High-Tech Hair: Meet TresseNoire

Schedule an appointment with a well-vetted, credentialed natural haircare stylist who will come to your home or office. Receive customized curl consultations tailored to your unique locks. Stylists can gain greater control over their career by reaching a wider client base and managing your appointments with ease.

[Related: Fashion Fair President Amy Hilliard Resigns]

You can achieve all of that with an app—TresseNoire. The app and company was founded by Regina Gwynn and Octavia Pickett-Blakely.

“With TresseNoire you book an appointment online, you pay online…we offer every type of natural hairstyle you can think of,” says Gwynn. From twists, to crochet sets to box braids, clients can have styling done in the convenience of their home or office, which “allows more productivity,” Gwynn said.

The idea for TresseNoire sprung from each woman’s 20-year natural haircare journey. As professionals, they had the same experience of many with curly hair; finding the right stylist, at-home products, and styles that were appropriate for both work and casual looks, was challenging.

“We put [TresseNoire] together out of necessity,” says Gwynne. “What is the ideal luxury salon experience? We see lots of beauty booking apps in the market, and when we saw these technologies none of them had the types of hair styles we were looking for.”

And so Gwynne and Pickett-Blakely got to work. They began working with small design firms to map out their app and company vision. There was some frustration in this early stage, according to Gwynne, who says there was a lot of miscommunication between what they wanted and what these design firms could deliver.

Then they received early stage VC funding from CoVenture, according to AngelListCoVenture connected the women with a development team in Pakistan.

“Having a better partner allowed us to expand to the type of experience that we wanted.” Currently, TresseNoire is available for Android and as a web app , but an iOS app is coming very shortly.

TresseNoire services are available only in New York and Philadelphia for now. The service requires that stylists have accreditation from reputable training, including Aveda, Carol’s Daughter, and Paul Mitchell.

High-Tech Hair: Meet TresseNoire

Schedule an appointment with a well-vetted, credentialed natural haircare stylist who will come to your home or office. Receive customized curl consultations tailored to your unique locks. Stylists can gain greater control over their career by reaching a wider client base and managing your appointments with ease.

[Related: Fashion Fair President Amy Hilliard Resigns]

You can achieve all of that with an app—TresseNoire. The app and company was founded by Regina Gwynn and Octavia Pickett-Blakely.

“With TresseNoire you book an appointment online, you pay online…we offer every type of natural hairstyle you can think of,” says Gwynn. From twists, to crochet sets to box braids, clients can have styling done in the convenience of their home or office, which “allows more productivity,” Gwynn said.

The idea for TresseNoire sprung from each woman’s 20-year natural haircare journey. As professionals, they had the same experience of many with curly hair; finding the right stylist, at-home products, and styles that were appropriate for both work and casual looks, was challenging.

“We put [TresseNoire] together out of necessity,” says Gwynne. “What is the ideal luxury salon experience? We see lots of beauty booking apps in the market, and when we saw these technologies none of them had the types of hair styles we were looking for.”

And so Gwynne and Pickett-Blakely got to work. They began working with small design firms to map out their app and company vision. There was some frustration in this early stage, according to Gwynne, who says there was a lot of miscommunication between what they wanted and what these design firms could deliver.

Then they received early stage VC funding from CoVenture, according to AngelListCoVenture connected the women with a development team in Pakistan.

“Having a better partner allowed us to expand to the type of experience that we wanted.” Currently, TresseNoire is available for Android and as a web app , but an iOS app is coming very shortly.

TresseNoire services are available only in New York and Philadelphia for now. The service requires that stylists have accreditation from reputable training, including Aveda, Carol’s Daughter, and Paul Mitchell.

Why Miss Jessie’s Book Is A Must Read for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

There is a lot of romanticism around entrepreneurship in America, and among African Americans in particular, as evidenced by the fact that black women continue to be among the fastest growing population of business owners. The heroic story of the everyday person with an innovative idea, but little or no financial resources, overcoming long odds to build a successful company by sheer passion, hard work, faith and determination alone, is the dream of many aspiring entrepreneurs.

As a mentor/advisor to entrepreneurs, a judge of business plan/pitch competitions, veteran business journalist and an entrepreneur myself, I’ve been a major promoter of the benefits of starting and growing a viable business. In the same vein, I’ve always been concerned that not enough attention is paid to the very real challenges and sacrifices necessary to create a product or service and to build a viable, profitable business model to bring it to market. That’s why I love books like Miss Jessie’s: Creating A Successful Business From Scratch—Naturally by Miko Branch with Titi Branch.

