The Uber-style mobile barber shop delivering haircuts to doorsteps across London

Ella Wills

A group of friends from south London have launched an Uber-style service allowing time-strapped people in the capital the chance to book haircuts via an app.

TRIM-IT brings hairdressers direct to clients in London, inviting people to book a barber to their doorstep as if it were a takeaway or cab.

Claiming to be the UK's first app-powered mobile barber shop, the subscription-based start-up currently has three vans in operation around east, south east, north and north west London.

It was designed with the aim of slashing barber shop wait times, targeting young professionals seeking a convenient, affordable and premium grooming experience, two of TRIM-IT's co-founders Nathan Maalo and Nana Darko told the Standard.

TRIM-IT: (left to right) co-founder Nathan Maalo, barber Dee Dervish and co-founder Nana Darko ()

Customers can select their barber and appointment time through a mobile app, with the van pulling up to a location of their choice for a trim.

Each TRIM-IT barber has their own bespoke van, fully equipped with a silver barber's chair, overhead mirror and speakers for clients to play their own music.

With much of the team being young black entrepreneurs of Afro-Caribbean descent, TRIM-IT initially aimed to provide similar young people in London a convenient way to get their hair cut.

Customers can hail a TRIM-IT van for a haircut via an app, like Uber or Deliveroo

"Black professionals might not have a place in the City where they can get their hair cut... nowhere that caters for their hair style," said Mr Maalo, 25, who heads up customer experience and oversees the design of the vans.

Mr Maalo, from Streatham, said there were many places that specialise cutting Afro-Caribbean hair near his home, but TRIM-IT saw that was not always true of other locations.

The idea for the company was also borne out of the teams' frustration with long wait times at traditional barber shops in south London.

It's about efficiency but also bringing premium service at an affordable rate

Afro-Caribbean barbershops are known for their social culture, Mr Maalo explained.

"Barbers are almost like this safe haven where lads will chill, relax and have a bit of banter," he said.

"They'll have a debate, watch the football."

However it can often take hours to get a cut. Mr Maalo said: "We were all tired of waiting around at the barbers.

"Where I'm from it's normal to wait about three hours on a Friday, Saturday or even Thursday for a haircut.

"So from that frustration we came up with an initial idea of an app... from that we thought let's create our own barbers."

Mr Maalo said creating TRIM-IT was "about the efficiency of not having to one wait to long, but also about bringing premium service at an affordable rate, combined with the current demands of a lot of young professionals".

Mr Maalo speaks outside the bespoke van

The brand has diversified its client-base since the launch of its first van in early 2018, encompassing the current needs of many young professionals while also attracting women and older customers.

Mr Darko, 24, said: "Everything has become an on demand experience [for the younger generation].

"Our customers are mostly men aged between 21 and 35, people who are busy.

"But we are finding different customers, like the young mum who doesn't have time to take her son to the barbershop."

Vans are fully equipped to offer the same service as a barber shop

Mr Maalo added: "We also find that we have a lot of female customers. It's a private space... sometimes barbershops can be very intimidating."

Full-time barber Dee Dervish, 28, who covers north and north west London said university students also use the service.

"They're studying and don't have time to go to a barbershop, so they'll just call the TRIM-IT van," he said. "These people they know they can call it to their house and it doesn't interfere with their studies.

"It only takes half an hour, 45 minutes out of their day."

Mr Dervish, who has been working in salons for around 12 years, added that working out of the van "is so much better". "It brings a whole new vibe to what I'm used to," he said.

"It's a bit more relaxed when it's just you and the client. They feel more relaxed, I feel more relaxed," he added.

TRIM-IT customers can choose from three subscription options starting at £22.50 per month for one cut, or opt to pay as they go.

Aware that clients often have a loyalty to their current barber, the company gives new customers the chance to trial the service with a free haircut.

TRIM-IT is due to launch two more vans, expanding to south west and possibly west London.