Design Challenge: Develop and pitch a startup that enages a unique user group and provides an unmet service.

Duration: 16 weeks

Role: Designer/Researcher

Project Overview: Created as a project for my Business of Design: Startup class, Charley is a community for inclusive beauty.

Tools: Sketch, Illustrator

The Project

The beauty industry has gone through a drastic transformation in the past decade. Now we are seeing all different types of people expressing themselves and engaging in the beauty industry, but there is no space that caters to this changing population.


Research Questions

  • How do people of differing genders engage with the beauty industry? 
  • What sort of platforms are being used to learn and connect with other people interested in beauty?
  • How do people share knowledge about beauty products/techniques?
  • Do users feel like they are welcome in preexisting beauty contexts?
  • Do they feel like there is room for their gender expression? Or the gender expression of other people different from them?


Secondary Research

Beauty shoppers rely heavily on influencers and reviews for learning about new beauty products. They also are active social media users. 

Positioning ourselves as both interactive (ie. centering user reviews and user generated content) as well as inclusive, creates a unique market for our product.


Research Findings

Other Considerations:
  • Participants needed to trust the people giving them recomendations. 
  • “I feel like in this current age of influencers and paid reviewers, it’s hard to get genuine recommendations from public figures. I don’t trust anyone who is paid to promote a brand.”
  • Participants felt like the market for gender neutral beauty was growing, but the resources for non female users did not match that. 
  • “There are plenty of products for men to use, there is so little information about how they can and should use them. Where the masc beauty bloggers at?
  • Beauty “gurus” came up multiple times in our interviews, but participants emphasized that they mostly used these for tutorials, not for product recomendations. 
  • “I don’t really care very much about my makeup but if I want to do something specific I’ll usually watch a tutorial on Youtube. But I’ll ask my friends what sorts of products to use first.”


We applied our findings into the wireframing of our product. Our goal was to design an app that included:

That way, rather than seeing only foundation, or only shaving balms, those two products would be grouped together under the categroy “face”.

User Tests

We conducted user tests to understand how our protype was working. From these tests we received some feedback: 

Final Product

After testing our wireframes on our participants, we finalized the apps design.

Business Model

We also created a business model to demonstrate how the app would go to market, and how it could be proffitable.