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Entrepreneurs transforming the black hair & beauty industry

A LONDON-based Oxford graduate and his team of young black entrepreneurs have launched a new hair and beauty brand aiming to revolutionise the beauty shopping experience for women of colour across Europe.

Graduating with a first class Economics degree from Oxford University, Tommy Williams secured a much-coveted role at a large investment bank.

After two years there, and seeking something more exciting, he relocated to Nigeria, joining Africa’s first unicorn, e-commerce retailer, Jumia as a Business Development Manager, working on projects within the ever-evolving black beauty industry.

It is there that he met his co-founder Sanmi Ogunmola who was one of Jumia’s first employees in the Business Development team.

They both shared an appreciation for the sheer enormity of market and, thus, the opportunities available for anyone willing to take the leap.

Growing up in home full of women, they had a basic understanding for the products available to consumers, however, it was in Nigeria that they were able to see the “logistical and supply chain nightmare” that existed in sourcing good quality products and the disconnect that exists between sellers and consumers.

Upon his return to London, Tommy decided to pursue the idea, conducting further market research amongst friends, family and his wider network. All Shades Covered (ASC) was formed in April 2016 and quickly grew in size, with Co-Founder, Sanmi Ogunmola joining shortly after.

ASC is a sophisticated direct-to-consumer e-commerce store, selling ASC branded hair extensions and a wide selection of hair care products

Since starting in April, the team has expanded and now consists of five young black staff.

ASC has secured funding from a prominent angel investor and have been selected out of 250+ applicants to be part of the Truestart (www.truestart.co.uk) retail accelerator programme that funds some of the most game-changing retail startups globally.

The team have spent a significant amount of time conducting and developing thorough quality control procedures, as well establishing on-the-ground support in both Asia and the UK, to ensure consistently good quality at a fair price.

ASC officially launches in late October, with the intention to create an international powerhouse for black hair and beauty which “brings the shopping experience into the twenty-first century and most importantly, supports the community”.

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