A little app that can go a long way in your grooming…
So I have a confession. There’s an Amazon jungle sized mess of hair on my once relatively smart and well maintained scalp. Ever since 2020 lockdown measures started in march, WHO and local guidelines discouraged and outright banned the opening or barber shops and beauty salons, hence most of us just started staying home and either taking a DIY approach to looking after our hair, or like me, doing the bare minimum by coming it at most. Some of us have recently started visiting our and stylists barbers in…risky capacities, but for those of us who still want to stay relatively safe, there’s a perfect little app meant to make the process of looking after your hair in lockdown a lot easier: Sika.
Developed by local developer Alistair Holmes (@alistairholmes_ on Twitter) , Sika lists safe, reliable local barbers , hairstylists and beauticians that you can find by are, contact through details listed on the app and book an appointment to have your hair done in a more legitimate environment. I tested the app myself and also got in touch with Mr. Holmes to ask him a little more about the app. In his words, the app is definitely a timely one, helping people stay groomed even when moving around is hard during the pandemic. He also wants it to be an advertising platform for service providers , helping them continue to work and find new clients during this period. You can see more excerpts of our conversation below:
Clint Mukarakate(CM): So, why the name Sika?
Alistair Holmes(AH): Well I wanted an original name that would show that it’s a locally made app. Seeing that a lot of cutting is involved in the grooming business, I felt that Sika ( taken from ukusika ) was appropriate and catchy.
CM: What prompted you to make such an app and interestingly enough launch it during this pandemic, or are the two related.
AH: During the lockdown I needed a haircut, badly. Unfortunately my barber lives on the other side of town, plus hair salons were shut down, so it was hard for us to meet up. Many people had the same issue and were looking for a barber or hairdresser in their own suburb. This was a great opportunity for me to tackle this problem as an app developer.
The service is already charging a premium of $1 for vendors (barbers, stylists) to be on the platform, but is free for consumer. After asking Alistair about that, he had this to say:
“Service providers pay subscription fee of $1 or Ecocash equivalent per month. That’s all, there’s no rent-a-chair and I don’t take any commissions. Things are already tight and I want to support local vendors during these trying times. The subscription fee feels like a reasonable price in that context.”
This likely means all of these providers aren’t charging “corner of the neighborhood” rates, especially for low income areas, which might make some of us hesitate a bit, but at the same time there is a promise of safety here, in fact I asked Alistair about it personally below:
“Vendors are required to send proof of their work and how they carry out their work, allowing me to at the very least assess standards like UV light bays for cleaning the equipment. Some work from home with all their protective equipment and others carry their equipment with them to the place arranged by the client.”
And as such, Sika already seems like a compelling app to try out during this period. In fact, there’s a list of updates planes, from a reviews and rating system to a location tracking system so you can see the closest vendor to you on a map. I’m personally interested in seeing how people will adopt the app, and how the app may grow hopefully beyond this pandemic as well. Time will tell, but I would definitely tell everyone reading this to give Sika a try, and for any barbers, hairstylists or beauticians to sign up as well, as in times like this apps that support the working man and woman are something we all could use more of.