Hair can be a complicated topic among black women, but a new mobile app seeks to minimize the hurdles.
Tress was invented to help black women navigate the increasingly complicated hair industry by providing creative ideas and easily accessible information about how to accomplish specific styles. The app was created by entrepreneurs Priscilla Hazel, Esther Olatunde and Cassandra Sarfo, who are natives of Ghana and Nigeria. Their inspiration, they say, is knowing the hair struggle first hand.
“One thing we realized [is] we’re always asking questions about hair whenever we see someone with interesting or amazing hairstyles and we want to find out more,” says Hazel. “We decided why not try to solve a challenge we face and make it easier for people to find information about hairstyles. And that was sort of our motivation for starting Tress.”
The hair care industry is not only growing in America, but globally as well. Many African countries have seen a spike in hair care spending, according to CNN.com, with Nigeria leading the way with $440 million in sales. So Hazel, Olatunde and Sarfo decided to do a trial run of Tress in the expanding African market. To their delight, Tress received overall positive reviews. Then in February, they announced at the Beauty of Tech panel at Lagos Social Media Week that they were officially launching their app.
“Everyone we speak to is excited about [the app],” Sarfo says.
Tress has four main features: Discover new hairstyles, where you can see new trending styles throughout for inspiration; share pictures of your hairstyle with other app users; get detailed hairstyle information about each style, the products used, the salon where the hairstyle was created and the overall cost of the style. You can also chat with the rest of the Tress app community of black women from around the world through comments and likes about everything from natural styles, to wig wisdom, and healthy hair care advice.
“We want [users] to be satisfied when they [use] the app,” Sarfo says. “We have been getting information on features that they want in the future so we can make them happy to come back.”
After a successful launch in Africa, Tress is now available globally and the creators are looking to expand the app with a bookmarking system, lookbook, hair tips, dedicated pages to salons and a salon booking system coming soon.
“It is important for everyone to have a space where they can share their hair journeys,” says Hazel. “[black] hair is different from most races. It’s kinky-curly and managing it can be [hard] if you don’t know how to. [But Tress] is a platform where black women can feel free to talk about hair knowing that someone can respond and identify with an issue [they] have with their hair.”