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Don't Fight with Nature

February 10, 2024

Don't Fight with Nature

Many newbuilt university campuses wait a year before laying the paths. Planners have learnt to respond to the dirt and mud tracks that people naturally decide on before concreting over them. These social trails are also called desire paths.

Sometimes the designers go ahead and finish, as in the image above, then people defy them and work out what’s best for themselves. One path being the designer's idea. The other, the users' preferred experience. 

We were conscious of this when choosing new dryers for the salon, having used the same ones for forty years. They’re well balanced and liked by stylists and clients, but are old technology and we really wanted something lighter, quieter, and more durable. I test everything personally but there’s no point imposing such a critical piece of equipment on other professionals by decree. We were prompted to act when production stopped on our diffusers about seven years ago. The closest diffuser design was that used on the new Dyson which launched in 2016.

I wasn’t swept along with the hype, and swapping out our long-loved versions to £400 hairdryers just for the diffuser seemed irrational, but nevertheless I had our cabinet makers adjust two drawers to take the Dyson’s larger nozzle. And there we left them for the excited team to fight over during their working day.

The honeymoon didn’t last long and within a month they were used  less frequently. Many regular clients didn’t like the way their hair felt after the Dyson. By month six they were removed. Various other dryers were tested in the years after, but none gained enough support to replace our old workhorses.

Then in 2022 my brother Nicky brought in a small prototype he’d had made. We all tried it over the following six months and liked it. During the same time, I was a judge for the Marie Claire awards in the hairdryer category amongst others. I tested a dozen of the leading technology dryers. It helped me make a few revisions to our prototype to improve it further.

We now have a dryer that all our professional stylists like to use. The first shipment before Xmas filled our salon styling drawers, and savvy clients snapped up those left. We’re now back in stock so clients can buy this professional dryer at our online store too.

Designers can impose, but it’s the user experience that makes or breaks a product. This is our dryer, the Airstyle Pro, a collaboration with my brother and signed off by twenty professional stylists. It’s the only one I’ve wanted to change to in forty years. Try it and you’ll see why.

Limited stocks available.

 Michael Van Clarke





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