See the original story in Japanese.
An increasing number of online services for beauticians and hair salons are emerging. Good examples include Minimo, Mixi’s search engine for hairdressing models, and Coupe that helps beauticians find their hairdressing models. I’d like to introduce a new service called Hairstudy, which has recently rolled out a new interface.
- Japanese service matches novice hairdressers with those who need a cut
- Japan’s Coupe helps beauticians find hairdressing models online
More than 3,000 beauticians are learning
Since its launch back in June 2011, Hairstudy has been offering beauticians with an online video-based hairstyling learning platform. Premium plans for individual users are reasonably available from 2,500 yen to 3,700 yen (about $20 to $30), so it receives a lot of support from beauticians based in rural areas and self-employed beauticians who are likely to have less opportunities to attend a seminar to learn new hairstyling techniques. Gradually growing a user base, the service has acquired over 3,000 beauticians from about 1,500 salons in Japan.
The platform has over 120 uploaded case study videos and received more than 1.5 million views from users so far. Typical use cases include junior stylists watching these videos in the back room or during a commute to prepare for their after-hour technique training, as well as beauty salon chains offering it for their employees as an educational platform. There are also Japanese beauticians based in the U.S. or Australia using the platform to keep up with the latest hairstyle trend in Japan.
Poised for global expansion
The purposes of the new interface roll-out are for optimizing the Hairstudy platform for browsing on multiple devices including smartphones as well as multilingualization preparing for global expansion. Beauticians have to work long hours and are busy for attending seminars even after their business hours or when they have a day off work. In order for these busy beauticians to use the service leveraging their spare time, all functions including payments in the app are designed as simple as possible for intuitive operations. We were told that they have an increasing number of users from beauticians in Southeast Asia, Korea and Taiwan as well as Japanese beauticians working outside Japan.
Prior to launching Hairstudy, Kenichi Kamata, CEO of the platform’s operator Akubi, had been previously working as a sales representative at a beauty product company, after being a beautician after graduating from a vocational school.
He explained about what prompted him to launch the platform:
Many beauticians quit their jobs, and I heard that one of the reasons why they do so is the lack of opportunities to learn hairstyling techniques. Hence, I thought things could be driven more readily using online videos which started becoming vibrant at that time. Since I myself used to be a beautician, I rediscovered how fascinating that job is after I quit. So I wanted to help beauticians see their job as awesome before they give up.
Japanese hairstyling techniques are highly reputed
Kamata asserted that the skill level of Japanese beauticians is the highest in the world so their techniques are often imitated by beauticians outside Japan. For example, as beauticians in Korea are very interested in attending seminars, many of them are eager to learn the skills of well-known beauticians in Tokyo.
Upon roll-out at this time, Akubi plans to add more content for hair coloring or perming, with more designed ones for assistant beauticians and salon owners. They aim to acquire 10,000 premium users in Japan and Southeast Asia. It will be interesting to see how the company helps improve the techniques of beauticians around the world.
Translated by Kenji Hayakawa via Conyac crowdsourced translation service
Edited by Masaru Ikeda and “Tex” Pomeroy