Candace Mitchell and Chanel Martin, two African American entrepreneurs, are upgrading haircare for Black women through science and technology. Their company Techturized, Inc, has its debut diagnostic system called Myavana. The product is a play on the word nirvana, sparking the tagline, “My hair nirvana.” On April 4, the entrepreneurs are celebrating Myavana in New York City, as part of a promo tour.
Myavana’s system involves a personalized hair kit that includes a special comb set that identifies hair texture. The kit is then returned to the company and examined by its team of scientists and chemical engineers. They deliver a report of the hair analysis along with recommended products and salons for consumers to sample accordingly.
Techturized, Inc, based in Atlanta, Georgia, was founded in June 2012 after Mitchell and Martin met at Georgia Tech. They were both Computer Science majors who shared an interest in hair and the STEM fields (an acronym for the academic concentrations of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.) Mitchell, 27, and Martin, 30, participated in pitch competitions across the country, which invites entrepreneurs to compete for funding for their startups. They earned more than $400,000, and were able to launch Techturized, Inc within a year and a half.
Interviewing thousands of their target audience of African American women also played a vital role in their execution of their company. The chemical engineers saw the need for their business through their own personal experiences.
“We really found that women are seeking freedom and happiness,” says Martin, “we all want to feel like our best selves.”
Mitchell, who additionally aspires to become an educator in the future says Myavana is for all hair types. Seventy percent of their consumers are African American women who wear their hair natural. They represent two main categories: women who are transitioning from chemically treated or relaxed hair and women who have always been natural.
Like many developing companies, there are challenges that arrive with the territory, this is especially true for trailblazers.
“It’s such a new process so we have to do a lot of educating,” Mitchell says, “we’ve spent a lot of time building database recommendations.”
The African American hair market has an estimated value of $500 billion and Martin and Mitchell are working hard to expand it.
A monthly fee of $15 gives Myavana customers access to sample hair products, as well as suggested salons, and stylists. In addition to their launch parties in different cities, Mitchell and Martin utilize the digital platforms for marketing. Their email signup introduces hair analysis to their audience and updates them about the company. It also provides free consultations about hair.
Youtube’s natural hair and beauty guru Taren Guy will host the upcoming NYC event at the Edris Salon. The Myavana creators view these celebrations as a special thank you to their supporters.
On May 30, they will be sponsored by International Natural Hair Meetup Day. This is a citywide organization aimed at the networking and meeting up of natural haired African American women.
Where do Mitchell and Martin see their business ten years from now?
“We see our company as the technology hub of hair products, hopefully sooner than 10 years,” Mitchell says. They also plan to partner with hair salons, a move that they hope will mutually boost clientele.