My Role: UX Team of 1
Duration: Ongoing


Responsive Squarespace site, research findings, personas, branding guide, sitemap


In 2011, barber Michael Santillanes started going to salons to teach hairstylists the art of barbering. He came to me in need of a website and a branding strategy.

Problem: I conducted my research. I found that hairstylists are sending clients away because they could not effectively fade men's hair. How might we create a product to make hairstylists comfortable fading men’s hair?

Solution: We developed WORKSHOPS by Michael Barbering — Fade The Fear Away. We offer hands-on barbering workshops for hair stylists at your salon. Students will be able to give consultations, fade hair, and style men's hair. 

Result: Up 54.5% unique visitors from LY & a ton of new gigs — including one with Vidal Sassoon’s daughter.






phase 1


Obsess over the problem, not the solution.
I went into the field to identify user pain points.

Michael Barbering Site Visit Contextual Inquiry

Ethnographic Research + Interviews 

Michael's workshops were held at his clients’ salons.  In order to find user pain points, I needed to understand why it was that stylists were struggling to cut men's hair. I also wanted to understand salon owner's goals were in booking these appointments. 

Michael Barbering Spreadsheet Example


Shop owners and students were given different surveys, as these are two different user groups. Surveys were passed out both before the workshop and after. I wanted to identify what the student's 3 main goals were before the class and which of the 3 were addressed during the class. 

Results were organized on a spreadsheet. 


Minimum Viable Findings

  • Hair stylists had significant opportunities in giving fades. They went to school for hair, cut they don't teach students how to use clippers.

  • Top 3 goals for students: (1) giving the consultation, (2) fading, and (3) styling men's hair.

  • Salon owners were willing to invest in their stylists. ($$$)

  • Students did not come prepared with a paper and pen.

  • Students didn't know which tools to buy.


Persona Development

MB already has an established user base; we are calling him Jay. Jay gets his haircut every 2 weeks.

We are introducing Edna.

Edna owns a salon and notices here stylists are losing money because they are turning away male clients. 

San Jay Persona.png
Edna Persona.png


phase 2


One thing was clear: there was a product/market fit. We sought out to solve a singular problem: teach hair stylists how to fade 


Problems, Goals, Solutions

Because users shared the same problems (pain points), this matrix was the most effective way to start brainstorming solutions.

MB Problems Solutions Goals.png

Site Map

I had to consider that Michael's business did not only consist of his educational workshops, but we was a full-time barber as well.

His users were used to a singular way to book their appointments; it was critical not to disrupt this process. 

Michael Barbering Sitemap.png

phase 3


Creating the foundations of a local brand with big impact.


Mood Boards

As a true creative with lots of ideas, it was challenging to identify what kind of brand identity Michael wanted.

Three mood boards were created, and the client ended up going with the 1st pitch: natural, raw, supportive, and honest.


Pitch 1: Development

It was fitting that Michael went with pitch one. Michael's student's praised his supportiveness and honestly. This natural organic approach found its way into WORKSHOP's branding. 


Final Result?


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