Miss Jessie’s is the story of Miko and her late sister Titi’s journey to become pioneer heroes of the natural/curly hair movement, rooted in the lessons and experiences of family, especially the example and wisdom of Miss Jessie herself, the sisters’ paternal grandmother Jessie Mae Branch. The book is written with obvious and abundant affection to the entire family, and is clearly a tribute to Miko’s sister Titi, who died in 2014.

But the true value of the book is the unflinching candor with which Miko describes her and her sister’s journey from being raised in the Borough of Queens in New York City by an African American father and Japanese American mother, to becoming a pioneering brand in the nascent natural hair products industry, to Miss Jessie’s triumphant retail deal with Target. Miko addresses the valleys of their experiencesincluding a lawsuit between her and her sister that nearly destroyed their relationship as well as their companywith as much honesty and detail as she does the high points of opening their first successful salon and creating breakthrough products.

It is this clear-eyed, practical truth-telling, in addition to the helpful business tips clearly broken out throughout, that makes this an invaluable book of instruction for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those in desperate need of a reality check about what it really means to build a business with no money to start and little to work with along the way. Miss Jessie’s Book not only shows that it can be done; it also shows, step-by-step, what it takes to do it.

This blog is dedicated to my thoughts about money, entrepreneurship, leadership, mentorship and other things I need to get #OffMyChest. Follow me on Twitter at @AlfredEdmondJr.

5 Tips for Healthy Summer Hair

Everyone loves a little fun in the sun but too much time spent under those summer rays without the proper haircare routine, can leave your once beautiful beach hair in need of help.

[Related: New In-Home Hair Appointment Service Might Be the Busy Woman’s Best Friend]

To avoid the damage, BlackEnterprise.com caught up with LA Hair star and celebrity stylist, Kim Kimble, to talk her five tips for maintaining summer hair. She shares how you can keep your tresses manageable, stylish, and healthy in the warm weather.

Check out Kimble’s five healthy hair tips below:

1. Going natural during the summer is a great choice. It’s low-maintenance and it’s nice to give hair a break from the stress of chemical treatments especially when it’s going to be taking on stress from the heat and sun.

2. Speaking of the sun, it can not only be damaging to skin, but also to hair. Using hair products with SPF or wearing a hat or scarf when you are out in the sun is a must.

3. Rinse your hair both before and after swimming. If your hair is already wet, it is harder for chemicals, like chlorine, to latch on. And of course you want to wash out any chemicals and/or salt as soon as you can after swimming. If you do swim a lot, it might be worth it to invest in a shampoo specially designed to get rid of chlorine.

4. Box braids or other protective styles, like buns or braided updos, can be a nice change of pace—especially when it gets really hot out.

5. If you feel like your hair is starting to feel dry or straw-like, indulge in a little extra TLC. Deep conditioning treatments—look for a product with silk amino acids—can help damaged hair. Hot oil treatments are great (I love natural coconut oil). It will also help if you can avoid blow-drying or using heat on the hair.

 

5 Tips for Healthy Summer Hair

Everyone loves a little fun in the sun but too much time spent under those summer rays without the proper haircare routine, can leave your once beautiful beach hair in need of help.

[Related: New In-Home Hair Appointment Service Might Be the Busy Woman’s Best Friend]

To avoid the damage, BlackEnterprise.com caught up with LA Hair star and celebrity stylist, Kim Kimble, to talk her five tips for maintaining summer hair. She shares how you can keep your tresses manageable, stylish, and healthy in the warm weather.

Check out Kimble’s five healthy hair tips below:

1. Going natural during the summer is a great choice. It’s low-maintenance and it’s nice to give hair a break from the stress of chemical treatments especially when it’s going to be taking on stress from the heat and sun.

2. Speaking of the sun, it can not only be damaging to skin, but also to hair. Using hair products with SPF or wearing a hat or scarf when you are out in the sun is a must.

3. Rinse your hair both before and after swimming. If your hair is already wet, it is harder for chemicals, like chlorine, to latch on. And of course you want to wash out any chemicals and/or salt as soon as you can after swimming. If you do swim a lot, it might be worth it to invest in a shampoo specially designed to get rid of chlorine.

4. Box braids or other protective styles, like buns or braided updos, can be a nice change of pace—especially when it gets really hot out.

