|Photo courtesy of Debra Shigley
Meet Debra Shigley. A Harvard graduate that started her career in journalism, Shigley (The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide) has been passionate about the non-inclusive nature of the beauty industry for a while. She even partnered with her best friend, Jennifer Hyman (founder/CEO of Rent the Runway) to co-write a piece for Harvard’s campus newspaper, The Crimson about Harvard’s narrow beauty inclusiveness.
After a post-graduation stint working as a beauty editor and attorney, she completed beauty school in Mexico City, which led to a monumental partnership will fellow Harvard alumna and operations executive / financial consultant Stephanie Belcher to launch the Colour App in May 2016.
So, what is the Colour App? Well, Shigley sat down with Rolling Out to discuss just that, along with the app’s newest development, Real Women Reviews, advice for black women working in the tech space, and mothers starting their own business.
“Colour is an app for in-home hair care, think Uber for Black hair. [It is] geared toward women of color, women with textured hair, like us,” said Shigley.
|Photo courtesy of Debra Shigley
Her advice for starting a business? Shigley recommends diving in (no matter what point in life you’re settled into), because you won’t know unless you do. “I think because a lot of us have something inside of us, a business idea, a book, whatever it might be, you can spend a lot of time thinking about it, planning for it, getting advice about it, talking to mentors about it and eventually you just have to do it,” she noted. “You learn a lot along the way and so I think that’s advice that’s been helpful for myself. Just start and figure it out as you go.” She reiterated this point, noting that she and her partner are “non-technical founders” and are not engineers, despite launching a tech-based product.
As for the Colour app itself, Shigley provided potential users a verbal tour on how to use the it:
“You have a flight to catch at 1 p.m., you are going away for the weekend with your girls and you want to get a professional braided look for your trip to Playa del Carmen. You would go on to our app, browse styles, we just launched reviews so you would probably check and see what other women got variations of that look and then you would book the appointment. The first time you do it, all your information would be entered like your address and credit card number so that everything goes cashless. The day of the appointment you would most likely wash your hair and you’ll get a notification saying your Colour stylist is on the way. She meets you at the door, you sit down probably at your dining room table or the kitchen table, and she sets up all of her professional products. You finish working, you’re calling your girlfriends or texting saying “hey I’m getting my hair done for the trip,” and then she finishes her work. Your hair is beautiful, she leaves, you’re off to your flight and you pay through the app.”
What a dope app! This is perfect for the busy working black woman who needs effective access to haircare salons! Shigley put it best when she said, “Black women, we don’t play with our hair.”
Word! Check out the rest of the interview here!