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Kelly Skinner | Photo: Austin Holt | January 1, 2014
From bad hair days all the way to the bank, these style gurus are making waves.
Brains and beauty make for a dynamic combo, just ask these Georgia Tech grads. Sick of too many bad-hair days and too few hair-care resources for women of color, gal pals Chanel Martin, 29, Candace Mitchell, 26, and Jess Watson, 23, decided to take matters into their own hands. The tech gurus (Mitchell and Watson are computer scientists; Martin is a chemical engineer) merged their needs and came up with the concept for Techturized Inc., a Midtown-based beauty tech company. “The long-term vision is for us to become the gateway for all things hair-related for women of color,” says Martin.
The trio launched their parent company, Techturized Inc., back in June 2012 (with founder Joy Buolamwini, 23, who left the biz to become a Rhodes scholar). And last month, they released their first app, Myavana (“we named it after hair and beauty nirvana,” says Mitchell), which serves as an epicenter for hair talk 101. Apple and soon-to-be Android compatible, the app lets users search for local stylists and beauty stores, share photos, find solutions to hair mishaps, read up on styling tricks from the pros and get peer-to-peer feedback, all with a quick click. “We want it to be the starting point for a woman’s hair-care journey,” says Watson.
Though they’re brand-new to the scene, these ITP innovators are already turning heads with their vision—it’s the first beauty tech company aimed specifically at women of color, after all. In just a year, they’ve already claimed an audience of 5,000-plus, won a score of pitch and fundraising competitions, been featured on MSNBC and won the 2013 business launch competition by Technology Association of Georgia. In between schemes to expand Myavana and possibly their own beauty care line, these trailblazers take time to unwind too. When not talking shop at restos in Midtown, you can find Watson at Rag-O-Rama and No. 246; Martin at Marietta Fish Market and Town Center at Cobb; and Mitchell roaming around the shops and eateries in Virginia-Highland. Regardless, you better believe they know how to let their hair down. @techturized;