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Supernova: a versatile hair styling star is born
Many of us have been faced with the same problem at one time or another – checking into a flight only to discover that our luggage is overweight and paying expensive fees to get it on the plane. Yolanda Cooper faced just this difficulty a few years ago. It might have been an annoyance, but it was also a seed that would germinate into an exciting new product for her business, We Are Paradoxx.
She discovered that some of the bulkiest items in her luggage were her haircare tools – straightener, curling wand, curling tongs. What if she could integrate these three tools into one appliance? What if it was cordless so that she could use it anywhere? That question began her journey to creating Supernova – the world’s first three-in-one hair styling tool.
Yolanda’s company, We Are Paradoxx, is an environmentally and socially conscious beauty brand. It creates haircare products free from sulphates, parabens, PEGs, and mineral oil, rejects animal testing, and comes in reusable aluminium packaging. So, Supernova needed to adhere to the same high standards.
Yolanda and We Are Paradoxx followed the Innovation Framework to make this brilliant new appliance a reality, working through the four steps of ideation, selection, development, and commercialisation. Now, as Supernova makes waves (pun intended) worldwide, Innovate NI has awarded We Are Paradoxx with a Platinum Level Innovator Award.
Yolanda’s ideation began as soon as she took her seat on that flight. She grabbed a cocktail napkin and sketched out her idea for a three-in-one hair styling tool. Back on the ground, her research showed her that there was no single product that could do the three main styles – straightening, curling, and waving. Was there a demand for such a tool? Yolanda conducted consumers surveys, spoke with retailer contacts, and discovered that her new idea matched a gap in the market.
We Are Paradoxx secured a Proof-of-Concept Grant from TechStart NI to conduct patent research and apply for a patent. However, it was essential to ensure that the idea was viable before investing heavily in research and product development, so they conducted a thorough feasibility study. This research helped refine Yolanda’s original brainwave and put the Supernova’s development on a firm footing.
Development & testing
Yolanda and her team used a research and development grant to push the idea further. They worked with two Northern Irish firms – Sensoteq and bigsmall – on mechanical and aesthetic design. In addition, Yolanda took the prototype to potential retailers to get their feedback, advice that enriched the development process. She was also thinking ahead, securing a technical development incentive from Invest NI to secure trademarks and patents worldwide.
We Are Paradoxx proved to be an excellent vehicle for promoting the new Supernova three-in-one haircare tool. Yolanda approached her existing clients with her new product and secured early sales. Not content to stop there, she used support from Invest NI to visit trade shows and export markets. As a result, We Are Paradoxx now has Supernova customers in Ireland, Italy, France, Russia, and the USA. You can even find it in Saks Fifth Avenue and Harvey Nichols.
Despite their success, Yolanda and the We Are Paradoxx team are not content to stop now. They’ve gone back to the ideation phase of the Innovation Framework to create the next generation in hair care and styling products. That’s why Innovate NI has awarded them Platinum Level recognition.
Are you working on an innovative idea in your business? Get in touch and learn how Innovate NI can help you bring it to market.