“E.Y.C.S.” SALON REIMAGINED 2018

Submission for the annual L'Oréal Brandstorm innovation competition. Completed with the fabulous Kaila Lee and Chloe (Tzu-Ying) Wu.

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Over Winter Break in 2017, my friend Chloe Wu invited me and fellow designer Kaila Lee to join her in submitting a pitch for the annual L'Oréal Brandstorm innovation competition. The competition was held to generate consumer-centric digital ideas that keeps in mind market, value, long-term profitability, and sustainability. For 2018, the project brief was as follows: Create a breakthrough innovation for professional salons to attract, engage millennials, and increase hairdressers’ loyalty by leveraging new services, digital solutions and connected technologies


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The idea

E.Y.C.S. stands for “Evolution You Can See“. Our group wanted to create a product that can simulate how hair styles change over time, taking into account personal habits and environmental factors.


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Interviews

Our team decided to incorporate design thinking to approach the case. We kicked off by individually interviewing friends and family members about their hair salon experiences. We decided to complete interviews prior to doing online research to approach professional information with the right mindset. We asked interviewees to walk us through their last salon experience, share their thoughts, likes, dislikes, what they'd change, and recount their favorite/ least favorite salon experience.

Discussing our results, we noted some common pain-points. Interviewees pointed out their fear of getting a haircut that didn’t match expectations; they felt that they had a different beauty standard than hair stylists. They also wanted to know how to maintain hairstyles and understand how hairstyle would evolve over time to ensure they could recreate the style intended by hair stylists. Interviewees also appreciated good conversations and relaxing ambiance.

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Research and initial ideation

Based on the interview results, we completed some initial ideation. Ideas included creating an app that could provide history of hairstyles, database-based personalization support (such as drink preferences and basic background information), big data to simulate how hair would evolve under different conditions.

We also mapped out the user journey to organize pain-points of each phase and analyze how our ideas would come into play in different phases.

With interview results to put us in the right mindset, we conducted some online research to note what had been done and the direction the industry was going towards. We found out that some ideas were already explore and on the market. “Style My Hair” app by L'Oréal could create mock-up of hair styles with filters and track past/future appointments at L'Oréal-branded salons. “Pro Fiber” app had questionnaires to analyze hair conditions taking into account data such as weekly routine. A smart hairbrush monitored hair conditions with sensors, microphones, info-graphics, and mobile-connection. A smart mirror at salons used AR for clients to virtually try different styles“


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Further ideation and finalization

Keeping in mind research results and judging criteria, we conducted a further round of ideation. We explored concepts such as loyalty programs, in-home styling assistance, Pinterest-style app for AR facefilters to save inspirations.

In the end, we all agreed that one idea best matched needs identified in the research: combining big data and input from smart devices to simulate and display hair evolution via AR. We realized that there were a great amount of new technologies that could be combined to create a new generation hair salon experience.

We would use the Kérastase Hair Coach by Withings brush to take into account all factors of the hair. Combining with big data, our algorithm would be able to simulate how the particular client’s hair would evolve based on his/her hair conditions, personal habits, and environmental factors. A Panasonic Smart Mirror would showcase results of the simulation using AR. While the user looks at the simulation, the hairstylist could adjust the color, curliness, and length using a tablet connected to the smart mirror. Upon completion of the haircut, the algorithm would generate recommendations on maintaining the hairstyle utilizing on the same data.


Final Pitch

We condensed our idea into 3 slides for submission. Kaila created a mockup of the smart mirror, Chloe brainstormed marketing tactics to accompany the idea, while I took charge of the slidedeck layout and visual design. Although we weren’t selected to enter the next round, we all learnt a significant lot during the research process. In the end, it was a rare opportunity to conduct design work for a field other than web and apps.

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