It’s one thing to launch a business, but a whole other thing when that business is in an industry that is highly competitive and hard for startups to scale. During this week’s episode of AfroTech’s Black Tech Green Money podcast, host Will Lucas walks us through navigating spaces in the beauty, barber, and wellness industries. 

Lucas speaks with both Courtney Adeleye, Founder and CEO of The Mane Choice, as well as Squire co-founders Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant about some of the things they’ve witnessed firsthand as leaders in their respective industries.

Real Success Requires Hard Work

For Adeleye, it’s about putting in the work. The Mane Choice is one of the leading hair care brands in the industry, which she explains is something that doesn’t happen overnight.

When asked if she believes that Black founders in the beauty, health, and wellness companies go hard enough, here’s what she had to say.

“Generally speaking, do I think they go hard enough,” asked Adeleye, “I would have to say no. I think for some reason people think that when you operate on an average level or if you are able to excel by just giving average, I think sometimes people think that’s enough, but in order to really scale something and take it to the next level, it is going to require blood, sweat, and tears. I’ve come to the conclusion that most people are not willing or they think that giving normal or average is okay and it’s not.”

Doing The Work

While Adeleye speaks to the work that must go into building a lucrative company within the beauty industry, Squire founders LaRon and Salvant detail some of the dirty work that had to be done to grow what they’ve built. Their booking and payment platform connects people with elite barbers across the globe. The pair, who have never worked as barbers themselves, actually took things as far as opening their own barbershop to get a firsthand look at what truly goes into the experience.

“It starts with talking to your customers as much as possible, trying to really learn from them, and inserting yourself into their environment,” said LaRon. “So, before we had our barbershop, we would just go sit in shops for hours talking to people, talking to barbers, talking to owners. You want to try to understand and know your customers better than they know themselves”

For more on the work that these entrepreneurs put in, listen to the full BTGM episode below.