Founder Of Beauty-Booking App Opens Doors For Other Black Women In Tech

Founder Of Beauty-Booking App Opens Doors For Other Black Women In Tech

Beauty tech is on the rise, and one of the companies pushing it forward is TresseNoire, founded by two friends, Regina Gwynn and Octavia Pickett-Blakely.

Launched in October 2014, TresseNoire is an on-location beauty-booking app especially for women of color in New York City and Philadelphia. The app lets users arrange to have natural hair stylists come to them in their homes, offices, and hotel rooms.

Eager to encourage other women of color to enter the tech arena, Gwynn co-founded Black Women Talk Tech, a collective of Black women tech founders who want to help identify and launch the next $1 billion tech company. The second Black Women Talk Tech Conference was held in New York City Feb. 28 and March 1 at Microsoft headquarters.

Gwynn co-founded BWTT with two other tech entrepreneurs — Lauren Washington and Esosa Ighodaro. Washington is the co-founder and CEO of  KeepUp, a cloud-based platform that uses social listening to help businesses create real-time, hyper-personalized ads. Ighodaro is the president of Cosign, a platform that allows users to earn money by turning their photos into digital storefronts.

Gwynn talked to Moguldom about TresseNoire, and how she’s working to get more funding for Black women to launch their tech dreams.

Moguldom: You co-founded TresseNoire Beauty in 2014. What have been some growing challenges?

Regina Gwynn: Finding talent is always a challenge. (Finding) team members who have an entrepreneurial mindset and can hit the ground running with projects had been a stumbling block to growth, but I’m excited about our current team.

Moguldom: What has been the biggest business lesson you have learned since launching the company?

Regina Gwynn: Whew! So many. The biggest lesson is that nothing will be perfect and ready to launch, but you have to put it out there anyway. Coming from a corporate and management consulting background, this was a lot harder for me then I anticipated. You have to iterate fast and that means getting new ideas in front of your customers to get their feedback versus your own designs.

Moguldom: What changes have you made since launching?

Regina Gwynn: We’ve narrowed the amount of styles we offer and changed our curl consultation process to be more personalized to the client.

Moguldom: How did you get into tech?

Regina Gwynn: I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but had no idea I would land in beauty tech. I wanted to solve a huge problem of being inconvenienced every Saturday morning at the hair salon, and knew that millions of women across the country felt the same way. We’re on a mission to make the path to pretty easier.

Moguldom: You also co-launched the Black Women Talk Tech Conference (BWTT). How did this come about?

Regina Gwynn: I met my BWTT co-founders by running into them at various events. We were always the “onlys” in the room, and so we started to connect on issues we were having with navigating this ecosystem. We gathered a few founders together last year and saw a huge demand for more resources, which led to this year’s conference.

Moguldom: Why is the conference needed?

Regina Gwynn: Black Women Talk Tech is a collective that focuses on resourcing the next billion-dollar startup, which we believe will be led by a woman of color. The conference creates a space where Black women tech founders can find actionable tools to take thher business to the next level, while connecting with developers, technologists and investors who can also supercharge that vision.

Moguldom: What do you hope to achieve with the conference?

Regina Gwynn: I want to see investors find significant deal flow, have founders find new products, services and talent for their teams as well as indulge in a bit of much-needed self-care. This is a conference designed by founders for founders.

Moguldom: Why is diversity important in tech?

Regina Gwynn: Tapping into diverse customers and industries represents incredible value for capital markets. Founders of color are uniquely qualified to address and lead these opportunities. Additionally,  it’s proven that diverse teams produce better results than homogeneous ones. It just takes good business sense.

Moguldom: What’s next for TresseNoire?

Regina Gwynn: We’re opening new markets across the country this year, and launching new “naturalista” lifestyle experiences. Stay tuned.