Many women set or arrange their hair every morning. If you are one such person, have you ever had trouble deciding what to do with your hair, and then felt discouraged the whole day because you couldn't do it the way you wanted? I'm sure you always want to start your day off right, don't you? If possible, you want to be the best you can be! We are working hard to commercialize a service called "michor" that will make these wishes a reality. Today, I will tell you about our development journey for michor.
A desire to make hair arrangement more fun!
Recently, interest in hair arrangement has been very strong, and when you search for such videos on YouTube, you can find many that exceed 100,000 views. Unfortunately, while a lot of information is available on hair arrangement, not everyone is able to arrange their hair satisfactorily every time.
In fact, when we conducted internal interviews, there were many women who wanted to arrange their hair more often. However, many indicated that they have had negative experiences, with comments such as "I failed," "It takes time," or "Somehow it didn't work out."
While information on hair arrangement can be easily obtained from magazines, or videos, we found that there are several points that can easily lead to frustration. In order to arrange hair neatly, you must practice many times to get the knack of it, you have to check it carefully as you go along, and you must adjust the hair while checking the back using mirrors in front and behind.
Therefore, we thought that providing a hands-free mirror that allowed viewing of the back of the head would provide a situation where women could enjoy arranging their hair quickly and without any disappointment.
In addition, by upgrading the service using a dedicated smartphone app, we would like to provide an environment where women can receive personalized advice from a professional hairdresser for improving their hair arrangements. We are developing a service that can bring together customers and hairdressers in a supportive community space.
Taking on the challenge of a new industry in order to meet newly discovered needs
We have been involved in the development of network security cameras. Although we know all about cameras and networks, in every other area we are complete novices. For this project we are taking on the challenging world of beauty, which is a completely new industry to us, and our lack of knowledge in this field has been the most difficult thing.
We began by visiting about 20 hair establishments, including hair salons and hair arrangement classrooms. We gathered information from the professional's perspective, such as the value of checking the hair from behind and the things that customers have trouble with when arranging their own hair. What we discovered was that there is a need for michor not only among regular customers, but also among hairstylists working in salons. This is true especially in a beauty salon that operates with a small number of staff, such as when showing a customer how to do a hair arrangement, or when the stylist needs to show the customer the finished arrangement. Customers need to be able to see the back of the arrangement easily.
Another thing we are looking at is the possibility of community creation centered on hair arrangement and beauty. In most cases the only contact with a hairdresser or hair salon comes when the customer visits once every few months. We found out from hairdressers and salons that they are very interested in having online communication with customers, and want to go beyond the basic service of arranging the back of a hairstyle. Moreover, we believe that this would be beneficial for customers as well. Unlike the more common individual coaching areas like dieting and learning English, there is not much opportunity to get personal instruction from a hair arrangement professional.
We concluded that our michor service could be used for connecting customers and professionals, and creating communities. In addition, we interviewed teenagers and women in their early 20s, as the groups are most interested in hair arranging and setting.
With Students from Aso College Group
We formed a Panasonic focus group consisting of seven vocational students from the Aso College Group. By interviewing them multiple times about their daily hair-related activities, we were able to ascertain the values and sentiments of this target group and further improve our understanding. Of course, we actively conducted interviews inside Panasonic as well. We talked to women of various ages, and identified hair issues faced by each age group. As a result, we are convinced that michor has even greater possibilities.
Now we have the support of many people!
Today, although this project is being advanced by a team of two, many people have taken an interest in this project and they sometimes offer us support. Thanks to the engineers who created the technical prototypes in the early stages, we were able to get feedback from hair salons and target users by letting them try these mockups.
Thanks to the many colleagues who introduced us to their hairdressers, we were able to visit a large number of beauty salons. Hairdressers have also responded to our questions very sincerely, and they told us many things that have been helpful. Panasonic product designers also participated in the design of the michor unit and app user interface. Thanks to their advice and mockups, we were able to come up with a product design that we think target users will want.
With the assistance of many people, we have reached the point where we are today. I would like to offer our heartfelt appreciation to everyone involved.
With engineers who support michor
There are still many more possibilities!
Finally, we have not yet finished envisioning the world we want to create! There are still many areas of daily life where people need to view themselves from behind. For example, when you are trying to find the right hair accessories in a shop, when you are trying to maintain good form in the gym, when you want to see how you look from the back, or when you try on clothes...
Michor opens up new opportunities by letting you see yourself easily from the back! We will continue to do our very best to create a world in which people can effortlessly see themselves this way. Are there any situations where you'd like to check your appearance from the back? Imagine the possibilities!
Special thanks to Aso College Group https://asojuku.ac.jp/