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Shauna-Faith Graham

Case Study 1: I ended a potentially successful business

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After 800 signups and 300 members, I shut it down.

During my free time, I tend to think of unique ideas, sometimes mixing and matching ideas.

It usually starts like this

In my head,

“What do you have a problem with?”

Also, in my head,

“I have a problem with these hair bags. What should I do about it?”

Context

As a woman of color, we wear a variety of colors and styles ranging from our natural curls, to braids, to short buzz cuts, to wigs, to weaves, the list goes on.

In this case, I am referring to hair weaves. Hair weaves can range from $50 to bundle upwards to $300 a bundle, mostly from India, Brazil, and other countries where women and girls grow their hair and cut it to sell or give away for free for religious purposes profited by another company.

So, hair is expensive. And because it is costly, people hold it just in case they want to use it again. Its value is emotional where you can’t let it go at times, simply because you paid almost one month’s car note on it.

So, I created a domain name, www.hairweaveforcash.com, to see if other people had the same problem.

The premise was simple

Who had the same problem (Hair Bags), and what could be an incentive to release the hair without the guilt of the emotional attachment to how much you spend on it (Money).

I did not have a full idea or action plan, but the idea included, what if I buy used hair and possibly resell it.

I created a simple logo, bought the domain, created a site on WordPress, wrote some “potential” ideas of how it can work, and launched.

It was very simple. “WE BUY HAIR”

Since this was in my free time, engagement was limited. I received a few emails that were skeptical of the idea, but the questions helped me how it can potentially evolve.

At the moment, I was servicing a problem, but I did not have any concrete solutions.
I invented some type of flow that can possibly function of a possible solution

  • We Buy Your Hair.
  • We Clean It.
  • ReSell.

After this, more emails of questions started to come in.

Domain Name Winner

The domain name optimized through the catchy phrase and domain name. It landed in the top search results for “Sell Hair” and “Sell My Hair” without me doing any extra SEO.
I chose the domain that people would usually google even though it was random. Hair Weave For Cash is pretty straightforward. Not knowing this, there were hundreds of people interested in this.

The idea was simply unique with little competition.

The next phase included offering a better call to action since emails started to flow a bit more. I believed the feedback would drive the idea. I upgraded the landing page for feedback and questions, essentially creating a questionnaire to figure out what they want. This turned out to be a success as it amassed over 800 sign-ups without any advertising or marketing. So, this is what I found out.

Donations
Some people just what to give to someone else but not throw it in the garbage, debunking my theory, t

Shops Closing
A few shops that were going out of business had an influx of products.

Some Money
Some people wanted some money for their loss. Not a lot, but something.

I was able to respond to people to answer their questions, but it was more so the same philosophy, just expanded it a bit. After the many signs ups, I put up a”We are shutting down statement” to deal with the responses I currently had to get to the drawing board.

I was able to respond to people to answer their questions, but it was more so the same philosophy, just expanded it a bit.

After the signs ups, I put up a “We shutting down Statement.” to deal with the responses I currently had to get to the drawing board.

Co-Founder Interest
Someone from California reached out and admired the idea and wanted to join. It was just me at the time and said yes, and told her the truth of the progress and working on a viable business model.

She was cool with that. We set up meetings and talked about goals. It was good to bounce ideas back and forth.

Personal Values
vs. Personal Gain

The questions were overwhelming, and I could not respond fast enough. I tapped into my values, which included creating systems through automation and running itself. I decided the viable business model would be a Buy and Sell marketplace.

Users would submit their products for potential buyers to purchase. There was no other hair market that did that.

Domain Name Winner

The domain name optimized through the catchy phrase and domain name. It landed in the top search results for “Sell Hair” and “Sell My Hair” without me doing any extra SEO.
I chose the domain that people would usually google even though it was random. Hair Weave For Cash is pretty straightforward. Not knowing this, there were hundreds of people interested in this.

The idea was simply unique with little competition.

The next phase included offering a better call to action since emails started to flow a bit more. I believed the feedback would drive the idea. I upgraded the landing page for feedback and questions, essentially creating a questionnaire to figure out what they want. This turned out to be a success as it amassed over 800 sign-ups without any advertising or marketing. So, this is what I found out.

Donations
Some people just what to give to someone else but not throw it in the garbage, debunking my theory, t

Shops Closing
A few shops that were going out of business had an influx of products.

