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Photo Credit: Jas Photo

Women of color – particularly black women – are bombarded with mixed-messages about our hair. A divide between natural and relaxed coifs have recently emerged. Natural and relaxed women use different beauticians, peruse different websites, and adhere to different hair regimens. Madame You, a new social networking site for women of color to “connect with hair gurus and each other” aims to bridge the divide by providing a platform for all women to tackle hair issues and bond over hair successes. The site is seeking donations through Indiegogo.

Madame You spoke with Clutch about the inspiration for the social network and offered advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Q: What inspired the creation of a social networking site for black women’s hair?

A: MadameYou.com is powered by Techturized; a hair technology company that was birthed from a combination of frustrations with inadequate hair care solutions on the web.  All of the co-founders have experienced issues that most women face!  These issues vary from inability to find and purchase the right products for their hair type, to not knowing how to find a stylist in their area that caters to her hair type. Although some of this information is currently available on line, we wanted to have a space where women can find everything they need in one place.  We are using our backgrounds in computer science and chemical engineering to revolutionize the way women interact with their hair!

Q: How did you bring the idea from concept through fruition?

A: By really understanding our consumer’s pains we were able to create a product that our consumers truly needed. We have interacted with thousands of women at hair shows and meetups across the country and the common denominator of all our interactions was wanting styles and products that worked for their unique hair properties.  Now our concept has evolved into a real solution for Black women, which is MadameYou.com. Madame You is the only social network for hair and beauty that combines science and technology to provide recommendations for women to make better hair decisions.

Q: What was the process for raising capital for the venture?

A: Techturized, the parent company of Madame You, graduated from Flashpoint, a start up accelerator in Atlanta, GA in September 2012. Our participation in Flashpoint provided the opportunity to receive funding from investors. We used the funds for our start up costs. We are currently actively fundraising with investors and have an online fundraising campaign for our supporters on Indiegogo. Donate today!

Q: Black women’s hair is political in every context. How do you plan to use Madame You to address the needs of all black women without excluding particular grades?

A: We understand that hair is an extension of a woman’s identity and believe you should be free to choose how you wear her hair. We created MadameYou.com to be an inclusive, go-to source for all of your hair care needs. We’re all about your hair and beauty so whether you choose to wear your hair curly, straight, relaxed, natural, or weaved up, Madame You is for you. We are focused on promoting self-expression and providing relevant options for your hair desires.

Q: What is the ultimate goal for the social networking site? Do you plan to extend it to include merchandise?

A: Madame You is all about empowering the consumer. On MadameYou.com, you can buy hair products and receive style and product recommendations for your unique look. You can also connect with hair experts, brands, and other women like you to share hair experiences we all go through as women. The ultimate goal for MadameYou.com is to be the go to source for hair where women can talk, shop, and share in one space.

Q: There are other entrepreneurs wanting to launch products. What advice would you give them about seeing the project through from beginning through creation?

A: To all the entrepreneurs out there, the best piece of advice we can give is to be confident in your abilities and commit to learning to make better decisions every day. The combination of self-belief and experience will empower you to continue on your journey with knowledge and strength so you can see your project through from beginning to end.

Madame You has launched a crowd-funding campaign to fund its research and development. The company is seeking $25,000 to provide “1 million black women with personalized recommendations for hairstyles and products.”

Madame You will launch at the end of April.

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  • ElleB

    I’m so over the hair wars and the obsession with hair. Relaxed, natural, or otherwise. Do we need ANOTHER website dedicated to hair? This preoccupation with natural hair VLOGS, videos, websites borders on level of pornography. Yup, hair porn. “Ain’t nobody got time for that”. I’ve been natural for years and it ain’t that serious. Another thing… If someone invites me to another natural meet-up I’m gonna scream!

    • Keshia

      Lol girl I’m with you.

    • Ooh La La

      Natural meet-up? What is that? I’m natural and have never heard of that.

    • ElleB

      It’s a social event for naturals. Every natural community across the country has had many of them. I was recently invited to a $30 event. Why should I spend $30 to discuss what I already know about my hair? Is this a therapy session or something…lol… Natural hair “counseling?” I know it sounds fictitious … But if people haven’t accepted my hair by now, eff’m!

    • I understand where you’re coming from, but you said you’ve been natural for years. For someone who isn’t as knowledgeable as you or for someone who is newly natural, they need help. They have to learn how to care for their hair all over again. I’ve been natural for 4 years and I’m still learning what works for me. I appreciate all of the forums including meetups. Even if you’ve got your mane under control, it’s a great way to make new friends and/or network.

    • Mademoiselle

      I agree OliveValley. Everyone’s not on the same page in their hair journey, so I think it’s important for people to see others like themselves in celebration of their features. I’ve never been much into hair/makeup/fashion even way back when I had a perm, but so many women constantly are — whether it’s to look for style inspirations, tips, new products, or whatever. I won’t say any of those communities need to go away just because I’m not into them. As someone with 4c hair, every once in a while I come across a gem of a website dedicated to my hair type. I may not visit these sites often, but I appreciate that they exist in the midst of so many “4a and looser” sites that abound. I take it when I want it, and leave it when I don’t. That’s all.

    • LemonNLime

      You read my mind! Enough already.

  • ElleB

    Sorry… Auto-correct fail. Meant to say “facetious “

  • Ash

    I disagree with the comments above. I live in the middle of nowhere and use the internet often for tips/support in upkeeping my natural hair. I’d love to go to a natural hair meetup.

  • Not So Nice NiceGuy

    With all the plenty of fish, match.com type of websites i think they should make a website for natural women and the men that love them (such as myself) lol