferred beverage.

“It’s different because you’re not coming into a barbershop,” he said. “Someone is coming into your home, so the level of trust is so much more important for us.”

To build that trust, Doorbell Barbers’ employees serve certain territories, allowing clients to build relationships with their stylists.

“The model is somewhat similar to the Uber model, so we’re hiring contractors; so you work where you want when you want,” Iannucci said. “They’re still able to maintain a full-time job at a salon or a barbershop. They can just make additional money on the side working with us.”

Because the company avoids the fixed costs and fees associated with owning a brick-and-mortar shop, Iannucci said, “We’re able to flip that and pay these stylists or barbers a higher commission, so it makes it a little more valuable to them to work for us.”

After beginning with Iannucci as its single barber, the company has grown to a dozen employees, including barbers, hair stylists, makeup artists, a massage therapist and an esthetician, all available to come directly to the customer.

For now, Iannucci aims to saturate his current markets in Westchester, Fairfield and New Haven counties, but he hopes to expand his services to include New York City and the Hamptons by next summer. He is also working to develop a Doorbell Barbers app to make the booking process even easier for his clients.

“There are so many different ways and avenues for this to go, but I would love to build a school, a training program for folks to kind of train themselves and be licensed to how to properly take care of folks in their home,” he said. “I think there are a lot of things you’ll learn from being out in the field doing this work that you can’t in a salon or barbershop.”

Launching his venture has cost about $50,000, he said, including $16,000 in tuition to SoNo, but for Iannucci, doing what he loves has been well worth the investment.

“I’ve done thousands of services this year, and it doesn’t feel like work to me.”

Doorbell Barbers: It's Not just a Haircut, It's An Experience

Doorbell Barbers: It's Not just a Haircut, It's An Experience

Having launched less than a year ago, Iannucci and Doorbell Barbers have seen tremendous growth, with over two thousand completed services in the short time period. "Our goal is to scale this service nationwide through franchising," he affirms. "I want to be offering service across the state by the end of the year and bring on 20 to 30 new staff members. After that, who knows where we will go?"

The Uberzation of Haircuts

The smartphone/app revolution has allowed many of us to give up the hassle of real-world grocery shopping (Hey there, Peapod!), as well as the perils of looking for Mr. or Ms. Right in a singles bar (What’s up, Tindr?), so why should we have to schlep to a barber shop to get our hair cut?

That was precisely what Stamford’s Christian Ianucci thought when he looked around last year and realized that no one had yet Uber-ized hair cutting.

Without investing in any pricey brick-and-mortar real estate — not to mention all of those barber chairs — Ianucci created Doorbell Barbers in July and his “Haircuts where you want, when you want” concept is rapidly expanding from Fairfield County into other parts of Connecticut.

“I work out of every coffee shop and library in the state,” Ianucci jokes as he books new appointments from his temporary headquarters at the Greenwich Library.

“It’s grown faster than I expected,” he says. “I guess it’s part of this new model of the on-demand economy. People want more personalized experiences brought to them, too.”

Since he started the business last summer, Ianucci has taken on five barbers — three women and two men — and expects to add more staff as business grows outside Fairfield County.

Ianucci had been working for various midsized start-ups for the past decade, but decided, at 29, that the time had come “to do something more nurturing.”

The entrepreneur went to cosmetology school with the idea of setting up Doorbell Barbers as soon as he completed his courses.

“I knew the cost of training barber/stylists would be high, so I thought I should just do it myself. And it seemed like it would be easier to grow the business if I knew all the ins and outs,” he says.

Doorbell Barbers is competitively priced at $40 for a standard haircut (seniors get a $15 discount) and Ianucci or one of his staff bring all of the equipment they will need to your home or office (including a portable vacuum).

I went looking for some of Ianucci’s customers and found a very satisfied one in Gabriel Wolff, who was tired of scheduling time for a haircut while running Stamford’s Wink Frozen Desserts.

“I was fed up with my (then) current barber. I didn’t like the schedule — they were closed Sundays and Mondays, which are good days for me. I wasn’t married to them and I wasn’t in love with the service, so I went online to look for a nearby barber who wouldn’t break the bank,” Wolff tells me from a business trip to Montreal.

“I came across Doorbell Barbers and thought, ‘Why the hell not?’,” he adds, laughing, of having a barber come to him, rather than vice versa. “It was easy, a better cut than the barber I was using and I didn’t have to leave my apartment.

“Cheaper and better and my wife says I can’t have anyone else cut my hair now.”

Ianucci has added traditional beauty parlor services to his line-up — makeup, blow outs — and puts together package deals for whole wedding parties. He is also setting up group visits to assisted care facilities.

“Right now, I am being a sponge, soaking up all the feedback I can get,” the barber says of following in the footsteps of Uber, which has each transaction rated by its customers in order to guarantee high levels of service.

