Regina Gwynn, CEO of TresseNoire and Co-Founder, Black Women Talk Tech
On the latest episode, Corynne L. Corbett chats with Regina Gwynn, CEO of TresseNoire, a virtual beauty coach designed to provide custom haircare solutions for women with textured hair. They discuss how Regina moved from a job in product development at Macy's to management consultant after she received her MBA, to ultimately, entrepreneurship. Regina shares the valuable lessons learned in corporate America that she still uses today.
I think beauty was a destination for me because now that I've been working in beauty for the past six years, I recognize how much power women have in owning who they are, how they appear to the public, to society and to themselves. And so it's extremely exciting to to be able to help influence and help support women see themselves the way that they want to. I'm owning that sense of self is something that can change with a lipstick, or a hairstyle, or a bit of mascara.
Regina details the challenges she faced in building a tech-enabled solution focused on natural hair and why she and her co-founder decided to pivot away from offering on-demand services.
I found myself discovering that there was yet again a whole different pain point that allowed for real technology that could absolutely solve this problem. It's like, OK, I know problems can be solved. Technology and the use of machine learning and A.I. can absolutely help women that have multiple pieces of data. Right. The data is that only your hair type, but the hairstyle, your pattern, the hair texture where you live. Are you super busy?
Do you have time like your budget requirements? So like all of these variables can be put into a model that can spit out a better way of finding the right products and services as opposed to the trial and error of just like hoping for the best. It's, you know, can we actually have a more data-driven way of doing that? And that was the reason why we pivoted to our new model of a beauty coach.
They discuss how the beauty industry is responding to the Black Lives Matter protests and whether we are seeing performative allyship. Regina also notes that racial capitalism—the financial and economic infrastructures that prevent Black entrepreneurs from securing funding—needs to be addressed before we see real change.
For women entrepreneurs in the beauty [industry], because there is such a gap because there because you've got larger companies that don't have the R&D, they aren't dedicating the amount of R&D that's necessary to truly develop product lines. I definitely think that there's an R&D and manufacturing component of this, that this has yet to be tapped even on the black women entrepreneur side. We don't have access to the supply chain. We don't have access to being vertically integrated. We still have to recruit. We have to rely on other pieces of the puzzle in order to even cobble together the few products that we have right now. So, you know, from a technology perspective, there is definitely there's absolutely a lot of lip service.
Finally, Regina shares why she and her co-founders created Black Women Talk Tech and why it is important for every founder to have some tech knowledge. And her belief that the next billion-dollar valued idea will come from a Black woman.