Some entrepreneurs subscribe to the philosophy of “build it, and they will come.”
Elgien Richardson of Fort Wayne is bringing his service directly to consumers instead.
His mobile hair services business, Kingdom Crowns Mobile Haircuts, brings equipment and supplies to workplaces, homes, and institutions in the Fort Wayne area, offering quality haircuts and shaves at reasonable prices and at a place that's convenient for clients.
The business model behind it is simple and rooted in consumers’ increasing desire for convenience and delivery service, Richardson says. Richardson
“People get their food brought to their door. Why not have their hair care services come to them, too?" he reasons. "I wanted to be different and create my own little niche."
Turns out, Richardson is onto what may be a growing global trend in haircare.
In March 2019, BBC News reported on the popularity of mobile barbering
among young, black British men.
"It's like Uber, but for haircuts," the article says
While barbershops and salons have long been community hubs to hang out and chat, younger generations are often looking for faster and more convenient services. Jeff Fromm of Forbes
explains the trend as the "Amazon Effect" driven by technology and on-demand culture.
"Today, Millennial and Gen-Z customers play by a different set of rules and expectations," Fromm writes. "Younger generations of consumers have grown up with media and services that are available at the push of a button, anytime and anyplace."
In other words, why take time to leave home for a haircut when a barbershop on wheels can do the trick?
Elgin Richardson is following his passion with Kingdom Crowns.
Unlike other mobile barbershops, Richardson doesn't utilize an app to book appointments yet. Now in his second year of business, he relies on the good old fashioned phone and word-of-mouth.
Although he knows he may need to do more in the way of marketing to grow, he has a broad client base in the making.
Some are busy executives who simply prefer what he refers to as "the VIP treatment." Others are people who can’t get out to a traditional barbershop or salon, for various reasons, Richardson explains. For example, some of his clients are elderly or mentally and/or physically disabled, making it difficult for them to leave home.
While his business model might be modern, Richardson says Kingdom Crowns was born out of a fire in his belly that began when he was a boy.
“Growing up, I've always had a passion for cosmetology,” he says. “ My mom had a salon at home, and I was actually arching eyebrows at age 13. That’s how it all began.”
However, life took him in a different direction for a while. He studied welding at Anthis Career Center and pursued that path for 25 years. But when the financial crisis hit in 2008, he lost his job.
Unsure what was next, he enrolled at Ravenscroft Beauty College in Fort Wayne and worked his way up to teach there.
Elgien Richardson and family
Then came a time in 2019 when he got the itch to go out on his own.
“I never really put my all into it until last year,” Richardson says. “I just don't really want to work for anybody anymore. I wanted to place trust in the God-given abilities that I've always had. So that's how Kingdom Crowns came about. “
So what's next for Kingdom Crowns?
Richardson says that in addition to the car he uses to get to appointments, he'd like to have at least one mobile unit to set up shop and cut hair anywhere. He'd also like to expand to surrounding counties in northeast Indiana, but that will mean hiring staff.
“My concern is, if I have a team of people, will they have the same passion I do?” he questions.
Richardson is also considering bringing his daughter into the business to run a brick-and-mortar location that caters exclusively to kids.
In the meantime, he’s busy growing his client base.
He says his secret to success is all about maintaining a healthy perspective.
“Be patient, and never give up,” Richardson adds. “Even if I would have done this 12 years ago, I wouldn’t have had the time to prepare. I have to constantly remind myself of God’s timing, as well.”
Book an appointment with Kingdom Crowns by calling Richardson at (260) 249-5697.