Haircuts and healing: this business means more than just a trim to some

“The only place I felt comfortable was in the chair at my local barbers. I wanted to be able to share that feeling of comfort and self-worth with others.”

Andrew Nash, who trades as Anxiety, used his Start Up Loan to convert a van into an app-powered mobile barbershop. Now he can turn up to customers wherever they need him and whatever their health needs. He tells us why…

I lost my dad to suicide when I was 18 and I really went off the rails, using alcohol and drugs to block out the pain.

My mother begged me to get help and talk about how I felt but I was in denial and was just burying it rather than dealing with it. The only place I felt comfortable was in the chair at my local barbers.

Bit by bit I started opening up about my life. I found real comfort in getting it off my chest – even though my barber had no idea the effect he was having on my life. That’s when I realised I wanted this career for myself.

I hoped to share the comfort and feeling of self-worth I got when leaving the barber’s chair. So, I put myself through college and sought help from my doctor for my own feelings.

I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and decided to use this to power something positive.

I wanted to create a safe space I could bring to people who struggle to go to a traditional barber’s shop – whether that’s for physical or mental health reasons. I ran my own mobile business part-time using my name Barber Anxiety for two years.  Then the opportunity came along to buy into the national TRIM-IT franchise, which was featured recently of Channel 4’s The Money Maker.

I really liked the idea of becoming part of something bigger. I loved the family feel of the franchise business because that means so much to me. The founder of TRIM-IT is really open about his own struggles with dyslexia so we really connect on a personal level too. I now have a team behind me, providing great technical support so I can just focus on what I love to do – looking after my customers.

My Start Up Loan gave me the chance to get started on this new path.

Without the loan I wouldn’t have my business. It’s as simple as that. I used the Start Up Loan from Transmit Startups to convert a van into a mobile barber shop. The guys who did the conversion did a great job and I never get tired of people’s reaction when they see inside. I often get people stopping in their tracks and asking to take photos.

I’m now Warrington’s first app-powered barber shop.

Customers simply download the TRIM-IT app, type in their location and book a time slot. I’ll turn up wherever people need me – whether that’s the car park of their workplace or gym, their local pub, school or their home. I’ve even been to the local hospital to cut the hair of doctors between shifts.

Convenience is the attraction for lots of customers but for others it’s my commitment to reach people who are unable leave their home or are too anxious to go to a traditional barber shop. Joining up with the TRIM-IT franchise means I’m able to bring together my mobile barbering and my passion to support more people by making the most of technology.

It might just be a haircut, but for those who can’t get out it’s so much more.

Word has really spread about what I do and I’m looking to expand in my area so I can reach more people. I’d like to train more barbers in mental health issues because this is a great way to really connect with people. I’ve learned lots about how to take care of people with autism, OCD and a wide range of mental health issues.

I work with a lot of children and I regularly go to a school for children with additional needs where I do everyone’s hair! I’ve taken out insurance so I can visit customers in their own home too if that suits them best.

It’s a great feeling to see people drop their guard and relax when I’m with them.

Dealing with Transmit was really easy and straightforward.

Finding a way to access finance is a massive barrier for most people but it’s almost impossible when you’re from a poorer background. So, I was really pleased to find out about Transmit Startups through my franchisor who was also funded this way.

I feel confident about the future and ready to take it on.

I'm looking forward to getting the business to a point where I can spend more time with my kids because ultimately, family is what this is all about. Joining forces with TRIM-IT means I should be able to drop some hours to get a better work/life balance.

If you’re thinking about starting your own business, I’d say just go for it.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of a job that just pays the bills but if you have a dream for yourself you have to take a few risks. As long as you’ve thought it through properly and you know people need what you’re offering then those risks will pay off. Some things will work and some things won’t but failure is all part of learning.

Has this story got you thinking?

Transmit Startups can take your business from a dream to a reality, with a Start Up Loan and support to get started. Find out how we can help on our Start Up Loans page.