5. If you feel like your hair is starting to feel dry or straw-like, indulge in a little extra TLC. Deep conditioning treatments—look for a product with silk amino acids—can help damaged hair. Hot oil treatments are great (I love natural coconut oil). It will also help if you can avoid blow-drying or using heat on the hair.

 

Spelman College and Myavana Host Seminar on Hair, Health, Tech, and Entrepreneurship

Spelman College and Myavana have partnered with haircare brands Jane Carter Solution, DooBop and Frizzari to host Myavana Day: A Seminar on Hair, Health, Technology and Entrepreneurship, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in the Cosby Auditorium at Spelman College.  Myavana is beauty technology company that creates innovative hair care solutions for women of color.

During the seminar, students, entrepreneurs and hair enthusiasts will learn about cutting-edge hair care personalization technology from leading hair care brand executives, discuss career options in the hair care industry, and examine business models for the $10 billion hair care market, 33% driven by women of color.  The seminar will feature three sessions: Hair Health, Hair Styles and High Tech; Financing Your Entrepreneurial Dreams; and Professional Hair Style and Make-Up Demonstrations.

Myavana Day speakers and activities include:

●     Mobile app and Web-based selling platform technology demonstrations by Chanel Martin, co-founder and COO of Myavana; and Jodie Patterson, C’92, co-founder of DooBop;

●     A panel discussion featuring Jane Carter, founder and CEO of Jane Carter Solution; Candace Mitchell, co-founder and CEO of Myavana; Lois Hines, founder and CEO of Tropic Isle Living; and Jodie Patterson, co-founder of DooBop. The panelists will discuss launching hair product lines, entrepreneurship in the hair care industry, and thriving in today’s economy with a startup beauty business;

●     Product demonstrations from Jonathan Pike, co-founder and CEO of Frizarri, who will show how women can repair damaged hair and discuss the science behind split-ends; and

●     Styling demonstrations by Alicia Igess, founder of Urban Tangles Hair Salon, who will provide instruction on achieving professional looks with hair extensions; and Amir and Gilda Salmon, founders of TAG Concept Salon, who will showcase healthy natural hairstyles for the professional woman.

Spelman College will host a tweet chat about the business and technological aspects of the hair care industry with special guests, Monday, Sept. 22, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Follow the conversation at #spelmyavana and @SpelmanCollege.

Myavana Day is free and open to the public; however, registration is required. To register for the event and obtain additional information, visit www.Myavana.com/events.

###

About Spelman College

Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective, liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent.  Located in Atlanta, Ga., the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students.  Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer, Broadway Producer Alia Jones, Former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley, Harvard University Professor Evelynn Hammonds, Author Pearl Cleage, and Actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson.  For more information, visit www.spelman.edu.

About Myavana

Myavana is a beauty technology company started by African-American female engineers that creates innovative hair care solutions for women.  The company recently launched the mobile social hair and style network where women can collaborate on haircare and styling issues.  Users can access the network via the iPhone App on the Apple Appstore and Android App on Google Play. The company has been featured nationally on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show, Black Enterprise Magazine, ESSENCE Magazine, Business Insider, and named Georgia’s top new technology company by the Technology Association of Georgia as the 2013 Business Launch Competition winners. For more information, please visit http://www.myavana.com.

Media Contacts:

Spelman College, Audrey Arthur 404-270-5892 aarthur3@spelman.edu

Myavana, Chanel Martin 404-969-5438 hello@myavana.com

Urban Business Roundtable Spotlight: Mixed Chicks Wendi Levy and Kim Etheredge

This week on The Urban Business Roundtable, Dywaine Betts Jr., speaks Wendi Levi and Kim Etheredge, CEOs of Mixed Chicks, a company that serves up haircare products for multicultural women. After being disappointed with the selection of products for curly hair, Etheredge and Levi decided it was time to launch their own products and the company was created in 2003.

Mixed Chicks has gained widespread attention. The products can be found on  shelves of national stores such as Target and Walgreens and more than 1,500 stores internationally. The company has doubled its profit every year since its inception.

Also, UBR Contributor Samantha Pass talks with Gil Michel about private equity. Michel is the CEO and president of the Caleb Group Inc., a small business solutions firm in South Bend, Indiana, and the parent company of BlackMoneyMatters.com, an online financial education resource for the ‘Black community. Michel’s experience ranges from working at large CPA firms to working one-on-one with small business owners to develop realistic strategies to create wealth for their families.

