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Software applications are starting to appear more frequently in the hair care industry, but there is still a shortage of apps dedicated to the niche of natural hair care.

Few founders may have the benefit of a background that includes playing a pivotal role in an international brand.

Christiannah Oyedeji is growing what she hopes will become a must-have tool for the natural hair community, and she’s using her experience learning about the subscription model at MailChimp to do so.

using tech to automate hair care
Christiannah Oyedeji. Photo provided

A graduate of Emory University, Oyedeji earned a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology. She’s looking to tap into the $2.56 billion that black consumers spend on hair care products.

Her website, TryMyFab, allows members to build a hair care routine, identify product and care preferences, set and meet goals, and ultimately automate their haircare.

Oyedeji has a lot of competition. With products and tools flooding the industry, how will
Trymyfab stand out?

Oyedeji started her first company, Knapsac, at age 19. A peer-to-peer textbook rental service, it operated for four years. She also worked for six years at MailChimp, a marketing automation platform and email marketing service, where she worked her way up to head of partnerships.

Oyedeji credits her parents for her tenacity. It’s what fuels her desire to grow her brand post-MailChimp, pivot her platform’s original direction and grow Trymyfab into a product her users are searching for in the marketplace, Oyedeji told Moguldom.

The updated Trymyfab platform will be available beginning Dec. 15 for subscribers who sign up on the  Trymyfab pre-launch list.

Some of the platform’s features include a regimen builder, which lets members craft a hair-care routine with a stylist-recommended regimen and frequencies, member-tested products, and styles.

Members can evaluate products and determine if they are regimen worthy. They can make notes of subtle changes in their hair, additions of new products, and document the wash-and-go that came out perfectly. They can track their goals and view progress towards measurable natural hair goals.

using tech to automate hair care
Keith Wesson

The system learns members’ unique preferences as interactions are added, such as tweaks to regimen elements, product evaluation, and completed regimen to-dos. These preferences are combined to develop a unique hair profile.

Monthly beta membership in Trymyfab is $20 a month or $120 a year, according to the website.

Oyedeji talked to Moguldom about what drives and inspires her as a tech startup founder.

Using tech to automate hair care

Moguldom: Why did you start Trymyfab?

Christiannah Oyedeji: I grew up caring for my hair in adherence to a set of beauty standards that told me my curly, kinky, and coily hair was not acceptable. Now curly natural hair is more celebrated, but I’ve had to learn how to take care of my hair all over again.

It was a struggle and just like any other part of your body, things change over time. Sifting through overwhelming amounts of information from “beauty gurus”, products, services, treatments, methods — you name it — just to find that no combination of things seemed to work for my hair was beyond frustrating. It’s my nature to solve problems with systems, so I wanted to build something to help myself out initially.

During my research, I learned there were a lot of women who faced the same problem, and I decided to try helping as many people as I could.

Moguldom: Are you a first-generation entrepreneur?

Christiannah Oyedeji: Yes, but my parents have always had entrepreneurial tendencies. To ensure that my brothers and I (there are five of us) could have all our needs met, as well as allow us to pursue any other activities we were interested in, they hustled. They worked long hours at their full-time jobs and took side gigs from time to time. Whatever needed to be done, they did and I’m extremely thankful for that. I think to see their drive from an early age (and being encouraged to figure things out on my own when I could) helped my own entrepreneurial tendencies to flourish.

Moguldom: Trymyfab is not your first business. Do you define yourself as a serial entrepreneur?

Christiannah Oyedeji: I started young. First came the fundraisers from my soccer league and school,
and then I graduated to Girls’ Scout Cookies sales (which I dominated, by the way). Next, I started selling candy on my own at school, and at boarding school, I sold food I’d cooked and did laundry when I needed a bit of extra cash.

I started my first official company, Knapsac, in college and then Trymyfab a few years after graduating. I’ll most likely start more companies as time passes. There’s no doubt about it, I am 100 percent a serial entrepreneur.

Moguldom: What lessons did you learn from Knapsac?

