We gained inspiration for this idea through seeing friends and family with aspirations to share their talents through entrepreneurship struggle to gain exposure through means other than word-of-mouth. Prices of advertising through popular means is not always affordable and these platforms are often dominated by large corporations. Hence, we thought of OpenUp as a possible solution to this issue.
What it does
The solution we presented was based on the market for barbers. Through our market research we found that there are a countless number of barbers that either cut client hair in their own homes, or cut client hair remotely. This type of model is currently uncommon in the field, however much more convenient and effective. In addition, people aren’t always able to find barbers that cut hair the way they desire. Today’s trends involve many different styles of haircuts such as fades and tapers, which some traditional barbers are not able to do, such as those found at barbershops. By using this app, potential customers who desire specific styles of haircuts are able to match up with potential barbers who offer those styles. However, we also want to stress that we want to scale this to other markets as well, and make this an app for small businesses from different industries.
How we built it
We used Firebase to handle Authentication/Login and data hosting, and hence used it handle most of our backend. Our frontend is written in React Native, using Redux, with usage of Firebase-tools to integrate the BaaS aspect of our backend.
Challenges we ran into
Developing and testing proved to be very difficult as both Android Emulator and USB connections required a lot of debugging, patience, and setup time in order to even partially function. Further more, we encountered semi-replicable glitches that we could only find partial solutions for, requiring us to often delete, re-clone, and reinstall the dependencies of our project. Our .gitignore file proved to also function inconsistently, often resulting in git tracking our temporary build files and making commits, pushes, pulls, and merges much more tedious. Lastly, as Firebase was new to all of our team members and only only half of us had experience with React (and none with React-Native), the learning process was quite steep, further reducing the speed of our development process.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Learning new technologies and industry standards/protocols. Stepping very far out of each of our respective comfort zones.
What we learned
What BaaS is and how to use Firebase to handle Authentication and storing data. Dealing with dependency failures during building with React-Native as well as the rigidity of Redux. Using React-Native in general. Feature prioritization and other project management skills.
What's next for OpenUp
OpenUp will continue to expand and cater to different types of small businesses. In addition, there will be more features available to increase user satisfaction.