Meet the Partners: How David James bounced back from the pandemic using Fresha’s contactless payments




Business owner and Fresha partner David Karvasales fell in love with the hair and beauty industry aged just 17, after cutting hair for his friends in his backyard. He started out renting a chair in 2010, then opened his first salon in Marin, California in 2012. Since then, a salon in San Francisco in 2014 followed, and his first dedicated barbershop, JAMES, in 2020. 

His passion for local artistry, excellent customer service and allowing his clients to be their “best selves every day” have earned his highly regarded reputation throughout California and beyond.

We spoke with David to find out the secrets of his success and how Fresha's free appointment scheduling software has helped him achieve his goals. He reflected on the last few years and how his client base has changed as he expanded. 

"The clientele has gone from a large majority of male clients to being a premier salon for all. With Covid, we faced tough times, but thankfully our clients have returned in masses to save us."

Managing multiple locations has meant finding and maintaining a team of talented stylists he could trust. David found allowing a certain amount of independence has attracted the best team members who can hone their skills. He said:"Every person that we hire is equally or more skilled than myself. I allow lots of freedom creatively and idealistically to help shape our business."


After trying out a few booking systems, he found Fresha. The fact that it's an online booking system with integrated payments made it a no-brainer.

"I was first attracted [to Fresha] by its interface and easy usability. Once a payment system was added, it was the clear choice for our business as it allowed for a one-stop experience.

Fresha is the Tesla of salon software - they have an answer and solution for every question, provide great value, and constantly get better and innovate."

With many guidelines put in place by government and health authorities, many businesses had to adapt their policies and ways of working. 

David James uses Fresha’s cancellation fees feature to prevent no-shows; when clients book with the salon they are asked to confirm the appointment with their card details, which then are securely saved on file. Once the appointment is completed, the payment can be taken directly from the saved card, reducing the need for extra touchpoints. Clients don’t even need to take their cards out of their wallets to pay! David said:

"It’s safe to say using the confirm with card feature was reason enough to switch to Fresha. The yearly savings alone from no-show appointments or last-minute cancellations can cost thousands of dollars, and now I can use that money to pay nearly all of my utilities every year!"

With energy costs on the rise, that's welcome news for all salon owners.


Maintaining client relationships during the pandemic wasn’t easy for many business owners. With so many business closures and feelings of uncertainty, David used Fresha’s blast campaigns to keep his clients in the loop, which paid off once they could announce a reopening date. 

"Blast message marketing was wildly successful for us during the pandemic. Fresha’s marketing blasts were essential to keep in touch with our clients, and once we were open, bookings skyrocketed after our first email blast! It was the best money I could have spent."

There are many features within Fresha that can benefit your business. For David, the combination of organic and direct marketing keeps new clients coming in and loyal clients coming back: "Fresha has been a game-changer with the available options for touchless payments, seamless and integrated bookings, and fantastic direct marketing campaigns."

David also takes advantage of Fresha’s online product store, offering a dedicated online retail section on his website for his clients to buy a hand-selected range of hair products alongside booking their next appointment. 


We’ve all learned a lot over the last few years. When we asked the David for his number 1 tip for business owners moving forward, he spoke about the need to stay humble in times of adversity:"Continue to show the appreciation you feel right now as your clients return, and maintain that gratitude for the rest of your career."

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