The inspiration for this idea originated from the embarrassing admission, that I actually clip and style my own hair. And have done for 20 years.
The problem I am solving:
On Tuesday 24th March 2020, whilst in lockdown, I was styling my hair as usual and immediately had a light bulb moment.
The whole world at large will be unable to have any form of professional hair and/or beauty styling treatments as we #stayhomestaysafe. This means catastrophic damage for a Hair and Beauty industry with a market value of $200b.
Many of my friends who work in this industry are either self-employed or freelancers, which accounts for 50% of the market. They are now really struggling.
In that moment, stuck at home, I realised that I had to try and play my part.
With the limited resources, I had at my disposal, plus some time and a dedication to the cause, I needed to create something very simple, but something that could bring joy to many, create awareness AND provide relief to those in need, resulting from the global impact of COVID-19.
But it was important that this impacted EVERYBODY, not just a few. So I set to work.
I created a short-list of people and organisations that I wanted to help and support:
- Bringing joy to elderly, vulnerable and isolated with a message of hope and love.
- A morale boost for Front Line / Key Workers, who risk their lives, on a daily basis, for you and I.
- Donations for the COVID-19 solidarity response fund and any other charity relief funds, attempting to fight the disease.
- The hair and beauty industry directly.
- The rest of us at home, who may be struggling and feeling helpless, giving each of us a few hours of fun and interactivity. We can all play our part, no matter how small.
Most of all, I just wanted to make people smile.
I believe in simple viral memes across social media but to create one that would resonate with everyone, giving the world an activity that we could all do, is a challenge. An activity that would make everybody feel good, and maybe a little awkward! It’s good to feel awkward and get out of your comfort zone.
A simple idea that can bring so much universal joy to all.
I had always admired the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, as a way to raise money and of course, Movember. Both challenges tackle major health issues.
But COVID-19 is different and time-sensitive and I imagined that this simple idea could resonate with every human alive, today.
So, I considered donating haircuts to haircuts but then realised that this alienates quite a few people. Cutting and colouring your own hair for the first time this is NOT a good idea for anybody.
I needed a broader theme where the before and after would actually inspire, people, rather than the project being nothing more than meme of haircut fails.
So, with the help of my team, we have created a simple platform asks users to conduct a safe and fun, home treatment, by posting before and after pictures and dedicating the transformation, to somebody in need and then, perhaps, if you can spare some change, making a small donation with any money you might have saved, in acknowledgement of the fact that the entire hair and beauty industry is on lockdown and there is simply no money being spent in this direction. Each country has its own way to tackle this but it’s not straightforward and this industry is entering a period of serious hardship.
By having a wide range of makeover categories it allows anybody of any age, to have a go. There's even an option to just do nothing at all and let it grow, similarly to Movember.
What it does
The app is still in being worked on as I started last Tuesday, but I've worked through the day and night. Idea is to keep people connected when isolated with a fun and interactive task, make them feel good about themselves, have fun, make people feel happy across the world, unite each other around something we all care about, our self-care and raise awareness and money for COVID 19.
This little idea does so much good on so many levels.
Select a treatment eg: Manicure. Upload Before and After pictures Dedicate it to your stylist or anybody in alone in isolation, vulnerable, in quarantine or with the virus. Option to donate the usual cost incurred in having this treatment, to a chosen relief fund.
How I built it
PHP, MongoDB, Bootstrap, jQuery, Laravel, Webpack
Challenges I ran into
My challenges are in generating awareness fast and also how to ensure donations are going to the right place and the best way to structure the flow in terms of how to position the campaign for best results.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I'm most proud of the speed of which I and my team have turned an idea in my head into a living breathing platform with early traction. I am so committed to making a big difference and helping the world and I feel that a simple idea such as this can be as important as the really complicated ones.
What I learned
I have learned that ideas that seem simple are often way more complex when you start them.
What's next for Selfie Salon #covidbeauty #stayhomesavelives
Next will be to create a database of salons and freelancers in hair and beauty who can register themselves and the charity they wish to support through donations coming from their clients. Perhaps we could offer styling tools for home, except I did not want to make this profit-making although I have spent so much of my own time and money setting this up, that I really need some hosting support from AWS. Finally, there's the opportunity to create an instant gift-card that enables advanced credit to be forwarded from the client that can be redeemed when the salon re-opens.
PS: Please choose and support us! We will give everything to help COVID charities.
And if there is any part of the idea you wish us to change we are happy to deliver the best for the world!