case study : tradiies community

Sprinting into health & beauty.

Imagine you're a beauty professional: a hair stylist, barber, or an esthetician. How would you go about finding a job? LinkedIn? Indeed? ZipRecruiter? Nope. Try Craigslist. Or worse yet, travel door-to-door and ask. Tradiies holds a conviction to fix this.

image of Tradiies iOS app

my role

Design sprint
System models
Wireframing & testing
Experience design (UX)
Interface design (UI)
Motion prototypes


Responsive web

Careers in the beauty industry have sadly been underrepresented in professional advancement and career tools for too long. There's nothing tailored to them in a way that values them as professionals, artists, and educators.

The Dominguez sisters, April and Nikki, met with me and the Mighty team with nothing more than an idea; a mission really, to empower beauty professionals equal opportunities to creatively build their careers on their own terms.

I began building a team which included a seasoned UX researcher (based in Austin) and an established development company out of Florida. With the team established, it was time to roll up our sleeves and kickoff sprint week.

The team and I spent five full days in an intensely focused effort to identify a problem, develop a solution, and test it with humans.

Day one, 7:58am.

The sisters had worked to recruit local salon owners which we brought in to interview and map out their current process when hiring a stylist; beginning with the moment they need to hire to the actual paperwork involved. This user map allowed us to visualize their state of mind and business needs.

We also recruited a handful of stylists at various experience levels to map their job-hunting experiences. Where did they begin? What was important to them, what turned them off? How did they ultimately select a salon to apply to and what did that process look like?

In a nutshell — it was chaotic at best. I found myself unconsciously shaking my head at the seemingly endless mountains they had to climb and how archaic they were.

As intended, day one provided us with valuable insights on both sides of the proverbial coin which we'd use to identify where Tradiies could provide immediate value.

Day two, 8:26am.

Day two opened with lots of coffee, fresh fruit, and Post-It notes. We got started by breaking down all our assumptions and shared problems we individually identified from day one, then elevated the most important, while ‘parking’ others for later.

Leading our dot voting activity, the team voted on the most crucial problems in the morning, and in the afternoon, crafted our “how might we” statements. This gave us a framework to contextualize potential solutions we could explore. Ultimately, we landed on the key problem statement of: how might we match stylists with salons and make it seamless for them to submit their portfolios?

How might we match stylists with salons and make it seamless for them to submit their portfolios?

Days begin to blur together…

As day two bled into day three, I encouraged the team to craft  solutions based on how they uniquely saw them. I ran three 10-minute session each focused on a different part of the problem. After that, I helped moderate the critique of everyones ideas, making sure we were narrowing in on an agreed upon solution we could test on Friday.

Day four crashed into us and it was time to start the creating the prototype. While I led the design, it was a co-designed with our engineer to build it in Swift and test it natively.

The proof was in the puddin’.

Finally, it was game day. Friday was here and we ended the jam-packed week by inviting a few of the same people from Monday back (along with a few new people) and our prototype in front of them.

In the morning, we tested with the Director of Operations for a local, independent franchise, as well as the owner of a new high-end boutique that needed to not just hire stylists, but staff an entire salon.

The afternoon we presented our tests to two stylists and observed how they went about created their account, building a portfolio, and applying to an open position.

The sprint was a huge success.

We were able to validate how certain assumptions wound up being successful, but more importantly, where others failed.

Gaining this kind of insight within a week saved Tradiies immeasurable time, money, and resources, while also aligning the entire team on what the MVP should look like.

In the months that followed, I worked directly with Tradiies to establish a plan for managing the digital business behind their app. I collaborated closely with our engineering partner to determine how they would administer the app, deploy updates, view user activity, pull key reports, and also offered recommendations for managing their customer service line.

Designing the MVP.

Our design criteria — empowerment, efficiency, and trust — acted as “bumpers” to ensure we were staying true to what we had learned in the sprint. I reflected on these constantly as I established each flow and feature, as well as the overall design language for the product.

Our target user was a creative individual; every touch-point would need to be fun, visually pleasing, and without waste.

Launch, breathe, & celebrate.

We launched the Tradiies iOS app to the App Store in Q1 2019. While the MVP focused on connecting stylists with salons, the product has continued to evolve post my involvement. Most of this continued progress — adding educational content, peer recognition, and a Q&A forum — stemmed from opportunities we had parked during sprint week.


As with any successful product, it involved a team of talented people:

Jess Lowery, Amanda Smith, Jon Negrini, Elija McPherson-Burke, Jason Garrett, Kay (stylist/barber), Shell (stylist), Dayna (director of operations), and Alisha (salon owner)

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