OSSINING, N.Y. – As a teenager,Ossining’s Ryford Estores went to the barbershop every weekend and waited for a trim, sometimes for up to four hours. He did not know it then, but those weekly visits were the genesis behind his Self-Cut System, a blossoming self-grooming business.
“I was that person waiting at the barbershop,’’ Estores said. “I used to go every weekend. It was a little bit about establishing self confidence, and a little bit about looking good to impress the ladies. It frustrated me. It makes no sense to pay $20 to wait that long.”
Estores became a barber at 16 and attended Westchester Community College, where he studied nursing and marketing. He always had an eye toward launching his own business. While watching the television show "The Big Idea," he thought of his own goals.
“Watching people come up with big ideas, I was very inspired,’’ Estores said. “I’m also very competitive. I know for a fact that I’ll do better than that person on television. Watching that show you always say to yourself, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ I didn’t want to be that person.”
Self-Cut system includes an instructional DVD, three-way mirror, clipper and trimmer. The video includes instructions for different styles. There are a variety of packages, beginning at around $80. People can purchase the system online. It is not yet available in retail outlets.
“I was fortunate to have the experience and knowledge from my days in the barbershop,’’ Estores said. “I was able to learn about the market and consumer behavior.”
Customers have many reasons for liking his product, he said. “The most common is it makes cutting hair a lot easier and faster,’’ he said. “They save time and money. Our mission is to help people have control to look however they want to look.”
He founded the business in 2008. After two years in the developmental stage, he went to market in 2010. “The first six months in business, we were testing the product to see what kind of feedback we got,’’ he said. “If we did something wrong, we were able to improve it. Now we’re having our biggest year. We’re grateful for where we are, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
The business is growing, but Estores said people do not recognize the effort it took to build his brand. “It wasn’t a hobby,’’ Estores said. “I had to work my butt off to get where we’re at as a company. A lot of people just see the results. They don’t see the challenges, the risk, the problems we had to endure. All they see is the success.”
The greatest reward from his thriving business is the impact his product is having, Estores says. “It’s very self-fulfilling,’’ he said. “I didn’t do it for the money. It was about making a difference in the world. It was never about making money. It was about executing my plan and enjoying the ride. That makes me feel like, wow, this is very fulfilling.”
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