Founder Friday: The Story of Our Swim Cap Revolution!
Hey Hairbrella Family,
I hope you all had a great week! As promised, I'm taking you guys behind the scenes of our newest innovation: the Hairbrella Swim Cap.
Did you know that Benjamin Franklin invented the original swim cap in the early 18th century? I didn't either and there's some debate about that. But supposedly, he created it to combat the drag that slowed him down while swimming. However, as practical as this invention was, it certainly wasn't designed with the modern woman (or hair protection) in mind .
Much like the traditional rain bonnets, swim caps just never worked for me. Too tight, uncomfortable, and ill-fitting. But the worst part? They weren't adjustable.
When developing our flagship Classic Rain Hat back in 2015 , it baffled me how we wouldn't step in the shower without a shower cap, but thought a flimsy plastic bonnet or umbrella would suffice to protect hair in the suffice.
Our hair's fundamental need in the shower/rain/humidity: complete insulation.
Our hair's fundamental need when submerged: complete insulation + a secure seal around our heads to keep water out.
If any hat on the planet should be adjustable, it is a swim cap!
Searching for a truly adjustable swim cap online, I came up empty-handed. (At this point, I'm pretty-convinced a higher power blinded thousands of intelligent people to this problem just so I could solve it and create the first unicorn consumer product brand founded by a black inventor (more on this later) 🙏🏽. It’s a wild theory, but it seems so obvious, right? 😆)
Not the bayang! 😆 This is what I found when searching "adjustable swim cap" - I loved the fashion element of this one, but I was pretty sure it wasn't designed to protect hair.
So, I got to work following the same three steps I always take when developing a new Hairbrella hero product:
1. Research the market: Bought all the top swim caps on Amazon and read hundreds of reviews. I also talked to dozens of Hairbrella customers about what they'd like to see in a Hairbrella Swim Cap.
2. Research google patents for swim caps: Scoured patents to ensure I wasn't infringing on anyone's intellectual property and to identify what worked (and perhaps didn't) in the past.
3. Create a prototype: Got my hands on some waterproof fabrics from my favorite jobber in Decatur, whipped out the fabric glue, safety pins, and scissors, and got crafting. The result? A patchwork creation lovingly dubbed "the Frankenstein" by Hoda Malacane, who’s helped bring many Hairbrella products to life.
Hoda - the prototyping and development queen! 👑
So that's how it all begins! How we go from concept to prototype. Stay tuned for next week's edition where we'll delve into the iteration and testing process - it's quite the adventure!
And hey, if you have a friend looking to develop their own product, do them a favor and forward this to them. Invite them to join our Facebook group, too. I'm always excited to share my journey in hopes that it inspires or empowers someone else on their journey.
PS: Our Swim Caps are launching to the public this weekend! Be sure to get yours before they sell out!
Thank you for being a part of this journey, Hairbrella fam! Can't wait to see you next Friday.