And finally, every week on UBR, you’ll hear Pepper Miller’s Y.O.U.-TURN segment, get motivation and inspiration from author and educator Dennis Kimbro, a weekly wrap-up of business news from USA Today business correspondent Charisse Jones, and our Patient Investor Report from Ariel Investments.

Pepper Miller is the Founder and President of The Hunter Miller Group and the host of The Urban Business Roundtable, a weekly radio show, sponsored by Ariel Investments, airing CST Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m., Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. on WVON-AM 1690, the Talk of Chicago. You can also listen live online at WVON.com. Check back each week for UBR Spotlight, which features additional resources, advice and information from and about the topics, entrepreneurs and experts featured on the show. If you have a question you want answered or a topic you want addressed on The Urban Business Roundtable, connect with us on Twitter @UBR1690.

Urban Business Roundtable Spotlight: Mixed Chicks Wendi Levy and Kim Etheredge

This week on The Urban Business Roundtable, Dywaine Betts Jr., speaks Wendi Levi and Kim Etheredge, CEOs of Mixed Chicks, a company that serves up haircare products for multicultural women. After being disappointed with the selection of products for curly hair, Etheredge and Levi decided it was time to launch their own products and the company was created in 2003.

Mixed Chicks has gained widespread attention. The products can be found on  shelves of national stores such as Target and Walgreens and more than 1,500 stores internationally. The company has doubled its profit every year since its inception.

Also, UBR Contributor Samantha Pass talks with Gil Michel about private equity. Michel is the CEO and president of the Caleb Group Inc., a small business solutions firm in South Bend, Indiana, and the parent company of BlackMoneyMatters.com, an online financial education resource for the ‘Black community. Michel’s experience ranges from working at large CPA firms to working one-on-one with small business owners to develop realistic strategies to create wealth for their families.

And finally, every week on UBR, you’ll hear Pepper Miller’s Y.O.U.-TURN segment, get motivation and inspiration from author and educator Dennis Kimbro, a weekly wrap-up of business news from USA Today business correspondent Charisse Jones, and our Patient Investor Report from Ariel Investments.

Pepper Miller is the Founder and President of The Hunter Miller Group and the host of The Urban Business Roundtable, a weekly radio show, sponsored by Ariel Investments, airing CST Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m., Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. on WVON-AM 1690, the Talk of Chicago. You can also listen live online at WVON.com. Check back each week for UBR Spotlight, which features additional resources, advice and information from and about the topics, entrepreneurs and experts featured on the show. If you have a question you want answered or a topic you want addressed on The Urban Business Roundtable, connect with us on Twitter @UBR1690.

Design Essentials Penetrates the Natural Hair Care Market

design essentials

Photo credit: Anika Thomas Photography

More than 50 black women gathered at a salon on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn for “Curls and Conversations,” a support group for black women who wear their hair natural; the event was also a sampling party for the Design Essentials natural hair care line, ‪one of many such dialogues the Atlanta-based hair care company has hosted since its national retail expansion into Sally’s Beauty Supply and Walgreens.

“If you did ‘the big chop’ raise your hand,” Ketlie Hyacinthe, a Design Essentials rep says to the group of women munching on fresh fruit and finger food. The Big Chop refers to when a black woman cuts off all her processed hair down to a very-short ‘fro. About half the room raised their hand.

“And if you transitioned out raise your hand,” the Design Essentials rep says. The other half of the room raised their hand. Transitioning refers to slowly letting one’s chemically-straightened hair grow out into a curly natural mane over time.

The natural hair care line is a recent addition to the Design Essentials family of products which includes everything from relaxers to permanent waves to hair color.

Even though the bulk of the Design Essentials products are available exclusively through authorized distributors and select salons, president, general manager, and son of the founder, Cornell McBride Jr., thought it best to make the natural hair products more accessible since most natural hair styles are “do it yourself”, thus the recently brokered deals with Sally’s and Walgreens. And now, the company is looking for a mass-merchandising partner like Wal-Mart or K-Mart, as well as a grocery store distributor for the natural line. The company already has what they call “prestige partners” who carry their products like JC Penny’s and Hair Cuttery Salon.

However, like Amway, Avon and Mary Kay, the sole proprietor distributorship is the backbone of the Design Essentials business model, and the company claims to have helped establish hundreds of business owners and to have helped make several millionaires.

Cornell McBride, Jr., took the helm of the company two years ago from his father Cornell McBride Sr., a chemist and pharmacist who founded the company and still serves as its CEO.