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13 Dec

These Black-Owned FemTech Corporations Brought Retail Innovation To Essence

Big data has long had an enormous inclusivity problem.

Often, AI algorithms are built with systems that may contain racial and gender biases that leave a big group of individuals unseen and unheard.

That’s what led Jessica Couch and Brittany Hicks to found consumer insights and consulting firm Fayetteville Road–the name is a play on their North Carolina roots. Graduates of North Carolina State University andNorth Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University respectively, they each learned in regards to the inner working of retail management and recognized a number of the blind spots.

“I worked in tech as a product manager for several years for numerous retail tech firms, and I had also gotten my experience for data and site management during my time obtaining my master’s degree Cornell University,” explained Couch. “I conducted a very big research project which modified the best way I considered insights and data collection, especially in fashion and retail. And in order that sort of helped me to leverage my experience into our business.”

Similarly, Hicks shared that she was on the lookout for like-minded Black women in retail tech.

“Jessica and I actually met on LinkedIn in 2017 and we were trying to satisfy other women who were working in retail technology,” Hicks shared. Working at Amazon on the time, she said her experience there greatly shaped the best way that she viewed data and insights and analytics.

“All of those different pieces of feedback from customers really feed into the provision chain and sort of inform or shape the client experience.”

Paradoxically enough, the thought for the firm was born from brunch of all things.

“We wanted to seek out an organic option to gather Black women in retail tech so we launched a brunch series that eventually grew to span the US,” Hicks explained. “Then, after so many individuals asked about data mining and e-commerce support, we realized that launching the firm was the subsequent best step.”

One in all their client partners is Myavana, an revolutionary haircare tech startup that uses deep data to accurately pair customers with their ideal haircare product lineup.

“I actually got here up with the thought for my company once I was studying computer science at Georgia Tech in college,” said Myavana co-founder and CEO Candace Mitchell Harris. “I used to be going natural on the time, and I actually couldn’t find the precise products to make use of on my hair. My natural way of solving this problem was to first understand all of the variables which are involved with hair products and the way they react in your unique texture and kind. And so I said, ‘okay, there must be an app for this that may tell me what to make use of for my hair.’ And in order that was literally a thought in school sooner or later because as a Black woman, I used to be actually feeling very disconnected with my identity on the time. I desired to do something so other women didn’t feel the best way I did.”

A shared dream for all of the founders was connecting with Essence Festival-goers and showcasing their skill set for the precise audience they’re so captivated with: Black women.

This 12 months, the Fayetteville Road and Myavana partnered with Nordstrom Beauty for a big scale activation on the 2022 Essence Festival of Culture. This was an enormous win considering the event boasted a whole lot of 1000’s of attendees over the July 4 holiday weekend. The activation allowed patrons to work with experts to seek out the proper haircare cocktail using the Myavana platform, highlighting products from Fayetteville Road’s client, Nordstrom Beauty.

“The experience was incredible and really centered innovation and empowerment,” Mitchell said. “We wanted every guest who got here to the activation connect and improve their personal hair journey.”

Mitchell also shared that although they’d worked with Essence in previous years, 2022’s Festival felt different.

“The Fayetteville Road team is continuously working with different brands and retailers like Myavana to discover strategies, best practices and even technologies that may improve the experience in stores for purchasers,” Mitchell said. “I feel what also made this really special for us when it comes to a partnership opportunity is that my Myavana is a tech company founded by and run by Black women. And so, obviously, speaking further to the partnership that exists between the app and Essence, I just think that it’s a very beautiful example of how after we support ourselves right when come together. Not only can Black women do anything, we will do it beautifully.”

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