Entrepreneur of the Week: Ryford Estores’s Self-Cut System

Saving time and money—not to mention looking good—are core tenets of entrepreneurship. Ryford Estores, a born entrepreneur, knows that as well as anyone—and he has thus blended all three features in his development of The Self-Cut System, a unique three-way mirror that enables anyone to cut his own hair.

Well, maybe not anyone; Troy Polamalu and Joakim Noah might have a hard time getting their locks under control on their own. But if you’ve got a close crop and are tired of spending money (not to mention half your Saturday) at the barbershop, the Self-Cut System is for you.

Estores, 27, runs the business from his home in Ossining, New York, just up the Hudson River from Manhattan. A part-time nurse, he has long wanted to run his own company. A device that helps people take control of their hairstyle seems, as he puts it, like “a highly sellable product.”

He was given a boost not long ago when he was brought into the funding-and-mentoring program of 100 Urban Entrepreneurs, the nonprofit foundation that offers $10,000 startup grants and eight weeks of business coaching to today’s most promising young businesspeople.

His primary markets? African-American men, as well as one institutional customer with plenty of commercial weight to throw around: the U.S. military. Estores’s products are currently available for purchase at MilitaryShoppingChannel.com, which is owned by legendary entrepreneur Kevin Harrington, of Shark Tank fame – an outlet with explosive sales potential for Estores.

Want to save time and money (nearly $800 a year at $15 for a weekly cut, not counting tip) but worried you’ll make a hash of the job and end up looking like a dog with a skin disease? Don’t be. Each Self-Cut System comes with an instructional DVD; you can watch the videos online as well. Besides, “cutting your own hair is like riding a bike,” Estores says. “Do it a couple of times, and you never forget how.”

For more on Ryford Estores and his Self-Cut System, visit 100urbanentrepreneurs.org