When Amber Venz Box and Whitney Wolfe Herd (founders of rewardStyle and Bumble, respectively) announced the launch of their latest tech venture, Cherry, it was easy to imagine how it would benefit the user. But the app, which delivers nail technicians to Dallas zip codes on demand, is intended to liberate the manicurists just as much as those seeking a polish change in the comfort of their home, hotel, or office.
How many times have you dropped into a nail salon only to see a handful of technicians sitting around waiting for clients? And what may be even more troubling than the wasting of a pro’s time is the hours of exposure to fumes and chemicals, which could lead to serious health problems. Not all Cherry pros have left their salon job entirely (although many have), but the digital platform does allow them the opportunity to cut back and create a schedule that works for them.
“[Cherry pros] get to have the freedom and flexibility they deserve,” said Amber at an event last December. “They’ll also be compensated in a really fair and transparent way.” Technicians keep 100 percent of the tips they make, and though they don’t get paid on an hourly basis, the company attests that their pros typically make 2.5 times the mean hourly wage (according to BLS data for Dallas as of May 2017).
Most technicians describe their experience working with Cherry as akin to being an Uber or Lyft driver. They get to set their own schedule while the Cherry works to ensure appointments are only within a few miles of one another.
Here, we caught up with three Cherry pros (Angela, Nelly, and Zanbria) to learn about their experience with the Dallas-based platform.
The OG Cherry pro had recently stopped doing nails when Cherry CEO Aaron Coats recruited her on LinkedIn last September. Angela was working full-time as a fourth grade English teacher and had given up her job at Bellacures due to scheduling conflicts. “I’d get off at 4pm and most salons close at 6pm,” says Angela. “I might get one client, and with one commission, it just wasn’t beneficial.”
Aaron described the Cherry’s concept of connecting clients and technicians, who all receive proper background checks, and Angela became the platform’s first independent nail pro. “The best part is that I could work close to where I lived, the commission and tips were high, and everything is at home and waterless, so it takes less time,” says Angela. “Plus, I just really enjoy doing nails.”
The most popular time blocks for a Cherry booking are between 10am and 2pm or 6pm and 8pm, the latter of which is when Angela, who still works full-time as a teacher, does most of her bookings. “My peak time is usually when mothers have just put their kids down,” says Angela. “I’ve really come to enjoy those appointments. If I get paid to have an adult conversation and to work — that’s a win, win.”
Two months ago, a handful of Nelly’s MiniLuxe coworkers gave her the heads up about Cherry. “I messaged them and told them I’d heard great things,” recalls Nelly. “They called me down for an interview and to perform a manicure — that’s how I got started.”
Nelly still works for Miniluxe as well as being an independent contractor for Cherry, through which she books about two or three services a day on Sundays or Mondays. “We go out on a lot of events which I love,” says Nelly. “The clients, they’re always so nice and appreciative for us coming to them.”
Zanbria, a student earning her esthetician license and the mother of a seven-year-old and one-year-old, has been working with Cherry since January. “It’s been great. I was working at a salon and with Cherry, but I just found Cherry to be a little more convenient with my schedule,” says Zanbria, who left her salon job after about two months working with the Dallas-based app. “I’m not being micromanaged and I can take time off when needed—it’s just better for me all-around.”
The nail tech has at least one client each day, usually after school, and books three or four jobs on days she dedicates to Cherry. “For me, the most liberating thing is scheduling,” says Zanbria. “I’m always going—I can always plan my work schedule around whatever I need to do in life. I’ve truly been able to discover Dallas working for Cherry.”