Christiannah Oyedeji: There were so many lessons, but a few takeaways for me were:

  • Your friends and family are your biggest assets. Not only do they provide encouragement but they’re the folks who are willing to get down in the trenches with you and do whatever they can to help. They are also the foundation for your network, extending your reach much further than you could imagine.
  • Failure is inevitable and that’s OK. We’re often taught if you do the right things, success is a given. That’s not true. I learned there are so many other factors that determine a company’s success.
  • One is luck. If you’re not the lucky type, you can help that luck along with a ton of hard work and put yourself out there.
  • If things still aren’t working out, take a step back and allow the failure to become a lesson. People are going to underestimate you. Good. Use that to sneak-attack the market, the problem you’re solving, or your competitors.

Moguldom: You have a degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology. How has that helped you with Trymyfab?

Christiannah Oyedeji:  I’m not a psychologist by any means, but I did learn a lot about how/why people behave the way they do. This bit of insight, paired with intuition, helped me dig deeper into the needs of both our potential customers and partners. Armed with this information, pivoting Trymyfab from a simple product subscription service to a platform has been much easier.

Moguldom: How did working at MailChimp help you as an entrepreneur in a subscription-based 
business.

Christiannah Oyedeji: There are a lot of things I learned in my years at MailChimp. I was given so many opportunities to grow and learn about business. Trymyfab has been shaped by my experiences there.

  • Being different and a little weird was a good thing.
  • The subscription model was always a part of the business, but the subscriptions were originally focused on products rather than services. That worked, but it wasn’t going to address the problem we’d ultimately set out to solve — making going natural easier.
  • I wanted to set Trymyfab apart and knew the technology was going to be it. But it’s important to me that the technology Trymyfab puts out in the world is powerful, gorgeous, easy-to- use, and approachable.
  • Bootstrap: Being a part of a company that’s grown exponentially and continues to do so (without taking on any investors) has always been inspirational and a goal I have for my own businesses.
  • Surprise and delight customers: this could be with giveaways, Easter eggs in the app, fun marketing campaigns, or providing fully-functional and robust tools for free. Trymyfab will incorporate these traits. The concept of surprising and delighting folks goes a long way and ultimately creates customers who enjoy using your product and interacting with your team. Happy, dedicated customers equal low customer churn rates.

Moguldom: How much of your platform was created by you, and how much by other engineers?

Christiannah Oyedeji: Trymyfab does use a framework and a couple of scripts created by other engineers (namely for payment processing and user management), but I have customized each of these fully. Beyond those pieces, 100 percent of the tools and functionality within the Regimen Builder (a feature that is the foundation of ther platform) have been built by me.

 

Moguldom:  How has your business been received in the natural hair industry?

Christiannah Oyedeji: The response has been wonderful. Although we’ve not yet re-launched (our) updated platform, stylists, brands, and potential customers have been very excited to learn more about what we’re building and to gain access to it. I do believe we’re providing a unique solution that could really change the way the industry operates and more easily address customer needs.

Moguldom: How has subscription growth worked out for your business?

Christiannah Oyedeji: Initially, subscription growth was exponential, but with the new model, we haven’t begun selling subscriptions. When we do, I expect that adoption will take some time to rev up, but I’m confident in a promising future for Trymyfab.

Moguldom: Have your received external funding? Do you feel like you need it?

Christiannah Oyedeji: I’ve taken some funding from family (thanks, guys!). The part of me that wants to bootstrap as much as possible says, “Nope we don’t need it,” but it may be necessary to scale when the time comes.

Moguldom: Do you feel access to funding is more difficult for you as a black female?

Christiannah Oyedeji: Oh yes certainly, and it’s got everything to do with a lack of diversity in the areas where funding is distributed. If there are more diverse perspectives (gender and racially-based) “at the table” where these decisions are made, I would like to think this wouldn’t be the case.

Moguldom: Where do you see your business in the next several years?

Christiannah Oyedeji: I see Trymyfab expanding beyond hair into other verticals under the beauty umbrella. Trymyfab will also be operating internationally, with steady growth, and creating opportunities for other entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses.

The post This Founder Is Using Tech To Automate Hair Care: ‘It’s My Nature To Solve Problems With Systems’ appeared first on Moguldom.