“About 60 million Americans could use at-home hair services,” Dubois said, citing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on American adults living with disabilities. “And currently, their needs are not properly addressed: They must rely on relatives to cut their hair, drive them to the salon, or on the very few salon hair stylists accepting house calls.”
Addressing a need
Dubois began working to address that need with Gabrielle White, who had been a master hairstylist locally and in New York. A third founder, Thomas Van Steenwickel, joined them, and in September of 2021, they launched DashStylists, a tech-based platform, which connects mobile stylists with customers who prefer receiving hair services in their homes. Paul Flowers, a veteran of the senior services industry, also joined them as an advisor, and today, older adults make up 75% of their customer base.
The service has made regular haircuts and styling a possibility for many Atlanta-area older adults who don’t have the ability to travel to a salon. DashStylists also has a presence in Florida, and the platform allows dozens of stylists to visit customers in both areas.
“Our 40-plus mobile stylists serve customers wherever they are: aging in place at home, in assisted living communities, in nursing homes, in rehab centers,” Dubois said.
DashStylists also offers services in Charlotte, N.C., and Washington, D.C., according to its website.
A new concept
Although the idea presents benefits for several consumer demographics, it’s faced roadblocks like any new concept. It’s one that American customers have had to get used to.
“The main challenge is that we are offering services that are new to most people. It means it takes a lot of time and explanations to convey what we are doing,” Dubois said. “First, we have to find the right arguments to explain why our solution brings more value. Second, we are asking people to change their habits, which is always a huge undertaking.”
Nevertheless, there’s been significant forward momentum in the short time DashStylists has been in operation. Just launching the platform means success, in Dubois’ eyes, for stylists and customers. Additionally, the fact that so many professionals have joined already ensures that more customers who really need the services can receive them.
“We have successfully achieved two milestones we believe are key,” he said. “We’ve developed a super-innovative platform that is a game changer for hairstylists and for customers. And we’ve built an efficient and dense network of 40-plus mobile stylists in Georgia and Florida (with) the main outcome being a huge rebooking rate among our clients.”
The team is currently carrying out plans for expansion to other geographical areas.
“We have recently expanded in the Tampa-Sarasota area in Florida, and the next step is serving smaller cities in Georgia — Savannah, Columbus, Macon,” Dubois said.
And they’re also now marketing their services more specifically to older adults.
“We are very excited to have launched a new concept in January,” Dubois said. “We will use our innovative platform to change the way beauty services are brought to senior living communities.”
Connect with the Dash team or a mobile hairstylist at dash-stylists.com. Once, there you can search your city and your desired service, which includes nails, makeup and beard services. Haircuts start at $30 for men and $55 for women.
To get specialized news and articles about aging in place, health information and more, sign up for our Aging in Atlanta newsletter.