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Now That Monique Rodriguez Has Built Mielle Organics Into A $100M Brand, Here's Her Advice For Entrepreneurs

It’s one thing to break into the beauty industry, but another thing to come in and shift it. Founder and CEO Monique Rodriguez has built an empire within the space through Mielle Organics, an organic and natural haircare line created to produce healthier results for your hair. She is rightfully a pioneer in the haircare game, taking her line of products from being sold from her garage to barely staying on the shelves in giant retailers including Target, Walmart, CVS, and more. “My kids have been able to witness their mother, a Black woman, have a dream and go from their kitchen to big-box retailers, something that has changed my family’s life and for me that’s fulfilling,” said Rodriguez in an interview with AfroTech. To date, Mielle Organics is worth more than $100 million, drawing in a hefty $14 million in 2021, despite being in the midst of a pandemic. The company continues to soar to new heights with new products that keep the same energy that the company had when it was first...

Mar 23, 2022

22-Year-Old Asha Christian Is Behind An App That Uses Artificial Intelligence To Solve Our Hair Problems

Your next do’ could be right in the palm of your hands thanks to this new app! Coily was designed by a Black woman so it’s only right that it has Black women in mind! Asha Christian created the app from the ground up to address the woes faced by the Black community as a whole when it comes to our tresses. “A common problem that I’ve noticed is that way too often we waste money on products that don’t always necessarily work,” Asha shared in an official interview with AfroTech. “And so based on my own personal experiences [and those that are shared with others], I decided to create a solution through Coily.” The new app uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help you find the best products, styles, and techniques for your unique hair profile. A hair profile that is curated through an interactive quiz completed by users when they first sign up for the app. Courtesy of Coily “When users first create their profiles, they are met with a hair quiz which assesses 40 different factors that...

Aug 10, 2021

ClipDart Is The Mobile Barber Service Black Students At PWIs Have Been Waiting For

When Kyle Parker began attending a predominantly white institution (PWI), he quickly realized that getting a decent haircut would be a challenge. In his predominantly white college town, there were no Black barbers. In fact, the closest Black barber was two hours away by car. The ordeal seriously impacted his mental health as he wasn’t able to look and feel his best. He also realized that other Black students were probably facing the same challenges, so he began dreaming up a solution. “Being African-American, I didn’t have the option to walk down the street to my favorite, affordable barbershop while attending Grinnell College in Iowa. The barbershop was a large part of my culture that was missing and became a factor in why I transferred after 3 years. Wherever I decided to attend, I had to have an equal chance to a great barber as most of my classmates. I knew it would tremendously help my mental health,” Parker told AfroTech. He eventually transferred out of Grinnell College but...

Jun 27, 2021

7-Year-Old Morgan Bugg Convinces Educational App To Offer Representation For Black Girls' Hair

A Tennessee first-grader proved that anyone can make a difference and inspire change, no matter how old they are. Earlier last month, seven-year-old Morgan Bugg of Brentwood, TN was using educational app Freckle, a gaming platform that allows students a chance to win coins while completing reading and math enrichment activities. During virtual class, she noticed its online store didn’t have any hairstyle options for Black girls like her to style her avatar. According to Bugg, she told the Tennessean that “I felt kind of sad and jealous that there wasn’t any girl hair for me.” Kelley Anne Joyner — Bugg’s teacher at Edmondson Elementary School — then noticed how visibly frustrated Bugg was and pulled her into a virtual breakout room to chat one-on-one. “She had some heartfelt tears,” Joyner said to the Tennessean. “She then said that it’s not fair that they have one Black boy hair, but they don’t have any Black girl hair.” In an effort to find a solution to her problem, Bugg suggested...

May 5, 2021

Brain Waves of People With Coarse Hair Can Be Better Detected Through New Electrodes Technology

Electrodes weren’t designed with coarse hair in mind – here’s why that’s a problem. On March 11, Science News , an independent American magazine, published an article noting new electrodes technology can now better capture brain waves of people with naturally coarse hair. As innovative as this new technology is, the public response to the announcement revealed a very telling statement about the current state of STEM. The article detailed the design flaws of standard electrodes that exclude people with natural, thick hair and how these flaws pose a threat to proper diagnoses of patients. Engineer Pulkit Grover of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh stated that an electrode redesign was needed. “It’s not intentional. But at the same time, it’s kind of sad,” said Grover. “It’s worth thinking about technology, and about who it has been designed for.” Reactions to the new design across social media included declarations of relief that “finally” this technology exists. However, there...

Mar 17, 2020

Black Hair Care Industry Takes a Hit Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

The coronavirus has proven to be a multi-layered nemesis with its effects spanning far beyond that of physical sickness. Not only has it taken a toll on the stock market, but now Black hair suppliers in Maryland and Washington, D.C. are being affected by its pandemic reach. According to WUSA 9 , hair care businesses are facing challenges securing hair shipments from their wholesalers located in Asia. District Cheveux, located in Bowie, Maryland, depends on weave and wig shipments from China to fulfill customer orders, but due to the coronavirus, the company has taken a hit. “I just never imagined coronavirus would affect me, being in the states,” District Cheveux stylist, Shannel Wallace told WUSA 9. “Not directly as far as being sick, but my business,” she said. Hair shipments to District Cheveux have also been extremely delayed. Wallace said an order she placed in January still hasn’t arrived. “They [the vendor] finally reached back out to me and said due to the virus, everyone,...

Mar 4, 2020