A team of young African software engineers have created Tress, the ultimate app designed specifically for Black hair.
Described as a delightful cross between Instagram and Pinterest, Tress spoke with Face2Face Africa about its mobile app that is both informative and visually engaging.
The app works by helping users search for an almost endless collection of Black hairstyles and find more information about the prices of different styles and hair products, the closest salons, and the most skillful hairstylists in their locality.
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Tress was created by the all-female trio of software developers Priscilla Hazel, Esther Olatunde, and Cassandra Sarfo. Hailing from Ghana and Nigeria, the ladies met at the award-winning Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Accra, Ghana, where they graduated from a fully sponsored one-year intensive entrepreneurship program.
The founders say they first got the idea for Tress around June 2015. The app then took about five months to develop before it launched in Lagos, Nigeria, in February 2016.
Tress CEO Priscilla Hazel said the app was developed to provide value by solving a problem, “We all wanted to be entrepreneurs by solving a problem and providing value. It just so happened that we were all interested in solving a personal challenge that we all faced as co-founders.
“Our only focus now is on building Tress to become a global brand and continuing to provide value to Black women all over the world. This is what we see ourselves doing for a long time.”
Tress hopes to tap in to the lucrative market of Black hair products that is worth an estimated $1.1 billion in Nigeria, South Africa, and Cameroon alone by providing its rapidly expanding network of users with timely information about everything pertaining to Black hair.
While Hazel said creating Tress has been a challenging experience for the team, she maintained that gender was never an issue, even though the app was built by a team of all-female software developers in a male-dominated IT industry.
“It’s never been a disadvantage to us that we are females. To the contrary, it’s been an advantage to us because we are working on a product that is targeted at women, so we can understand and better appreciate the challenges women face. This personal insight helps us to constantly shape the product.
“Young ladies need to know that we are capable of doing anything we set their minds on doing. Especially in fields that are considered male-dominated, we need to see that we can very easily excel. By venturing out in to these fields, they will also give the next generation of girls inspiring stories of role models and mentors they can look up to, to help them achieve great feats,” Hazel said.
Since its launch, Tress has been well-received across Africa and by the Black community in the diaspora. It is currently available for download on the Google Play Store.