Wunderkinds 2013: Ryford Estores, 29
CEO and Founder, Self-Cut System
Ryford Estores, the 29-year-old founder and CEO of Self-Cut System, a line of self-grooming products, launched his company in his mother’s Ossining basement in 2008. Now Estores hopes his Self-Cut System, which includes a patent-pending three-way mirror that hangs from a door, will revolutionize the way men and women think about haircuts.
Estores began cutting his own hair at 16, when he grew tired of visiting the barber every Friday to keep up with his hairstyle. Soon, he was cutting the hair of his Ossining High School classmates, and it wasn’t long before the local barber hired Estores to stave off a drop in business.
When Estores was 24, the concept for the Self-Cut System popped into his head while cutting his own hair. “It just hit me,” he recalls. “I was tired of the frustration from twisting my back and holding a mirror.” If people could see the backs of their heads and had instruction on how to cut their own hair, he believed, they too would drop the barber.
In addition to the three-way hanging mirror, designed for 360-degree visibility, the system, which went on sale in late 2010, also includes video instructions for self-grooming on DVD. He spent two years developing his invention, consulting with product engineers, patent lawyers, and manufacturers to build a prototype. Self-Cut System now offers a number of packages for its growing clientele, some including clippers, for example, and one that is aimed especially for women.
In its third year, the Self-Cut System is on track to generate $1 million in sales. Today, the Ossining resident is hiring a marketing firm and a personal assistant, and he’s rebranding the entire operation. By late summer, Self-Cut System will be available in retail stores, a huge boon for the company. He expects availability at AFFES (Army and Air Force Exchange Service, essentially the Walmart of American military bases worldwide) and Sally Beauty Supply stores, a popular beauty-supplies chain, to dwarf current sales.
“I focus on a good product, and everything else falls into place,” says Estores. “The key is making people loyal to the brand, money comes second.”