Transylvania University partnered with a local entrepreneur to install an In Living Curls College Beauty Supply vending machine in the William T. Young Campus Center this week.
Melanie Higgins Day, owner of You’ve Got Curls and Hair Loss Center in Lexington, has been styling hair for nearly 20 years. She was inspired to offer her products in this unique format by the students who sit in her chair. Often new to the area, many ask her what products she recommends so they can save money by doing their own hair.
“I took the idea of what I do behind the chair and put it in a box,” she said.
Day, who recently received Commerce Lexington Inc.’s 2023 Minority Business Award, believes that placing familiar products in a location that might be unfamiliar to first-year students is a way to imbue a new campus with a sense of community.
“When you see products that remind you of home, it makes you more connected,” Day added, comparing her vending machine to a letter from home.
She also acknowledged that college campuses have their own economy, often serving as a venue for student braiders and barbers to gain experience and earn extra money while providing hair care to their peers at reduced prices. She hopes her machine allows these budding entrepreneurs to access the products they need to help other students look and feel good.
Affordability is also a priority for Day. To that end, all products in the vending machine are priced at $15 or less. Some products are also location specific. Since Transy’s machine is located near the campus pool, nose clips, ear plugs, anti-fog goggles and silicone swim caps are stocked in addition to traditional hair care products and braiding hair.