Tag: Atlanta technology scene

Candace Mitchell and Chanel Martin Found Web-and-Mobile-Based Platform Myavana to Integrate Scientific Analysis into Care for Black Women’s Hair

Myavana creators Candace Mitchell and  Chanel Martin
Myavana creators Candace Mitchell and Chanel Martin (photo via gtalumnimag.com)

Scope out the hair-care aisle in the beauty section of any major retailer and you’ll find a familiar scene: a woman with a bottle of shampoo in hand, staring in dismay at the horde of options on the shelves in front of her. Should she pick sulfate-free or biotin add-in shampoo? Should she be looking for hydration or volume in her conditioner?

The process of reviewing ingredients, comparing prices and questioning the purported hair-care benefits can be overwhelming—particularly for black women, who over the past few years have seen an uptick in the number of products tailored to their specific hair texture needs. The inventory that was once relegated to a small section of a single shelf, or worse, not available in major outlets at all, now spans entire store aisles and endcap displays.

The creators of Myavana, a web-based mobile and social platform, understand firsthand the frustration of the shelf scan. Computer scientist Candace Mitchell and chemical engineer Chanel Martin launched their Atlanta-based startup in 2013. “The goal was to leverage science and technology to provide women of color with a personalized hair-care experience that takes guessing out of the equation and delivers hair nirvana,” Mitchell says.

The Myavana website (myavana.comis a destination where customers can discover new hair products, hair styles and salons in their area. It joins the zeitgeist of blogs, Instagram feeds and YouTube channels that deliver black hairstyle tutorials and homemade solutions to hundreds of thousands of subscribers. No doubt social media has helped this movement gain traction throughout the United States and abroad, Mitchell says.

Increasingly, black women are going online to share stories and tips in their journeys as they move away from harsh chemical straighteners and the synthetic products associated with them, and turn toward unprocessed, curly hair styles and natural products. Myavana seeks to tap into this ever-expanding market—with an estimated buying power surpassing $500 billion annually—with the goal of providing end-to-end hair-care guidance to women of color.

Myavana’s linchpin is its new custom hair analysis service that promises to find the right product for each customer. “Yes, we want women to send us their hair,” Mitchell says. “But only a little bit of it, and just long enough to view the hair through a microscope and to offer customers meaningful hair product recommendations.”

Consumers initiate the process on the Myavana website, where a one-time fee of $49 will buy a single Hair Collection Kit. The kit includes a special comb for the sample, instructions for getting a proper cross section, a questionnaire and pre-paid postage. Once the kit arrives at the Myavana lab—the company rents space on campus at the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology—the hair strands undergo a nine-point data analysis.

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Kollective South’s Sian Morson Introduces Atlanta Community to Tech

Kollective South’s Sian Morson

Entrepreneurial tech hubs are emerging across the country. The opportunities once reserved for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley have now expanded beyond those borders, reaching Midwestern hotbeds like Detroit and Chicago, and even northeastern locales such as Newark and Washington, D.C. But the commercial capital of the southeastern U.S., Atlanta, has all the makings of a robust tech ecosystem.

With the nation’s busiest airport, a high concentration of colleges and universities, and Fortune 500 companies like Coca-Cola, Home Depot and UPS headquartered in Atlanta, among other things, the city’s emerging tech scene is slowly inching up on the highly-coveted “top” lists.

After visiting Atlanta during Digital Undivided’s START weekend earlier this year and exploring the scene, self-described mobile evangelist Sian Morson decided she wanted in. “I had some friends here who were telling me what was going on in the scene and so I made a couple of visits,” says Morson, who, at the time, also began floating her co-working space idea around. Before she knew it, the Oakland resident packed up her belongings and moved to Atlanta, opening Kollective South in the Castleberry Hill area in October. Located near Atlanta’s Central Business District, KSouth is the newest co-working community in town and already generating quite a buzz within the local tech community.  “I just wanted to give back in my own way and so KSouth is my way to do that,” says Morson.

BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the Kollective Mobile founder to discuss the inspiration behind Kollective South, bringing tech innovation to urban areas and what’s next for the mobile maven.

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