Refresh’s rebranding targets quality control and customer satisfaction

Maddie Chiu | Contributing Writer

This fall, Refresh, previously known as Bear Cuts, opened its doors on the South 40 after undergoing a summer of rebranding. The new model strives to give clients “comfort, connection and community” with a focus on customer satisfaction and quality services.

Refresh, formerly known as Bear Cuts, has rebranded itself to include new owners and stylists as well as a feedback system.

The rebrand focused on maintaining high standards of quality for its services to satisfy customers to the fullest degree. They wanted to find a middle ground to optimize being more convenient than other local shops while offering superior services at a competitive economical price range.

As a senior and co-owner, Emma Reusch has experienced working with both the previous business model of Bear Cuts as well as the new Refresh one.

“When we bought from Bear Cuts, there was [a] negative association based on the model they had,” she said. “There was a lot of students making appointments, but no stylists being there and that had to do with the business model and structure.”

Previously, Bear Cuts ran on a booth rent model where “a stylist is paid a standard amount per day or per week to use that space and keep all the proceeds. They’re also responsible for tips, collection, tools and salons products,” Reusch said.

However, there remains a lack of control on the owners’ side in terms of customer satisfaction. Now, Refresh runs under a commission booth rent.

“We negotiate to take X percent of each payment not including tips, so that is their booth rent of the month… There’s more responsibility on our side, which allows us to control more on the customer side, and that’s what we are aiming for and that’s the biggest difference between those two models,” Reusch said.

In addition to Reusch, the rebranding comes with three new members, Noor Bekhiet, Prince Azoro and Josiah Berhane to the team of four Refresh co-owners. A big change the new Refresh team focused on is “shifting to be more data-focused,” Reusch explained.

Now, there are feedback forms along with weekly reports broken down by stylists, so the co-owners can alter the store hours, services offered and continue improving to meet the needs of Wash. U. students. Reusch added that in the “feedback form, we have stuff like, ‘How was your service today? Who was your stylist?’ and we also have a section for them to drop comments and feedback, which is something we look at on a regular too…We haven’t even had a three star [out of five] yet!”

Regarding the stylists themselves, Reusch affirmed that “All of our stylists got licensed or trained depending on requirement. We aren’t going to stick someone on you that doesn’t know what they are doing. We don’t have apprentices…We’ll leave that for the teaching school.”

Such licensing is required both by the state of Missouri and by Wash. U.’s Student Entrepreneurial Program. It guarantees quality in Refresh’s services and establishes a trusting relationship between hair stylists and students.

Current stylists include Shekeyna, Monica, Tommy and Noor. Tommy Bradley, a barber with over ten years of experience, said that working at Wash. U. with student customers is a “good change in my daily life.”

“I like coming to talk to [the] younger generation, and it’s a big change,” he said. “I also work at another college and it’s not the same… Here, everybody is so work-oriented, which I really respect in all the students. And when they sit on the chair, I can feel them loosen up and that’s rewarding to me and at the same time, it’s interesting to talk to everybody from different places, not only different cities and states, but different countries. And, [I enjoy] learning about different majors and professions, things I wouldn’t even have thought of,” Bradley said.

Regarding the specific services offered by Refresh, Reusch noted that “the big thing is we tried to create a simplified list…When looking at the Bear Cuts website, you had many options and it was very hard to figure out what each one was based on hair length or what you specifically needed done, so we simplified it.”

The new Refresh website includes a user-friendly and organized list of services without the complications of specificity.

“There’s color, there’s lock twisting, there’s braiding, buzz and up-dos, that we don’t tell people, ‘Hey we do these things,’ because it gets super confusing and is a long list,” Reusch said. The services offered remain the same, except with the addition of threading and waxing. As a solution to individual customization without confusion, Refresh now offers service consultations. “If you don’t know if we do something, come ask us because we do.”

Ultimately, the goal of rebranding is to “refresh, revamp and start over with similar ground and base, but better,” Reusch said. They want to have “increased foot traffic, increased awareness and increased customer and quality control.” For Reusch personally, she hopes “for people to enjoy what happens there.”

Being a senior, she will be selling her share of the Refresh business. “It’s very interesting working with people that have all sorts of dynamics, and we are also students, so we are always busy. It’s tense, it’s hectic, it’s slow and it’s all sorts of things at the same time. But I think overall, the amount of experience you are going to get from owning a business is going to be way more than you are going to get here (in class).”

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