Slowly but surely, more solutions are surfacing to assist the textured hair community. OurX happens to be one of them as it’s making its official foray into the haircare industry with a promise to introduce a personalized and innovative data-tech platform.
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Founder Ceci Kurzman Details Intention
Ceci Kurzman has held a variety of roles throughout her decades-long career, from board director to private investor to music executive, and now to founder of OurX. She believes this was the right time to launch the platform because she understands that many women experience stagnation in their natural hair journeys.
“As a consumer, I think like many other people, I felt I’ve spent a fortune and a lot of time trying to get it right, doing what I’ve been told is the right thing to do to optimize my hair and scalp health, and still feeling really intimidated in many cases and not really achieving the results based on what I think of as the effort that’s been put in,” Kurzman told AfroTech in an interview.
Before launching OurX, Kurzman also observed that the Black community was continuously misunderstood by corporations, limiting their ability to be more fully represented in the haircare industry.
“I feel like haircare is that last frontier of segregation in beauty because it really is separate,” Kurzman said. “How it’s developed, how it’s marketed, how it’s funded, how it’s distributed, and we go back to separate and not so equal because the brands, whether they’re indie brands or actually part of larger corporations, are not getting the same access. A lot of that comes down to just an age-old perception that somehow it’s a niche audience. It’s an audience that’s broke. It’s an audience that cares more about efficacy than it does about healthy ingredients.”
She added, “These are all things that I actually heard out loud at a time when the slightest word can send you going in the wrong direction. People are still very vocally saying things that really profile a textured hair consumer, and it was allowed and seemingly okay. ‘This is a low income consumer. This is a mass consumer.’ So I got into it as a customer because I was stuck. I got into it as a business person because everything I was hearing didn’t line up with what I knew to be true.”
Impact Of OurX On Textured Hair Community
OurX is on a mission to help change an ongoing perception that the textured community doesn’t demand attention and change.
“Our big mission with OurX is really building a super strong data index that demonstrates how powerful this consumer base is, what the share of wallet and economy this consumer drives, and how underrepresented we are in terms of the diversity of the offerings,” Kurzman explained. “And I say that beyond product, right, and what the expectations are of this consumer when it comes to a category we’re highly engaged and highly invested in.”
The expectations for the web-based platform are that it will connect users with a live hair expert, interactive education, and community support, according to a press release provided to AfroTech.
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Users journey will begin with a detailed hair assessment centered on their hair, scalp, lifestyle, current routine, and preferences.
Following completion, proprietary algorithms will create a customized regimen for optimal scalp and hair wellness as well as provide instructions on which products should be used each day, in what order, and how much to use.
“Nothing at the bottom of a bottle is going to magically make your hair and scalp healthy,” Kurzman expressed. “So, once we started looking at that data, we were like, ‘What are all the pieces that are missing between great products and great outcomes? What are those pieces?’ It was education. It was information designed to the individual.”
To assist with the platform’s integrations, Kurzman recruited Meghan Maupin as CEO of OurX, in 2022. She had served as vice president of global marketing at Function of Beauty. Maupin says data will be tracked over time to provide users with a fuller understanding of how to adjust their hair needs through different circumstances including seasonal changes, traveling, etc.
OurX Is Building The First Data Index On Textured Hair
“For the data and the technology, it’s not just about like a single moment in time,” Maupin detailed. “It’s about tracking this data over time and understanding how people’s needs or preferences change. So, we have them take our in-depth hair assessment at the beginning to create their entire regimen and system. Then we continue to check in with them, tweak the regimen, and adapt the products and the recommendations and how to use them based on what we’re learning. Over time, what we’re building with that longitudinal data is actually a very advanced machine learning algorithm that can start to become predictive of what someone might need, or any kind of changes in your hair when you travel, or seasonal change, or whatever the situation may be.”
She added, “On an aggregate level, we are building the first data index on textured hair. So, we’re taking all of these aggregate insights and kind of using advanced models to look at different groupings beyond just the traditional like hair typing chart.”
The official launch of the platform, which was nearly 10 years in the making, is brought forward through the support of a diverse cap table, which includes lead investors from Reign Ventures.