When Evgeny Saveliev was helping clients move from Europe to China to teach English, the first thing he had to do was schedule a call with them.
It became a cumbersome process to manually book those calls and he found that customizable booking systems were rare.
That’s the niche he’s working on with Okeh (oak-EH, like the Canadian Eh).
One of the first areas they looked at was the aesthetics industry. Whether it was a cut and colour, or highlights, short hair or long, clients had different needs and it was hard to put them all into a set time.
Saveliev’s system is tailored to each individual company, based on the services they offer, the time it takes and even by the individual client.
“Our idea was always to be customizable,” he said.
“We’re trying to not put any limits.”
Like so many other businesses, he too was impacted by COVID-19. When restrictions were put on salons, he realized that it was important to branch out and discover where else this could be applicable. That put him into a bit of a discovery mode.
He looked at everything from online coaches, tutors, consultants – anyone who might need an online, customized scheduler.
The Ukraine-born Saveliev moved to Canada eight years ago. Growing up, he was always dreaming up ideas on how to start a business.
When he was 16, he played basketball. He started designing shirts with basketball brand designs on them. Then he got into basketball shoes. It was hard to find a good pair of court shoes in Europe.
Later on, before the likes of Lime and Bird, Saveliev started a rent shop for electric scooters.
“I always was trying to be some kind of entrepreneur,” he said.
Custom scheduling for businesses
The Okeh system is set up for specific clients. In the case of a salon, the salon owner can have the system set up to immediately block off a certain time based on the type of service.
It could be haircut, colour, nails done, and the expected time of the service would be laid into the scheduler automatically. Tailor it even further for regular customers; perhaps it takes a little longer to get through someone’s mane. The Okeh scheduler can also combine services.
Clients can log into the system through a link and choose their own appointment time.
Saveliev said it even works in setting it up if you have multiple employees who provide different services. One recent client, he said, had 38 services to build into the system.
“(The scheduler) can tell you how much time it will take,” he said.
“Right now, it’s all on (the business owner), and they don’t always offer a specific amount of time.”
Period of discovery
Saveliev said the Junction program with Platform Calgary has given him the latitude to look at how this system could be applied to specific industries.
He’s been meeting with people to ask them how a system like this would fit into their business world.
“Now, I understand their psychology better,” he said.
“I’m using that data to be able to say where we are going.”
He said there are several systems out there that provide bits and pieces of what Okeh offers. Saveliev is hoping to dig into that ideal clientele and provide them specific solutions for their business.
“We’re trying to meet with our customers to create these unique features,” he said.
“We want them to be faster, be better than the current solutions.”
He said scheduling is a big market.
“The question is, what part of that market fits us and fits them,” Saveliev said.