Women of color – particularly black women – are bombarded with mixed-messages about our hair. A divide between natural and relaxed coifs have recently emerged. Natural and relaxed women use different beauticians, peruse different websites, and adhere to different hair regimens. Madame You, a new social networking site for women of color to “connect with hair gurus and each other” aims to bridge the divide by providing a platform for all women to tackle hair issues and bond over hair successes. The site is seeking donations through Indiegogo.
Madame You spoke with Clutch about the inspiration for the social network and offered advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Q: What inspired the creation of a social networking site for black women’s hair?
A: MadameYou.com is powered by Techturized; a hair technology company that was birthed from a combination of frustrations with inadequate hair care solutions on the web. All of the co-founders have experienced issues that most women face! These issues vary from inability to find and purchase the right products for their hair type, to not knowing how to find a stylist in their area that caters to her hair type. Although some of this information is currently available on line, we wanted to have a space where women can find everything they need in one place. We are using our backgrounds in computer science and chemical engineering to revolutionize the way women interact with their hair!
Q: How did you bring the idea from concept through fruition?
A: By really understanding our consumer’s pains we were able to create a product that our consumers truly needed. We have interacted with thousands of women at hair shows and meetups across the country and the common denominator of all our interactions was wanting styles and products that worked for their unique hair properties. Now our concept has evolved into a real solution for Black women, which is MadameYou.com. Madame You is the only social network for hair and beauty that combines science and technology to provide recommendations for women to make better hair decisions.
Q: What was the process for raising capital for the venture?
A: Techturized, the parent company of Madame You, graduated from Flashpoint, a start up accelerator in Atlanta, GA in September 2012. Our participation in Flashpoint provided the opportunity to receive funding from investors. We used the funds for our start up costs. We are currently actively fundraising with investors and have an online fundraising campaign for our supporters on Indiegogo. Donate today!
Q: Black women’s hair is political in every context. How do you plan to use Madame You to address the needs of all black women without excluding particular grades?
A: We understand that hair is an extension of a woman’s identity and believe you should be free to choose how you wear her hair. We created MadameYou.com to be an inclusive, go-to source for all of your hair care needs. We’re all about your hair and beauty so whether you choose to wear your hair curly, straight, relaxed, natural, or weaved up, Madame You is for you. We are focused on promoting self-expression and providing relevant options for your hair desires.
Q: What is the ultimate goal for the social networking site? Do you plan to extend it to include merchandise?
A: Madame You is all about empowering the consumer. On MadameYou.com, you can buy hair products and receive style and product recommendations for your unique look. You can also connect with hair experts, brands, and other women like you to share hair experiences we all go through as women. The ultimate goal for MadameYou.com is to be the go to source for hair where women can talk, shop, and share in one space.
Q: There are other entrepreneurs wanting to launch products. What advice would you give them about seeing the project through from beginning through creation?
A: To all the entrepreneurs out there, the best piece of advice we can give is to be confident in your abilities and commit to learning to make better decisions every day. The combination of self-belief and experience will empower you to continue on your journey with knowledge and strength so you can see your project through from beginning to end.
Madame You has launched a crowd-funding campaign to fund its research and development. The company is seeking $25,000 to provide “1 million black women with personalized recommendations for hairstyles and products.”
Madame You will launch at the end of April.