Get to know a Toronto startup: Resurva
This is an all-too familiar scenario in Toronto: you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and realize your hair is slowly turning into a mullet (and not one of the fashionable mullets that the Europeans made "somewhat" cool). On your way home from work, you decide to pop into your favorite barbershop for some quick scissor work. Lo and behold, the place is packed, and you spend the next 45 minutes sitting in the waiting room.
Imagine being able to pick up your smartphone and quickly book an appointment, any time, (day or night) without having to repeat every letter of your last name over and over. It's called Resurva, and it's available at a barbershop near you. With over 10 years of experience running Offshoot, James Hamilton and his team have developed an app to make your local barbershop trip a little less painful.
I had the chance to catch up with James to learn a bit more about Offshoot and Resurva, and how they are attempting to shake up the service-based booking process.
Tell me about Resurva. Where did the idea come from?
Two years ago, we built a room-booking application for a client. After building this application, we tossed around the idea of turning this app into a service and how this could be done.
In June of 2010, our friend Jon Roth opened his barbershop - Crow's Nest Babershop - in Kensington Market. From the minute he opened, he was busy. My brother Neil (with whom I have the awesome pleasure of working at Offshoot) thought that Jon would be a great test case for us to build Resurva.
Fast forward to the summer of 2011, and we launched Resurva with Crows Nest. The launch was quiet but within 5 minutes of adding the 'book online' link to the Crows Nest site, we had our first web-based booking. After that booking, we knew that we were onto something and a few months later, so did the vast majority of Crows Nest's clients.
How does Resurva actually work?
Resurva allows an individual to book online using their mobile phone, tablet or desktop. For clients, Resurva keeps the business open 24/7. A client can still call or email a booking, which are entered in the admin backend. With every business that's launched Resurva, we find that once clients know they can take care of their own bookings online, the phone and inbox will be a lot less busy.
Who's using Resurva today?
We have a range of clients using Resurva to run their business. We have clients like barbershops, eyebrow shapers, personal services, wakeboard parks and clinics. We're starting to get a lot of traction with barbershops in general and working hard to raise our profile with barbershops in North America. In Toronto, we have Garrison's and Crows Nest Barbershop using Resurva to secure bookings and manage their shops.
Ultimately, we're open to working with any service based business, but being a smaller shop ourselves, we've got to pick our battles and stay focused. Right now, that happens to be working with barbershops.
What kind of companies would really benefit from using the Resurva model?
An ideal client for us has the following traits: a great culture and service experience, and a need to better deliver that service. Culture is very important for us at Offshoot and we find we have the best connection with a business that is very tied to the culture they've created. We're offering Resurva as a solution to help a business find more time to spend building this culture because ultimately that's what separates a business like Crows Nest from one of the chain hair salons.
Personally, I'm still surprised at how many shops are run from an appointment book. I'm starting to think of the appointment book as a black hole that sucks a business' time and energy from productive tasks, or staying focused on the clients when they're on location receiving a service. Plus, once a page is turned to the next calendar day when the business opens, all sorts of great client data is lost forever.
Tell me about the business side of Resurva. Who pays for the service? Where does the revenue come from?
There is no cost to the consumer. Businesses that use Resurva to run their locations pay a monthly fee to use the service. We currently have 3 service packages that cater to a wide range of needs, from an individual just starting out, to a shop as busy as Crows Nest.
If the client wants us to help them get set up, then we charge a set-up fee as well. We're also starting to build websites for some of our clients that are heavily integrated with Resurva. We'll take any opportunity to connect a business with client transactions.
What's next for Resurva? Any big plans you can reveal?
Outside of continuing to improve the product by adding features and making the platform more efficient, we're working very hard to raise our profile as a company. There are a ton of amazing businesses providing exceptional services and it's great that we're starting to become an integral part of the designed service experience for our clients.
As we like to say: it starts with the booking. Becoming the authority for service based bookings for exceptional businesses will be the culmination of our big plans.