Flair. Hairstyling on-demand

When I joined Flair, a newly funded venture, I was asked to validate the product idea – an on-demand service for people who need an hairdresser.
Learning from the feedback I gathered, the team reframed the opportunity and collaborated with a diverse pool of professionals, hairdressers and potential clients to understand the context better before moving forward.

With expert input and a range of research and ideation methods, our team proposed and validated a revised product vision.

Year & location

2015 - London, UK

Category of work

Service Design, Strategic Design, UX Design

Team composition

Service Designers [x2], Product Owner, Developer

Tailoring a service around people

In London, thousands of people rely on mobile hairstylists, who conveniently provide hairdressing services in the comfort of their clients’ domestic environment.

Just as Uber revolutionized the landscape of transportation with the aid of modern technology, Flair wanted to explore the opportunity of developing a digital product to extend on-demand mobile hairstyling to anybody.
The preliminary validation tests confirmed the assumption that potential customers would be reluctant to allow a stranger into their home. 
In order to fully understand the context we decided to undergo further research; teaming up with a second Service Designer, I devised and facilitated three ideation workshops. Considering market and desk research insights’ and tapping from the precious expertise of domain specialists who attended our sessions, we spotted a range of opportunities in the hairstyling industry.

We learned that hairstyling is deeply linked to many aspects of human nature – for example, people tend to have a haircut when approaching a big change in life. The relational component of this interaction is even more important in the domestic environment in which mobile hairstylists operate.

After considering a wide range of visions, our team decided to focus on ‘Providing a tailored on-demand service that matches users’ needs with mobile-hairdressers’ skills and personality’.

Considering our two distinct audiences - mobile hairdressers and their clients – had very different needs, we used a range of techniques to define the idea in detail.

I conducted several in-person interviews and shadowed a mobile hairdresser while she was at clients’ home to style their hair. By investing time in qualitative research, I learned that for each audience there were clear subsets of personas with very different needs: for instance, full time mobile hairdressers are happy to travel across the city to get to their clients, while part timers would rather not to.

Designing a features sorting excercise allowed the team to understand what was important to our users, and prioritise the service components accordingly - whether this meant developing an appointment scheduler for stylist or assessing what hair-care products Flair should provide.

We then went on exploring different business models – as an example, we considered a ‘monthly subscription’ for haircare services – we tested multiple pricing options and prototyped the service using low fidelity prototypes – ensuring that the revised business idea was fully validated.

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