“I want to be offering service across the state by the end of the year and bring on 20 to 30 new staff members,” Ianucci says. “After that, who knows where we will go?”

jmeyers@hearstmediact.com; Twitter: @joesview

Stamford Daily Voice: Stamford-Based Doorbell Barbers Provide On-Demand Haircuts

STAMFORD, Conn. — Call it the Uber of haircuts.

Much like the ridesharing service that offers lifts on demand, the recently launched Stamford-based Doorbell Barbers will send a barber to your home or office an hour after you request it.

“I think we’re entering into an on-demand economy,” the company’s founder Christian Iannucci told the Daily Voice. “Uber was a big influence. You’re seeing a number of different companies within the beauty industry moving toward in-house service.”

Launched in July, the service has seen a “great demand,” he said, serving 270 clients within its first few months.

Through the company’s website, customers can book a haircut online. The process takes about 60 seconds, Iannucci said.

The client then chooses a convenient time. Sometimes they can have a barber arrive within an hour, Iannucci said.

Doorbell Barbers currently partner with area properties, hospitals, senior centers and local companies to provide haircuts as well as straight razor shave services.

The company also offers day of wedding services for grooms, which sometimes gets overlooked in the wedding planning process.

“Our contribution is making sure everyone is looking their best and everyone’s clean cut,” Iannucci said.

But the wedding grooming service is more than a simple haircut and shave.

“it’s also more of an experience,” he said. “You’re creating a memory with people.”

The company is continuing to expand. In late November, it will begin to offer an on-demand service for blowouts and haircuts for women.

Although Iannucci said he doesn’t know of any other service in the area that provides on-demand haircuts and shaves, he said the service is the wave of the future.

The former CEO and co-founder of Gilt Group, a popular online luxury deal site, for example, started Glamsquad. The company specializes in on-demand beauty services.

“I think people are catching on to the idea that they want things in the moment, now,” he said.

And Iannucci, a Stratford resident and Shelton High School grad, is ready to provide that — in style.

“We try to make that experience as luxurious and intimate as possible,” he said.

Greetings friends,

It's been a labor of love creating this service and I'm psyched to share it with you today.

Over the past 14 months, I found myself doing things that were unexpected and surprisingly invigorating.

I left a stable corporate gig to study cosmetology. I went from the business world to beauty school at 29 years old. The majority of students in my program were fresh out of high school and I was the only guy there. I learned perms, pin curls, finger waves, extensions, random nail & skin infectious diseases, haircutting, and color & styling techniques over a 12-month intensive.  I apprenticed at the finest barbershops and salons in the state, attended workshops/trade shows across the East coast, passed my state boards, got hired at an upscale men’s salon...and then came to the realization that I wanted to start a company.

After dozens of blow drys and women's haircuts, I knew I wanted to specialize in men's service. I'm more passionate about barbering, just like my grandfather who ran a barbershop in Bridgeport for more than 40 years. So I traded in the curling iron for the razor blade. I began to offer my services to people at home and quickly became more busy outside the shop than in it. Then it clicked; there was something stirring, an idea to experiment with, a company to build.

And so, an on-call, where you want, when you want, personalized men’s grooming service business was born.

I’m thrilled to introduce to you my new company, Doorbell Barbers.

Doorbell Barbers is about taking care of people.  We are going to bring service to your home, your office, the nursing home, your sick parent in the hospital, to your kids in the backyard while you’re making dinner, and to your wedding day.

This company  is the culmination of everything I feel I do well. I enjoy the intimacy of one-on-one dialogue, I love serving as host and catering, and I appreciate not being in the same place everyday.  Furthermore, in this new endeavor, I get to be creative in my work and return to the startup world.

 I designed the site to be sleek and relaxing. Additionally, the booking process is customized by and for you. From your haircut preferences to the music you want playing while I work, it's about your comfort.

This launch wouldn't be possible without the help and support of my friends, Chris Alesevich, Matt Bednarsky, Michael Donnarummo and Dylan Feldmeier. They pushed me, combed through my content, tested my software and offered their time for free to help a friend with a bunch of free haircuts along the way.

Special thanks to the staff at Sono Academy, especially Nick Jardin, Nikki Dunnay & Christine Desantis who worked endlessly to see me through, friends Erik & Cheryl Paul, Leah & Mike Cybart, Hunter Stolze, The Twisted Vine Restaurant, Brian Reed, Andrew Hutton, Gino & Mike L’Altrella, my mom and dad, sister Caitlin and her husband Tim Jurkowski, Danielle Savignano, Aunt Debbie & Uncle Marc and everyone who encouraged me.

www.doorbellbarbers.com

Thank you,

Christian

Founder,

Doorbell Barbers, LLC