Exploits in business: Innovations in Afro hair

1) Summarise your business in under 3 sentences.

Afrocks is an online platform connecting people looking to get their hair styled with in-home afro hair professionals in London.  You can basically find and book your next hair appointment online!

2) What’s your inspiration for running your business?

I used to have Locs and it was always a pain for me to spend half a day getting my hair retwisted in a salon. My wife has always had natural hair. She also used to rock locs and now she has an afro.

I was always weary of her “hair weekends” where she would spend hours conditioning, detangling, washing, twisting etc. When I would sulk too much, she would tell me: As a black woman, YOU KNOW that the colour “nude” is not for you and as far as your hair is concerned, unless you have braid fairy friends or not really concerned about bad costumer service in black salons, you are on your own and need to make do! (yes she is very sensitive to costumer service). Therefore, I thought well, we should create a platform allying excellent costumer service and natural hair.

On a more daily basis I am ‘customer-centric’, always listening to feedback and making a point of being very reachable. Taking care of  customer is the single most important thing for me. Even a great product won’t work if you fail your customers.

3) What’s 1 main challenge you face or faced in running your business?

Recruiting and vetting stylists. We are constantly looking for talented and professional hairdressers. Many  are not necessarily tech savvy or mistrust an online platform. We have had and still have a lot of groundwork to do, keeping an ear to the ground to reach the best people convincing them, at time, organising their profile getting them used to the website but it is definitely rewarding.

4) How you overcame it?

Planning planing, and planning again. Days are quite busy, often hectic, especially with a 3 years old boy at home. So I try to be very organised: I do excel sheets with all my contacts and I set a target of stylists to call. I don’t always smash targets but it does help to focus on something.

5) What’s your favourite book?

You might be surprised but I am a bit of a nerd/geek and my favourite book is ‘Salem’s lot’ an horror fiction novel by Stephen King haha! Story is about vampires invading a small village and stuff, and it gets quite messy!

6) What did it teach you?

Beyond the story itself – that you might like or not – it’s all about understanding the process of creativity, thinking outside the box. I designed the website Afrocks myself with a pen and a sketch book first, then on a design software – all without much design experience. How was it possible? Because I imagined it! Like Stephen King imagined that scary novel.

7) What advice do you have for would be young entrepreneurs?

Get something out quickly, don’t wait to have the perfect product. Put what you have in front of your customers and get feedback as quick as possible. Don’t be put off by negative comments and feedback as it is all part of the process; conversely, use these feedback to improve your product!

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