Hohepa Rutene, owner of Boar and Blade, talked to us about why he loves what he does and how he came to be running a very cool, successful business with three locations across New Zealand.How did Boar and Blade get to where it is today?
Boar and Blade was founded by Brendan Blake in 2013. He started the business in Wellington and, at the time, was accepting walk-ins, but also started writing names down in a book. He soon realised that he needed a booking system to keep up with demand so he chose to sign up with Kitomba.
In 2017, I took over the business, which included both our Wellington and Ponsonby, Auckland locations. A year later, the opportunity of an amazing new location presented itself, I looked into it and realised we had to go for it. Although it can be tough to decide whether to take this kind of leap, I knew the location was an untapped market and if we hadn’t done it, then someone else would have.
What does Boar and Blade provide to its clients?
We offer men’s grooming services along with a great client experience. But it’s really our culture that sets us apart from the rest. We have such a good bunch of lads, who all get along really well, which makes it feel like we’re a group of friends working together. So when a client walks into Boar and Blade, they can feel that camaraderie and it creates the kind of atmosphere where everyone feels welcome.<
What has driven you to build such a successful business?
I think it’s mainly down to the fact that it doesn’t feel like I’m going to work everyday. I just enjoy what I do and I’m so lucky to work with such a good group of guys. I get to meet people from all walks of life. It not only keeps the job interesting, but I’ve also made lifelong friends with some of my clients.
I also like that I receive gratification at the end of every service. After a client has sat in my chair, I can see that they feel happy and good about themselves and that’s awesome.
Being in this industry is just so fun too, I don’t think I could ever be bored and that’s a big factor.
"After a client has sat in my chair, I can see that they feel happy and good about themselves and that's awesome."
How does Kitomba help you manage your three barbershops?
Kitomba is hugely important in managing the business and plays a massive role in how we operate. We run almost entirely from online booking, so without that feature we couldn’t operate the way we want to. It’s really easy for our clients to use and easy for us to accept bookings.
When you own a business, it’s really important to have software with great reporting to keep track of numbers, like client retention, and also see what your staff are doing. I also really like that I can give my staff access to Kitomba 1 so they can view their appointments for the day and track their progress towards their targets.
What are the Kitomba features you couldn’t live without?
My favourite feature is definitely online booking, it’s just the best feature ever! Back when I started as a hairdresser in 2013, we were using a different software system that didn’t have online booking and it just took so much time out of our day. Now with Kitomba we don’t have to spend time on the phone and the bookings just come through.
Kitomba’s online vouchers feature is really cool too. It’s become really popular with our clients, especially for birthdays, Father’s Day and Christmas. It’s so easy for people to buy them, then it’s all tracked in Kitomba and simple for them to redeem.
When New Zealand was told the hair and beauty industry could reopen, you received a huge influx of bookings. How did Kitomba help you through this?
Having Kitomba was a huge help! It meant we didn’t have to sit down, take calls and make over 800 bookings. Our clients just logged into online booking and found appointment times that suited them. It was just so convenient and easy.
Kitomba also made it really easy to manage our teams rosters and hours to manage all the bookings we were receiving.
Would you recommend Kitomba and why?
We 100% recommend Kitomba. It’s so easy to use, it saves us so much time in the shop. It saves our clients time too, as they can book online then just turn up and even check out quickly. Overall it just makes life easier.
I also want to say a massive thanks to you guys at Kitomba for all the help you give us.