By now, its no secret that African American women are the fastest-growing entrepreneurs in our country and we are proud to feature yet another woman doing her thing. This month we chat with Regina Gwynn of TresseNoire, about leaving the corporate world to follow her dreams.
Tell us about TresseNoire?
TresseNoire is the first on-demand, at-home natural hair & beauty service platform designed for women of color. Our traveling stylists bring the salon to your house, hotel or office to do your hair and or makeup!
What inspired you to start such a unique concept?
My Co-Founder Octavia Pickett-Blakely and I have had natural hair for over 15 years, and while we've enjoyed the explosion of natural hair products, tools, etc., the styling experience for us was largely the same. We had become so accustomed to sitting in crowded salons on Saturdays for hours, that the idea to disrupt this market seemed ridiculous at first. But, we saw what mainstream beauty concepts like Drybar and Glamsquad were doing and thought there has to be a better way to make the path easier for us as well. We use Uber for getting around and Fresh Direct for groceries, why not push a button for a stylist to come to you? TresseNoire was born from there.
Prior to TresseNoire, you worked in marketing for an apparel company, what was that defining moment when you decided to concentrate on your dreams 100 %?
I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur. My father and uncle both owned businesses, and their father before that. I just never knew what kind of business I wanted start. I've been fortunate to work with consumer companies that allowed me to learn how to launch brands on their dime, so when I was at a point where I felt confident about my launch toolkit, I took that next step. The recession of '08-'09 also gave me a clear reminder that no job is secure, so creating my own financial security was important.
What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
As a Type A person and a Virgo (lol), failing bothers me! But learning very quickly from those failures creates the opportunities.
What advice would you give someone who is ready to take the leap to follow their entrepreneurial dreams?
Stay at your day job for as long as humanly possible to build a cash reserve for both personal and business needs. Be ready to change your personal lifestyle along with your professional transition. You will learn a lot about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses.
How do you find your stylists?
We use our current team to provide personal recommendations, along with social media channels. After stylists are identified, they go through a series of behavioral and technical interviews before joining the team.
What services does TresseNoire offer?
Services include braids, crochet braid styles, twists, cornrows, blowouts, loc maintenance & styling, children's styles, curl consultations, bridal/special occasion styles and more!
How many cities are you in?
We cover the New York City & Philadelphia metro areas, with limited service in Washington DC & Los Angeles.
What are some of the most services requested?
Crochet styles are very popular! There's so much versatility in texture, length and color, it makes them a go-to protective style for the season.
What makes TresseNoire different from other personal beauty services?
TresseNoire is truly committed to healthy hair care regimens for our clients. This is bigger than just a hairstyle for us. As the definition of beauty continues to evolve, the more we can support women of color in owning their fabulousness the better.
What are you most grateful for?
I'm grateful for family, friends, my Co-Founder Octavia and red wine ;).
What's next for Regina?
Hmm, good question, lots going on! I'm also the Co-Creator of Black Women Talk Tech, a collective of black women founders focused on building scalable, billion-dollar startups. Our 2nd Conference, Roadmap to Billions will be held at Microsoft in NYC, February 28th-March 1st (covering both Black History & Women's History Month) so I'm excited about that!
What are the top three products in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal- what can't you live without?
Egyptian Magic Skin Cream, Mizani True Textures Twist & Coil Jelly, an awesome wash n go! Lastly, SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, the best twist out ever! Oh, and one more thing, water, hands down!
To keep up with Regina and TresseNoire, you can follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.