From left are Thomas White, Vicki Jordan and Tyler Anthony, co-founders of DueTT Technology, which will launch its self-cooling electric clippers early next year. The three founded the company as Mississippi State students in 2017 hoping to address some of the outdated equipment and resources available for barbers. Photo by: Courtesy photo
July 18, 2019 10:46:15 AM
The business Tyler Anthony and Thomas White began as college students sprang from a problem White kept encountering in one of his hobbies.
For about two years, White -- then an agricultural engineering major at Mississippi State University -- was cutting his friends' and relatives' hair, even posting instructional videos from his work on YouTube.
"He was always telling me that his clippers kept getting too hot and he kept having to shut them down every 15 to 20 minutes," Anthony recalled. "So after hearing about how that was a problem, I wanted to do something about it."
Anthony, a senior computer engineering major, began designing an electric clipper with something built in that would cool the motor and keep it running all day, if necessary, without overheating. With help from MSU's Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach and a $130,000 investment from the Bulldog Angel Network -- an independent group of venture capitalists that focuses on start-ups founded by MSU students, faculty, staff and alumni -- White and Anthony, along with MSU psychology alumna Vicki Jordan, founded DueTT Technology, LLC in 2017.
"Our product is launching early next year, and I'm honestly really looking forward to the launch," Anthony said. "We realized our competition are pretty much all the household or brand names of clippers, so we're excited to be bringing something new to the industry. ... Barbers shouldn't be using the same tools they were using 60 years ago while haircuts keep evolving and changing in styles."
The cooled clippers specifically target a niche market for African-American and Latino hair.
"We did research through our social media by talking to the barbers that follow us, and we found the problem of clippers overheating isn't a problem found by Caucasian barbers," White said. "This is a problem encountered by Latino and African-American barbers, mostly, because of the styles and fades their customers are looking for. So we really wanted to address that."
To both build excitement for DueTT's launch and gain a following of potential customers, Anthony, White and Jordan started a second website, The Barber Style Directory. It features a barber and haircut of the week, and, as the name suggests, an online directory full of reference photographs and videos for all the latest hair trends. It also includes tutorials from White, now a MSU grad and licensed barber.
Jordan, who manges the website and all its social media platforms -- each of which have tens of thousands of followers -- said she focuses on building an online brand in order to also build a future customer base.
"We want to understand what (barbers) need and want," she said. "We're building the brand to get people to trust us."
Anthony believes that providing free resources to barbers like the reference photographs and video tutorials on The Barber Style Directory, will go a long way in branding DueTT.
"We want to build into the modern barber's brand," he said. "And I think we can as long as we continue to be a place where barbers can come for inspiration and equipment."
Editor's Note: Dispatch Publisher Peter Imes is part of the Bulldog Angel Network.
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