Some Money
Some people wanted some money for their loss. Not a lot, but something.

I was able to respond to people to answer their questions, but it was more so the same philosophy, just expanded it a bit. After the many signs ups, I put up a”We are shutting down statement” to deal with the responses I currently had to get to the drawing board.

I was able to respond to people to answer their questions, but it was more so the same philosophy, just expanded it a bit.

After the signs ups, I put up a “We shutting down Statement.” to deal with the responses I currently had to get to the drawing board.

Co-Founder Interest
Someone from California reached out and admired the idea and wanted to join. It was just me at the time and said yes, and told her the truth of the progress and working on a viable business model.

She was cool with that. We set up meetings and talked about goals. It was good to bounce ideas back and forth.

Personal Values
vs. Personal Gain

The questions were overwhelming, and I could not respond fast enough. I tapped into my values, which included creating systems through automation and running itself. I decided the viable business model would be a Buy and Sell marketplace.

Users would submit their products for potential buyers to purchase. There was no other hair market that did that.

Fashion Modeling is UX Design

By Travel
It is hard for freelancers to organize their money.  I wanted to save a percentage from everything that I made. The idea of Lixot is similar to Digit. Digit automatically debits money from your account, without telling the exact amount. It can range form 2 cents to $25.  They would never overdraft from your account.  Automation works and it is more productive, consistent, and it allows one to think about other things.

I also use Acorns.  Acorns, allows you to invest automatically diversified across 7,000 stocks and bonds to help improve your return while reducing risk. I love these apps because money and investing are important to planning a future.  However, Lixot it different.  I consider it a tithe automation payment to self.

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How To Brand, Build, and Expand : Vissa Studios

By Travel
Ideation for Vissa Studios came in 2008. At the time, there were a few online resources online for hair. Working with my partner, assistant, writer, and more Ronnie Williams and Chelca owner, Chuck Williams, vissastudios.com launched in 2009.

The name came from no where. It was made up. At the time I had no clue what it would be. Maybe it was a hair salon, or a hair product, or a hair brand. We used this name to eventually cross band with everything, whichever direction we thought it would go.

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Alldame : Why Shooting Underrepresented Women is Important

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Starting photographer from 2010 until now has been an interesting journey. To build a modeling portfolio, you need to pay a really good photographer to shoot you, do Time For Print photos with mediocre photographers, or wait until tearsheets of magazines would come out to use for their portfolio. Or you can just be lucky and have renowned photographers shoot.

However, I needed practice and I thought is would be cheaper to get a camera and to shoot my own photos for my portfolio. I shot my friends and family. I can say I sucked, but it became my latest addiction.

Mettle Me : How To Mettle Through Design Pivots

By Travel

It was 2006 when I really started to think about startups.  And it wasn’t until 2008, I started to build my first social startup, Mettle Me.

Ideation for Mettle Me started in 2008.  My plan was to create a marketplace for emerging designers.  I was exiting the beauty world as a model and I loved the idea of wearing unique fashions by independent designers.  At that time, I only knew of a few places where people can sell their own designs including Ebay, Moxie, and the up-and-coming startup Etsy.  It was the same idea, but I wanted it to be exclusive to emerging designers and fashion.  At the time, I could not find any marketplace platforms or white labels I can use to create for a minimal viable product, so I had to build from scratch.

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2016 Top 100 Visionary Leaders To Watch

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New Year, new views, new plans.   I would like to thank Innov8tiv for adding me to their 2016 Top 100 List Visionary Women Leaders To Watch.  A friend, who is also on the list, told a few days it was released.  Will shall see what 2016 will bring, I am feeling positive about it.

Hair Decoded has been a funded project I have been working on for the past two years. With a new team on board as well as new designs, I can’t wait for it to relaunch in 2017

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Girls Who Code in Using Prototyping Tools

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Girls Who Code is a non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology. With the 40,000 girls regionally and growing, I have been excited to be apart of their 7-week summer programs for 10th-11th grade girls to learn 
coding and get exposure to tech jobs.

As a speaker for both New York City and Newark, New Jersey, my lesson included solving a problem by creating an web/mobile app with the best UX and storytelling practices using the latest Wireframes & Prototyping Planning Tools.

Using Hair Decoded as an example of developing an idea, I created an outline to help students bring their ideas from paper to prototype using industry standard tools like Balsamiq and Invision App.

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Building A Community Using Meet Up For Start Up Yoga

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