Self-grooming has become an unavoidable necessity for millions of Americans across several states as governors and mayors shut down barbershops and salons in an effort to enforce social distancing mandates aimed at limiting the spread of the deadly and highly contagious COVID-19 virus. As a result, self-grooming products for those forced to take a DIY approach to haircare, mani/pedis, and other personal care needs are among the areas of entrepreneurial opportunity emerging from the coronavirus crisis.
St. Lucian immigrant and Shark Tank winner Joshua Esnard is one of those with a self-grooming product to meet a key demand in the current environment. His invention, The Cut Buddy, is a DIY-barbering tool created to help people do their own haircuts and beard trimming.
“I created this when I was a kid,” says Esnard, who was recognized as a 2018 BE Modern Man of Distinction. “I couldn’t go to the barber. Either it was too far away, or I couldn’t afford to. Now, with this pandemic, hopefully, my invention can help people feel a little bit better about their haircuts and themselves every day.”
The Cut Buddy is a stencil that, when held against one’s head, allows anyone to give themselves (or someone else) a barber-quality line-up, edge-up, or shape-up to their haircut or beard. Esnard was just 13-years-old when he created the self-grooming product as a solution to the same struggle many people are now challenged with during the current pandemic: “How can I cut my own hair?” After numerous failed attempts and mangled hairlines, Esnard traced out a stencil that would prevent him from making errors and give him crisp, barber-quality results.
Patented in 2015 and released in 2016, a YouTube influencer campaign helped The Cut Buddy go viral, with 4,000 units sold in just one hour. Esnard says that PayPal’s fraud system automatically froze his account because the large and sudden increase in cash flow triggered a shut-down designed to prevent suspected money laundering.
Since its viral release, The Cut Buddy self-grooming tool has been featured in GQ, Forbes, NBC’s The Today Show, NPR, and Black Enterprise. Esnard went on the ABC hit television show Shark Tank and struck a deal with Daymond John, giving up 20% of the company for $300,000. The Cut Buddy has since partnered with Andis Co. Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of electric clippers and other tools for professional barbers and hairstylists. Esnard says that as of the end of 2019, over 500,000 Cut Buddy haircut stencils have been sold worldwide.
In response to the current crisis, The Cut Buddy and The Cut Buddy PLUS are available at a 15% discount at checkout at TheCutBuddy.com with the promo code: DIY2020. The self-grooming products are also sold on Amazon. Esnard, now 33, looks back on his self-grooming invention of two decades ago and how it might be more helpful now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, than ever before. “It’s only a haircut tool, but I’ve seen how much it means to people to feel good about how they look every day,” he asserts. “I hope this can help people’s lives feel a bit more normal.”