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UCT students create app for hair and nail appointments

Fleeker is an app created to help salons and barber shops manage queues during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fleeker is an app created to help salons and barber shops manage queues during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Image: Esa Alexander

As personal care services, including hair and nail salons, are starting to pick up during the pandemic, University of Cape Town (UCT) students have developed an app to help with booking appointments and reduce queues.

Fleeker, an app developed by four UCT students, allows users to schedule appointments with hairstylists, barbers, make-up artists and nail technicians, and manage long in-salon queues to meet physical distancing regulations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Co-founder Asonele Gevenga said the app was created in 2018 and since March they have been coming up with more innovative ways to ensure stylists and beauty therapists still generate an income once lockdown restrictions were eased and the sector reopened.

“I spent a lot of time in queues at my barber shop and it made me think of ways to improve and streamline this system, just to make it more convenient for customers,” he said.

Gevenga said the app was just what the country's hotspots, such as the Western Cape and Gauteng, needed, especially since personal care services have started seeing an influx of customers.

Social distancing, limited customer numbers and strict hygiene protocols mean trips to the barber shop, hair salon and beauty spa look a lot different now under “advanced” level 3 lockdown.

Fleeker requires stylists to register online by completing a registration form.

“While there’s no upfront cost involved, 10% of every successful booking goes to Fleeker,” said Gevenga.

“Once stylists have signed up, the platform’s location-sharing functionality ensures that potential clients can select a therapist close to them.”

Gevenga said the system’s improvements benefit stylists and their clients alike, and there is an option for stylists to go to a client's home, eliminating the risks of a crowded salon.

“This means the stylist will have more control over the health and safety measures they have in place, like sanitising, because it’s a one-on-one service,” he said.

“As part of our mission to improve, while adhering to strict health guidelines during this pandemic, and still accommodating our customers [stylists] and their customers, we had to make some changes.”

The app lists a range of local businesses and offers a cashless payment system.

A built-in feature also enables stylists to track their monthly income, making financial planning a lot easier.

“We’ve received great feedback from our clients, as well their clients, especially during this time. This has reinforced our commitment to ensure that all stylists, big and small, have a fighting chance in the market and are able to connect with customers in an efficient way,” said Gevenga.

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