Hv: When did you start?
Tress : We started in September 2015 and we conceived the idea a while back but we actually started working on it September 2015 and we built our first unit from September to December to build our first version and we had a pilot of it in Ghana but we redesigned it in December to make beggary. Then we launched it globally to the rest of the world on the 26th of February 2016 at the social media week in Lagos.
Hv: So why hair?
Tress : Good question. It was a challenge that we faced back then and as I said earlier Casandra had seen a nice hairstyle on line that she really wanted to do and she wanted to know the name of the hair piece so she asked a couple of people and she wasn’t able to figure out what it was then we wondered why we were asking this questions as a black woman and a lady you know asking anyone we see about their hairstyles and how much it cost, all her class mates told her a lot and we decided to do what we thought to do for black women.
Hv: ok. What sought of response did you get at the social media week?
Tress : It has been very good and very supportive.
Hv: what kind of expansion do you have in mind for Tress after this?
Tress : Em… Right now, Tress is on the go. We are on app and blog sight for now but very soon, we might want to move to the IOL platform. That’s a major thing for us because so many people send us messages as to how they can use the app as per IOL so it’s a major thing for us. But apart from that we want to build a very strong community of black women so that whatever country they are in they are in they wold feel among and know what they is going on.
HV: ok. So has Ghana accepted you?
Tress : Ghana?
All : (laugh)
Tress : Yeah, Ghana has so far. Um we got a lot of acceptance in the Ghana community and I think there is also this sense of pride because at the very early stage in December, we piloted in Ghana only. So yeah, we have been accepted.
Hv: are the stylist or hair professionals aware of you so far?
Tress : They are, and we still have a lot more people to speak to. Initially when we started, we went to a lot of saloons in Nigeria and Ghana and we made publicity even for them. So yeah, the saloon has been very encouraging
Hv: Are you thinking of opening a Tress saloon?
All : (Laughing) No
Tress : We would be working with saloons so we have a couple of ideas in terms of activation, maybe like the Tress saloon day getting users to come meet us in the saloon. So saloons are our partners.
Hv: Let me ask you this conk question
Hv: Have you ever wondered that if you were not together, there wouldn’t have been a Tress?
Tress : Ok so em(pause) I think there would have been something close to Tress but not the kind we are giving out because we thought of it that we wanted to give an inspiration on hairstyles but I heard that a lot of people do give inspiration on hair so I think that there would have been a kind of Tress but not exactly what we are doing.
HV: Ok. So how did the name Tress come up? Because when I saw the name it didn’t sound like a Hair thing?
Tress : Um… It is an interesting find. We spent a couple of weeks brainstorming on the right name for the app and we went on a lot of surfing coincidentally, we found this word Tress and we’ve heard people say things like I love your tresses. Em it’s an English word for a lot of hair and a French word for brain
Hv: So, it’s not a coinage of stress? Because one of my staffs already said that it could probably be an opposite of stress like stress tress.
Tress: (laughing) No
Hv: So in what areas do you want to look for a partner
Tress : Em we are still in Greek for now and we are still going to post hairstyles for anybody who is interested in black women and their hair.
Hv: Ok. What advice do you have for anyone who wants to develop a hair app for buisness?
Tress: Em, you just have to find your passion, something you love doing. If you are passionate about something, then you would see the good side of it and it helps you get motivated to achieve what you want. So for me, find what you love.
Tress: Follow your passion. I am a software engineer and it has always been my passion and dream and because changing our hairstyles continuously is a natural thing, I enjoy using my skills to help. So as a young person willing to solve a problem, make it something you are passionate about.
Tress: I’m not sure of what to say.
Tress: I think that people should be willing to make mistakes. That’s the problem like that was what I felt was my problem like the whole initials that’s why people wouldn’t want to leave their jobs or do something new because of the fear of failure (all: yeah) so people should take the chance especially if it is something they really want to do (all: yeah) they should just take the chance especially when they are young because it’s easier to make decisions then. So take the chance, it may go well and it may not but at least you would learn from it so whatever situation you find yourself in the school, in a job you don’t like, in a profession you are not really interested in, even if you see something you are interested in , just take the opportunity and try and do it even if you have to take courses to start understanding it. Even if you have to go to school again or meet someone to learn what you have to do, do it and improve yourself, that way because there is nothing like doing what you like, that’s what you have to realize.
Hv: Ok there is a part of this that is not making me feel too good. Ok let me take off my hat.
All Tress: (enthusiastic and surprised)
Hv: You are only talking about black women’s hair, so what about black men’s hair?
Tress: WE have heard this question a lot (laughing) oh it’s a very good question. We have decided to focus on the black women because we want to start a leach market and thy can do it very well. We also do it because according to Nelson, black women spend more time on their hair but that does not mean that men do not find interest in Tress.
Hv: ok what business format do you think a hair app builder should adopt?
Tress : We think of our app as a social app like Facebook or Instagram though we focus on a very specific market it’s still a very social app so that’s what we’d like to say so we have major ways of making money, we expect hair care companies and retailers to get ready because we have this kind of people on our platform so we can choose who we want to target and market to but it is not just one person that can get us to that place that we are all focused on hair to market to we want every hair company to have the opportunity of tress so we are going to target natural hair in Africa, those who have locks, we want to focus on this people . people want to get to know what to do to their hair, retailers, and the likes and we can direct them to those people that’s another way we make our money.
Hv: do you think it is necessary to have government support?
Tress: we think about what we do as a business and especially in Africa, we can’t rely on the government. For example, the government do not have anything to do with Facebook or any social media so we are not thinking of them in that light. So we are taking it strictly as a private business something people make, use and gain money.
Tress 2: I want to add to what she said. We don’t expect to get any money from the government and the only way I think they can support is to make internet registration important in the country and it would not only be supporting us alone but the socio-companies at large. They could also make light available together with data.
Hv: What do your families think of what you are doing? Are they supportive?
Tress: they have been very supportive.
Tress3: Well my family has been very supportive because for me, I made a conscious decision to do tech and luckily, I’m not the first person to start tech in my family or community, so those other people’s achievements made my family support me with a cool mind
Tress 2: My parents are Muslims and when I told them, they agreed with me but they wanted to understand what I was doing. They are very supportive and happy about it.
Hv: What are your favourite hairstyles each?
Tress: Well I am someone who love to go for cruse because it is fast.
Tress: I love cruse too because it is made with your natural hair and it is fast and easy.
Tress 2: Cruse too(laughing) and Brazilian weave on and Brazilian wool.
Hv: Finally, are this your natural hair?
All Tress: Yeah
Tress: Casandra and I have relaxed our hair but Esther is natural.
Hv: OK. I think I am done
Tress: I want to say something.
Tress: Tress goes everywhere for hairstyles so if anyone wants to find the reigning hairstyle of a place or any style at all, you can get it on Tess and also saloon or stylists because we have a couple of them.
Tress: Yeah, you could also check it up too as a guy.
Hv: Thank God I remembered this question. If you were asked to build an app after this or while you are doing this for someone else, would you do it
Tress: We have been working on this for a long time and this is our business and we are going to focus on it and concentrate.
Tress: Yeah, if we leave our work for someone else’s, we won’t have time for our own, and that’s our loss.