Before the pandemic hit, Daisy “Daze” Henson, had joked about offering virtual haircuts as a service.
More than two years later, she’s cutting hair entirely virtually, and it’s bringing in more take-home pay than she did working in a brick-and-mortar salon.
“I’ve met people all over the world, people from Germany, India, Singapore,” Henson told entrepreneur. “I’ve done a royal family of a country that’ll remain unnamed.”
When the pandemic hit, Henson was working in her salon, The Daze Studio in San Diego, California, around four days a week. But the curly hair expert, a niche she has carved out due to what she says is a lack of good education on how to cut curly hair in cosmetology school, is now working entirely out of her Golden state home, seeing around six clients a day — all virtually.
Her expertise is everything “kinky, wavy, coily… Anything with a bend in it,” she said. Henson’s even inspired high-profile comedian Elyse Myers to post about her recent haircut.
The online operation began in January 2020, when a customer had a photoshoot but couldn’t make her appointment (and Henson couldn’t travel to her).
“She’s like, ‘Oh my goodness, what am I gonna do?’ And I said, “You know what? Let’s get on FaceTime. I will show you what to cut,” Henson said.
It worked. And then it worked again, for a second time.
Henson later tried it with other clients, and after the pandemic hit, she eventually let go of her salon lease and decided to try the virtual opportunity full-time.
From lightbulb moment to sustainable revenue source
Henson debuted virtual haircuts in May 2020 as a service available to certain clients who filled out a screening form. After a few months, she realized that anyone could use her technique to cut their own hair, she said. By June 2020, she opened the virtual haircut booking system to the world.
“I just started getting this crazy influx of people,” she said. “Hundreds of people.”
But unlike a lot of pandemic pivots, (bread-baking, mask-making) interest didn’t wane. She’s currently booked through the end of October and into November for a full service virtual haircut.
Henson’s popularity stems from several factors. She says that people are seeking her out because of her curly hair specialty — something that is less common in the field. Plus, during the pandemic, more people started wearing their hair curly and embracing natural hair textures instead of getting a straightening treatment at the salon, Henson said. (Black women in particular powered another surge in the natural hair movement during the pandemic.)
Henson estimates that she likely is bringing in 20 to 30 percent more revenue now a year than she was in brick and mortar — and so far, has brought in “over six figures” in revenue from cutting hair on the computer in 2022.
“There’s no overhead,” Henson said, or very little. “This has kept me so busy that I haven’t had to reopen,” she added.
How a virtual haircut works with The Daze Studio
First, the site recommends you buy a $48 kit, which comes with shears for cutting, pins for sectioning, and a stick for parting your hair. The site asks you to set up your laptop in front of a mirror so you can cut your hair and see the Zoom screen at the same time.
Courtesy of TheDazeStudio.com
“This cut is not like a YouTube tutorial type of cut,” she said. “It’s a step-by-step 360-degree custom haircut.”
A full-service virtual haircut costs $195, with no virtual consultation prior required. Henson then spends up to 80 minutes helping someone cut their hair one-on-one over Zoom.
She wouldn’t reveal too much about her technique but said her underlying philosophy is what she calls “kinetic techniques,” which means she constantly moves the curls around while cutting in order to shape the hair.
It also involves cutting while dry and keeping curls intact.
Courtesy of TheDazeStudio.com
There’s a holistic element, too.
“I think that I really try to understand their hair and try to understand them [as people],” Henson said.
Henson also teaches her methods at Daze Curl Education. She also hopes to expand, potentially, to AR/VR integrated haircuts. Her mission is to boost the curly hair education students get in cosmetology school, which typically advises stylists to wet the hair to make it straight, then cut it, she said, whereas Henson’s highlights the unique aspects of each head of bendy hair.
“I love that [curly hair] has personality, and with every person, it’s like a fingerprint. It’s just, it’s beautiful,” she said. “It’s art to me.”